Designworks is a BMW-owned design consultancy that has lent its creative touch to a number of the marque’s cars and concepts, as well as to a diverse range of products—not unlike what Porsche Design does—such as bikes, audio equipment, sneakers, and as we shall see, aircraft seating. But it’s not Teutonic imagination powering this portfolio, Designworks is actually a Southern California company that BMW acquired in 1995, about 23 years after it was founded.
One of the latest creative endeavors embarked upon by the Conejo Valley company was sparked by EVA Air, a Taiwanese carrier that wanted to upgrade its business-class seating on its Boeing 787 jets to better compete with the more contemporary seating of its competitors. The airline was looking for a design to accommodate the modern traveler, one who multitasks in the air, is using multiple electronic devices, and is never far from their large, reusable water bottle.
The resulting design is one in which there is a place for everything, from a large cabinet to store personal effects to a wide surface on one side of the seat that is perfect for temporarily storing your laptop when you need a break from work. Judging by the pictures, this is one of the most impressive aspects of the design as it gives you plenty of surface area without relying on your dining tray. Storage cubbies near your legs provide a space for tall, bulky items like the aforementioned water bottle. The lie-flat seats are wide and each gives the passenger plenty of personal space.
Aside from those features, Designworks also included subtle touches that you may not even consciously notice, but which elevate the experience. The abundance of flat surfaces helps create faux horizon lines that reinforce your feeling of stability. The color palette of the seats is diverse—with dark leathers, white surfaces, various shades of gray, and even small strokes of green—but works well in harmony without looking cluttered. Those hints of green even complement the cabin crew’s uniforms.
The first EVA Air Boeing 787 equipped with the new Designworks business-class seats was delivered on October 2nd, with more aircraft to come.