June 05, 2023
Setting the Stage for Creative Conversations at AIX

As the passenger experience world’s most energetic of weeks gets started in Hamburg around the 2023 Aircraft Interiors Expo, it really feels like an industry that was revving itself up last year for the first time since COVID is ready to put the pedal to the metal — with new products, new airlines, new partnerships, and new materials.

Tapis Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing Jason Estes says that, although 2022 “was a great first year to get things back on track, I am really looking forward to 2023 being a 100 percent back-to-normal show, with a full global presence.”

This week in Hamburg is an inflection point within an industry that’s ripe for innovation, says Sales Director Matthew Nicholls, who wants to see “genuine innovation, not ‘me-too’ products — and an open mind to actually pursue them.”

“Naysayers,” he cautions, “are not invited.”


The world of passenger experience draws inspiration from across the world and across our lives. The automotive industry is one historical parallel, but here Matthew Nicholls highlights that “genuinely, I believe aviation has caught up and surpassed them. I would argue aviation is more advanced than space, train, automotive, marine, and everything else. But we are seeing a style trend: more and more airlines moving away from safe blues to neutrals. I would like to see some input from the folks at places like Marriott’s Autograph Collection hotels: super stylish, way more boujee. Nobody wants a motorbike interior anymore; they want calm and peaceful.”


But how to differentiate between cabins? Particularly if an airline brand contains the very common blue palette, the trick to looking and feeling unique, and giving passengers something to identify with, can be an accent color. Pantone’s Color of the Year — creatively shown on a ACRO series 6 seat which you’ll see at the show — is Viva Magenta, a reddish pink that really stands out.


“Viva Magenta is a great example of how a neutral palette can be awakened with an accent color,” says Jason Estes. “Adding a touch of a color like this to a design can awaken the senses of the passenger. I could see this being brought into the onboard experience: maybe on a branding wall during boarding, with touches throughout the cabin that become more apparent under different lighting scenes for the airline.”


Indeed, one of the acceleration effects that the aviation industry saw as the result of the pandemic was the retirement of older aircraft, which means that a much greater proportion of the global fleet now can use mood lighting, washes, and accent lighting to create a cohesive design that spans the entire cabin. And in 2023, the inspiration for this design can — and should — come from anywhere.


“Aviation is a global industry, and I think each part of the world has design elements hidden that we can all learn from,” says Jason Estes. “I think Starlux’s new interior by BMW Design is a good example — they recognized that they were servicing on a global stage and wanted to bring in global design elements that all passengers from different parts of the world could relate to. They did a great job achieving this by elevating the passenger experience in each part of the cabin from economy to first.”


Working in partnership is critical to making the next generation of products the best it can be, with expertise drawn in from across industry — and outside it. Matthew Nicholls highlights that bright sparks of innovation at the front of his mind include Finnair’s new business class: “the whole ethos of how they invited suppliers to be part of the journey was awesome. American Airlines’ new interior is pretty freaking awesome too. Again, early, and direct engagement with the suppliers — us and Teague — was a key reason.”



Join us to continue the conversation on stand 7-C20, and raise a glass with us to toast inspirational design at AIX 2023.

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