Air New Zealand has taken out one of the top honours at the Conde Nast Traveller’s 2011 Innovation and Design Awards. The airline took out the aviation category for its Kiwi-designed Skycouch Economy seat, beating out the new First Class A380 cabin designs from Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines.
Commenting on the win, Air New Zealand deputy chief executive Norm Thompson was not surprisingly very complimentary about the Skycouch, calling it a revolutionary concept in the commercial aviation sector.
“While airlines have made incremental improvements to their premium cabins over the years, no other airline has put this level of research and development effort into improving the Economy flying experience,” says Thompson.
The win represents the only Kiwi win in the awards, which celebrate design excellence in travel across twelve categories. But the other category winners are in and of themselves well worth a mention, especially the very funky retail category winner.
Winner: VitraHaus, Germany
Winner: 'Mercury' High Speed Train
Winner: Bernard Tschumi and Hugh Dutton, la Roche-sur-Yon footbridge
Winner: Puma's Clever Little Bag
Style on the move
Winner: Jasper Conran at Tripp
Winner: Chico and Rita
Winner: Nopi, Yottam Ottolenghi
Winner: Hepworth Gallery, by David Chipperfield
Winner: Square Inc, by Jack Dorsey
Reader’s Choice Award
Winner: Turner Contemporary, Victoria Pomery
Designer of the Year
Winner: Yves Béhar
The Award webiste had this to say about Béhar
Yves Béhar studied Industrial Design in Europe and the US and is the founder of Fuseproject, a San Francisco based design agency contributing to areas that include technology, furniture, sports, lifestyle and fashion. The goals of the project are threefold; firstly he wanted to be a futurist, optimistic and innovative about the possibilities of new technology. Secondly, as a humanist his designs seek to improve the human experience. Finally as an environmentalist, his designs promote sustainable ways of living and consuming.