Air New Zealand’s Skycouch nabs international design award

Air New Zealand’s Skycouch nabs international design award

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

Communications Technology

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. 

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