We are in awe by the latest developments at ANA (All Nippon Airways). The airline has just announced its collaboration with famed architect Kengo Kuma and leading British designers Acumen to roll out a total of twelve completely redesigned Boeing 777-300ER aircraft in time for the Tokyo 2020 games.
The first redesigned (premium-heavy) aircraft will serve the Tokyo/Haneda-London route (NH211/NH212) starting from August 2 and over the course of 2 months becoming a daily feature on the city pair.
The five-year project has seen Kuma refine the design and colour palette to be reflective of a modern Japan, however, the main design architecture was brought to life by Acumen, and the cross-continental approach has delivered a truly impressive product which raises the bar, especially in the business class cabin. The entire ANA customer and brand experience has been looked at, including the design of all the seating, galley entrance areas, social spaces and cabin interior design across all four cabin classes.
“Our partnerships with Mr. Kuma and Acumen illustrate that ANA has sought out the input of the most influential voices in the design community for these innovative new cabin designs,” said Hideki Kunugi, Executive Vice President of ANA.
“In 2010, we were the first in Japan to introduce the full flat seat with all aisle access and in order for ANA to continue to lead and set the global standard for comfort and convenience, we knew that it would be necessary to integrate the latest insights from design professionals as we sought to redesign the flight experience and elevate every aspect of travel for our passengers.”
Introducing “The Suite” First Class Cabin
Eagle eyed avgeeks will notice these new First Class seats aren’t actually new, in fact, the same seat is available on ANA’s flying Honu’s. However, the entire design palette of the 777 now blends seamlessly and seems to make more sense visually here than on the Hawaiian inspired A380.
Designed with impeccable attention to detail, The Suite has been influenced by luxury Japanese hotels (there is a hint of AmanTokyo here) and is the most spacious fully enclosed seating ever seen on an ANA aircraft, and with only 8 seats, this is an intimate and perfectly formed cabin.
While still inherently ‘boxy’ this reflects Japanese clean utilitarian design. What really stands out though are the luxury dark wood veneers, the addition of privacy-enhancing doors and a MASSIVE 43 inch monitor that is the world’s first 4K personal monitor on a commercial airliner.
“The Room” Business Class Seat
At the heart of ANA’s new product investment is a brand new seat design for Business Class called THE Room which is modelled on the Safran Fusio seat, in fact ANA is the launch carrier of this seat model.
Inspired by modern, multifunctional Japanese living spaces, The Room offers for the first time flexible doors for personal privacy that can also be adjusted to share the space with fellow travel companions – from dining together with the family to conducting meetings with colleagues.
New to ANA, The Room is a forward-rear facing seat concept, offering a revolutionary change in space and comfort for ANA Business Class customers. Similar in approach to the earlier incarnation of the SIA seat, the product offers one of the widest Business Class seating environments in the world – with a wide sofa which is double the width to previous Business Class seating.
The whole design places emphasis on minimisation and de-cluttering, with discrete areas for all personal belongings, and deep blue accent hues precisely placed inside each compartment.
The seat has a keen residential feel to it, thanks to the warm finishes that Kengo Kuma has introduced including three different wood finishes inspired by modern Japanese homes – Rosewood, Light Japanese Ash and Dark Japanese Ash.
New Premium Economy and Economy Class Seat
Although the Business Class cabin takes up much of the aircraft, there is still a premium economy cabin too, which is small and intimate, but no less impressive. While the seats aren’t different, to celebrate the rich and magnificent history of Japan, the new Premium Economy and Economy Class upholstery has been redesigned with Japanese patterns which tell a story known as “The Journey”
Traditional prints include tatami mat pattern which represents a Japanese welcome, and an arrow design taken from the Yagasuri pattern to suggest movement and direction.
These non-repeating patterns mean each seat cover, across the Premium Economy and Economy seats will be completely unique. Passengers traveling in Premium Economy and Economy Class will also enjoy an enhanced flight experience thanks to improved touch screen monitors and headrests that are adjustable along six distinct axes. These are the same upgrades recently installed on ANA’s Boeing 787-10 aircraft.
Going behind the Japanese inspired journey
To celebrate the rich and magnificent history of Japan, Acumen developed digital versions of traditional Japanese patterns to create a story through the seat cover upholstery. The Journey concept starts by capturing the pre-travel anticipation with a modern interpretation of a traditional Japanese cloud pattern; followed by a tatami mat pattern which represents a Japanese welcome and an arrow design taken from the Yagasuri pattern to suggest movement and direction; the falling Sakura (cherry blossom) signifies your arrival in Japan and a time to celebrate life with family and friends.
These non-repeating patterns mean each seat cover across the Premium Economy and Economy seats will be unique. The new seat designs in these classes also feature six-way adjustable headrests to improve passenger comfort.
To complement the radically enhanced seating areas, Acumen also created a new welcome experience for all ANA customers with an enhanced galley design – designed to be of similar style of a luxury Japanese hotel reception. Building on the Omotenashi philosophy of Japanese hospitality, the galleys now feature welcome monitors, enhanced lighting and decorative blinds to be used during boarding.
The new look and feel of this area reflects Kengo Kuma’s architectural approach and incorporates natural colours and materials such as wood and basalt slate stone, while using back-lit panels that resemble traditional Japanese hand-made paper (known as ‘washi’).