With a series of demonstration flights in the south of France, the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer, Embraer, presented the new generation of its executive jets in Europe. The passenger cabins and cockpits were created in the design studios of BMW Group DesignworksUSA, a subsidiary of BMW Group, the Munich-based automobile manufacturer. Colin Steven, Vice President Marketing & Sales at Embraer commented, “DesignworksUSA was the only partner that was right for us. We wanted to define a new standard for the executive jet.”
Brazilian based Embraer, the third largest manufacturer of aircraft in the world, invited DesignworksUSA to the kick off meeting in the summer of 2004. The objective was clearly defined; the design studio was to develop the interior design for Embraer’s first executive jets in the light and very light segments – the Phenom 100 and the Phenom 300. Additionally, Embraer wanted to ensure a transfer of know-how across industrial sectors. DesignworksUSA has built a name for itself throughout the world in this discipline.
The design studio was to integrate its knowledge of the demands made by premium clients gained in the automobile industry into the interior of the new Embraer executive jets. The cabins and cockpits were to reflect the very best in functionality, the most select design quality and facilitate optimal efficiency and use of space in the cockpit, passenger and baggage areas. “We set our sights very high,” reflects Embraer’s Vice President Colin Steven. “The task for DesignworksUSA was to provide the best in pilot comfort, fulfill the requirements of a modern business passenger and combine premium aesthetics with superior design quality.”
A New Standard of Luxury – a design concept supersedes conventions
The international design team was faced with plenty of challenges. Innovative design ideas needed to comply with strict safety regulations, be compatible with Embraer’s production processes, and meet the expectation of an optimal price-performance ratio. As with all of the projects undertaken by DesignworksUSA, the task was not to transfer an automobile design style, in this case to the aircraft sector, but to reassign and apply the overriding design principles and knowledge of the effects of design. The work was firmly based upon the insight that the definition of luxury has changed and that new demands placed upon luxury products need to be authentically fulfilled in the design. Therefore, DesignworksUSA developed a new set of values for the interior design of modern executive jets, which brings together aspects of space and time, interconnectivity, simplicity and authenticity in a completely new way.
The design team cast a critical eye over almost every detail of a conventional executive jet and questioned the traditional definition of opulence as well as the symbolism of the worlds of color, materials and form both in the cabin and the cockpit. For example, knowledge of driver demands gained in the automobile industry was integrated into the cockpit design. The Phenom cockpit currently provides the pilots with the most generous amount of space on the market. Indeed, even in the next largest class of jets, the Phenom pilot’s freedom of movement is rarely matched. The question of durability, inherent value and premium aesthetics in the interior has been resolved as seldom before in executive jets. Baggage compartments, which are integrated into the side walls and beneath the seats, and multiple other details in the cabin illustrate how the transfer of cross-industrial know-how resulted in design solutions for Embraer’s executive jets.
Clean Lines and Elegance – the trademark of the Phenom 100 and 300 jets
The design of the Phenom jets stands out through a multitude of intelligent solutions and details. The entrance to the cabin is tailored to the natural physiognomy of the human body and broadens out at shoulder height, giving the interior along the aisle its very own, elegant, characteristic form for more passenger freedom of movement and comfort. Integrated armrests, which have been a feature of the automobile sector for many years now, have also been introduced. An innovative flooring design was implemented, consisting of new, durable materials, offering superior inherent value. Simultaneously, it provides an adequate, sustainable answer to the owner’s or operator’s demand for high quality design combined with low cost and maintenance.
The new color and materials concept, with seven options to choose from, is a modern, clean-cut, authentic luxury experience. With the Phenom design, Embraer wanted to position itself as the unequivocal leader in innovation and quality in the entry-level jet segment. One hundred jets have already been delivered to customers since Embraer started to accept orders, over 600 orders are waiting to be processed. “We have achieved an outstanding result with the new Phenom design, something that we are very proud of,” says Colin Steven. “The partnership with DesignworksUSA was the key to a truly innovative interior design. For this reason, we awarded two subsequent contracts to the studio for the design of the Legacy 450 and 500 medium-haul jets.” Laurenz Schaffer, President of BMW Group DesignworksUSA sums things up, “Exploring the extent of the possibilities for style and design, whether in the automobile industry or the aircraft industry, is the starting point for true innovation. That is why the Phenom project has been so important for our studio.”