October 17 2023  |  Partnerships, Collaborations & Acquisitions

JAL partners with Tangerine for bespoke First Class cabin design

By Robynne Trueman

Tangerine's seat design on JAL's A350-1000 International fleet

Tangerine partnered with Japan Airlines (JAL) to design for all four classes for the airline's A350-1000s, including a bespoke First Class cabin design with an impressive seat update. Tangerine conceived the brand expression of “Infused essence” for JAL’s domestic aircraft in 2019. In the October 17 press release, Tangerine shared that this concept is now in place across JAL’s entire international fleet after the airline decided on a strategic partnership with Tangerine to get the design live.

Matt Round, Chief Creative Officer at Tangerine, who created Finnair’s business class embodiment said, “This approach by JAL is what has enabled all the supply chain partners to deliver on our vision for the airline. JAL’s willingness to embrace the pre-work programme meant that Tangerine was able to prepare the ground to create a design vision ahead of any RFP being issued to the OEM suppliers.”

According to the press release, Tangerine worked with two seating vendors, with members of the JAL team relocating to Tangerine’s studio in London during the process. This allowed JAL to be involved in Tangerine’s Design Immersion programme, building trust and developing a design theory over several months. After the initial design was conceived, Safran was chosen to manufacture the new First-Class seat.

The new seat results in a First Class cabin configuration of 1-1-1, meaning fewer First Class seats in the A350-1000, but more space for creativity with the bespoke design. The spacious seats offer a large dining table, meant to mimic dining at a Michelin star restaurant.

For passengers in First, the dining table is stored in a cassette that moves horizontally toward the passenger and vertically flips out and folds down. The seat holds two passengers with lap straps, allowing two people to enjoy sitting next to each other for a portion of the flight.

Tangerine also shared that the new First Class seats allow passengers to choose between adding extra width to their bed at night or keeping the additional floor space. The downlight design was inspired by cocktails at the Orchard Bar at the old Hotel Okamura in Tokyo.

The door of the new First Class suite features a latticework design inspired by Ukiyoe artwork and Japanese woodcraft.

“Sharing and demonstrating ‘the essence of Japan’ to a non-Japanese company may sound challenging, however, as Tangerine has a proven track in working with Japanese companies including JAL, all the communication with them was easy and seamless for us,” said Junta Nishigaki from Product & Service Strategy Development, at Japan Airlines, Co. Ltd. “It was essential to incorporate elements of ‘he essence of Japan’ not only as perceived by the people of Japan, but also as expected by international customers. In this regard, we thank the expertise of Tangerine, which brought an entirely global viewpoint to this project.”

Tangerine’s A350-1000 Business Class design provides privacy and a fully flat bed. The seats are custom designed with sustainable eLeather trim and patterns inspired by Japanese artwork. There is also a console in the suite for the hospitality services and a wardrobe for hanging jackets.

The Premium Economy and Economy seats were manufactured by Safran, with the Premium Economy seat being the first electrically moving seat in this class onboard an aircraft to date. There is also a privacy screen for passengers traveling in Premium Economy.

Tangerine’s “Infused essence” concept is present in all classes, due to launch on the A350-1000 international fleet at the end of November.

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