April 23 2024  |  Seating

Muirhead to showcase neurodiverse-friendly aircraft seat covers at AIX 2024

By Robynne Trueman

Scottish leather supplier is curating seat covers that create a multi-sensory experience for neurodivergent passengers

Muirhead has unveiled its vision for neurodiverse-friendly aircraft seat covers. In its April 23 press release, the supplier said the new “Sensation” collection was designed with neurodivergent adults in mind, aiming to inspire CMF designers as they envision the future of people-focused aircraft cabins.

With up to 80 percent of disabled individuals living with a non-visible disability, the project highlights the importance of seat cover design to create an inclusive onboard experience for all passengers.

The collection is designed to address common barriers to travel for neurodivergent passengers, including those with neurological or developmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder, learning impairments or ADHD.

Muirhead will be exhibiting at booth 6E95 at the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in May and will give visitors the chance to learn more about Sensation and experience Muirhead’s interactive sensory design studio.

“Air travel can be overwhelming for anyone, but especially for neurodivergent individuals who tend to have heightened sensitivities compared to neurotypical travellers. Seat covers play a vital role in providing them with comfort and a sense of security, enabling them to better regulate their emotions onboard,” said Jamie O’Donnell, Designer at Muirhead.

“While the industry is making strides towards accessible and inclusive cabin design, many current approaches tend to be overly medicalized or infantilizing towards adults with non-visible disabilities. The inclusive cabin of the future must balance functionality with aesthetic appeal. We look forward to showcasing Sensation at AIX 2024 and supporting airlines and seat manufacturers in fostering a more inclusive and accommodating travel experience for all,” O’Donnell added.

Muirhead worked closely with Scottish disability consultancy VIA throughout the process, conducted extensive research and spoke with neurodivergent individuals who have faced barriers while travelling.

The collection features a soothing monochromatic palette of greens, blues and neutrals to evoke a calming atmosphere – highlighting the precise colour-matching capabilities of Muirhead’s in-house Colour Team.

The Sensation collection demonstrates how signage and patterns on leather seat covers could help passengers locate their seats and process their environment.

Other key features of the new Muirhead collection include a variety of bespoke leather embosses, showcasing the importance of textures in creating a multi-sensory experience for neurodivergent travellers.

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