> posted by   on August 21st 2012

Light – lighter – light as a feather

We (society, designers) are entering a new era of design. The era of materials! In the last 40 years, we have been working on perfect tools to produce a perfect plastic that can be produced easily (mass production) and quickly. Today we have so many different plastics that the interest for the “science of recycling” among new students at Technical Universities is increasing rapidly

Another interesting movement towards tomorrow is the rapid development of extremely light materials after NASA’s shuttle programme and several lighter and more comfortable seating concepts from Acro Aircraft Seating, Boeing, and Recaro.

Above: Airgonomic – concept study by Marina Fischer, Bianca Herberth and Veronika Ruml | Cristal Cabin Awards 2011


Now it is time for small-scale products – car seats.

At the last IAA Frankfurt 2011, Johnson Controls introduced their concept car based on new “lighter” solution in entire automotive interior. The most interesting were very thin seats that allow creating smaller spaces (the so-called “down-sizing” trend). Smaller spaces mean fewer materials, reduced volume of shape, etc. which leads to a better and more sustainable world.

Above: 2 x Johnson Controls

BMW took the next step in their research from vision to working concepts. The result of this research are three new seat concepts consistently oriented towards the anatomy of the human being and offering enormous potentials in saving weight:

• The Bionic Seat is inspired by nature. It offers its potential on and around the backrest with an improvement of 20 per cent over conventional seats.

• The Space Comfort Shell is derived from human body imprints and, using adaptive seat cushions, ensures an optimum cocooning effect around the occupants. The weight reduction on the research model is up to 50 per cent versus the standard seat.

• The Ergo Seat combines certain ideas carried over from both of these projects, but is closer to series production. It is up to two kilos lighter than the BMW sports seat (which is about 10 per cent) and offers greater functionality.

Above: 6 x BMW


“In everything we do, the human being sets the yardstick.” Matthias Franz, Seat Development Engineer




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