Qantas has won the 2009 Australian International Design Award of the Year for its Airbus A380 economy-class seat, which was designed by Qantas creative director Marc Newson and manufactured by Recaro Aircraft Seating.
But what is so cool about this seat? I think the author of Jetliner Cabins, Jennifer Coutts Clay, put it best when she told me:
"At the top of the seat there is a movable winged head-and neck-rest cushion; and when you recline your seat-back panel, the seat-base sitting area moves forward by a couple of inches.
"This type of mechanism is frequently used for seats at theatres, cinemas and sports stadiums because it provides an added amount of personal comfort without encroaching on the space of the people in the row behind you.
"The Qantas long-haul economy-class experience is further enhanced by the addition of footrest nets placed under the seats of the row in front of you.
"When stretching out, passengers can get their feet off the floor and supported in a comfortably flexible cradle. This ingenious innovation is much simpler to use than the traditional front-or rear-projecting foot bars -- the nets stop passengers from sliding forward when they are sleeping.
"From the ecological point of view, the footrest net is an excellent accessory because it is virtually weightless."
Stephanie Watson, programme director of the Australian International Design Awards, says the Qantas A380 seat won the Australian International Design Award of the Year for its innovative, functional and intelligent design.
"Our judging panel were highly impressed with the revolutionary design of the Qantas A380 seat, the use of lightweight materials, the ergonomics and use of space, particularly in the seat recline and footrest," says Watson.