Extra space: the final frontier in aircraft interiors. And the design team at F/List is boldly going where no one has gone before. “It began with a question we asked ourselves during the pandemic,” says Melanie Prince, head of innovation for the Austrian atelier. “How can we do more with less, especially inside a business jet with a fixed fuselage?”
Behold the Shapeshifter concept, a cutting-edge business-jet interior technology that morphs, bends and stretches via electromechanical sleight of hand. Three years in the making, the prototype space (which remains a concept at this stage) maximizes the passenger experience via multifunctional furniture, including a credenza that transforms into a workstation and seating-and-table configurations that can change, well, literally on the fly.
And F/List has even bigger ideas for making the cabin more versatile, starting with the entrance. “Generally, when passengers board, they go straight past the galley,” Prince says. “We created a space that literally expands on the ground, creating a nook where an attendant can pass out a gift or glass of Champagne.”
And what happens after the gifts are dispensed? Following takeoff, sensors, actuators and pneumatic elements allow the galley to transition again. As Prince notes, “When you’re in flight, nobody cares if the lavatory grows a few inches,” that is, until that extra room is needed, at which point, “those inches make a huge difference.”
The other area where shapeshifting can enhance space is the main cabin. With the push of a button, the aircraft owner can alter the layout from a relaxed space for working or socializing, into a formal dining area. As with the entrance, the space actually morphs: The low-sitting lounges lift up into high-backed seating, while a multi-piece platform appears from the lounge and extends across the cabin to create a full dining table. Another push of a button and—presto—the dining area disappears, reverting to the former layout.
Building a working Shapeshifter concept was just the first step. Next will be finding an aircraft owner wanting to use it in a custom interior, a manufacturer to outfit and test the new technology and, finally, FAA approval—all of which could require different forms of creative maneuvering.