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“Working alongside ANA and Kengo Kuma has been a tremendous honour

Acumen led the redesign of the customer and brand experience and worked in collaboration with famed Japanese architect, Kengo Kuma

• New cabin designs include the world’s largest 4K monitor in First Class; an innovative new Business Class seat; and creative seat covers in PYC and YC that embrace the symbolism and cultural traditions of Japanese fabric design

• Cabins represent a fusion of western design principles and Japanese heritage – showcasing modern Japan to the world in advance of Tokyo 2020 Olympics

LONDON, 11th JULY 2019: All Nippon Airways (ANA) – Japan’s largest airline – today unveiled the results of its long-standing partnership with renowned UK design consultancy Acumen Design Associates and famed Japanese architect Kengo Kuma.

With the Tokyo 2020 Olympics less than 12 months away, a number of B777-300ER aircraft will be completely transformed – with radical seating and cabin interior designs installed across all classes to improve passenger experience and comfort and showcase the true inspiration of Japan. These aircraft will serve international routes from August 2019 (Tokyo – London) and act as the gateway for visitors coming to Japan to experience its rich culture and heritage.

The five-year project has seen Acumen lead the redesign of ANA’s customer and brand experience, including the design of all the seating, galley entrance areas, social spaces and cabin interior design across all four cabin classes. ANA approached Acumen to bring a western perspective to the carriers design approach and customer experience. The design team worked closely with Kengo Kuma to combine the best of Eastern and Western design traditions and create a finished product that sets a new global standard by embracing Japanese heritage with an international outlook.

Introducing ‘THE Suite’ – First Class luxury

The remodelled first class cabin represents the most significant upgrades ANA has made to its luxury offering for a decade. ‘THE Suite’ is the most spacious fully-enclosed seating ever seen on an ANA aircraft and features the world’s first 4K personal monitor on a commercial airline; at a staggering 43-inches it offers an unrivalled passenger entertainment experience. The seat transitions seamlessly into an expansive bed, and each seat features a movable partition which can create a paired seating arrangement for couples or passengers who wish to socialise or dine together.

‘THE Room’ – privacy and space

At the heart of ANA's new product investment is the new business class seat, known as ‘THE Room’, which has been designed to offer passengers more flexibility in how they fly. The bold forward and rearward layout offers passengers a step change in space and comfort and offers one of the worlds largest Business Class seating environments. Acumen has created a wide ‘sofa’ seat that is almost double the width of ANA’s previous Business Class offering. The large flatbed surface creates the ability for passengers to relax, lounge, and socialise in their own space like no other business class cabin.

‘THE Room’ also includes sliding doors and a separate sliding screen to the aisle to give passengers control over their own privacy – offering them the choice to socialise, dine together or spend time relaxing in comfort and enjoying the benefits of a 24-inch 4K monitor and discrete personal stowage options, which include a vanity mirror and charging ports for personal devices.

A Japanese inspired journey

To celebrate the rich and magnificent history of Japan, Acumen developed digital versions of traditional Japanese patterns to create a story through the seat cover upholstery – known as ‘The Journey’. The concept starts by capturing the pre-travel anticipation with a modern interpretation of a traditional Japanese cloud pattern; followed by a tatami mat pattern which represents a Japanese welcome and an arrow design taken from the Yagasuri pattern to suggest movement and direction; the falling Sakura (cherry blossom) signifies your arrival in Japan and a time to celebrate life with family and friends. These non-repeating patterns mean each seat cover across the Premium Economy and Economy seats will be unique. The new seat designs in these classes also feature six-way adjustable headrests to improve passenger comfort.

To complement the radically enhanced seating areas, Acumen also created a new welcome experience for all ANA customers with an enhanced galley design – designed to be of similar style of a luxury Japanese hotel reception. Building on the Omotenashi philosophy of Japanese hospitality, the galleys now feature welcome monitors, enhanced lighting and decorative blinds to be used during boarding. The new look and feel of this area reflects Kengo Kuma’s architectural approach and incorporates natural colours and materials such as wood and basalt slate stone, while using back-lit panels that resemble traditional Japanese hand-made paper (known as ‘washi’).

Ian Dryburgh, Founder and CEO at Acumen Design Associates, commented: “Working alongside ANA and Kengo Kuma has been a tremendous honour. Together we have been able to effectively combine our experiences and use holistic design to transform the passenger experience - showcasing the wonders of Japanese culture to ANA customers around the world.”


About Acumen:

Acumen Design Associates is a multi-award winning design consultancy based in London, United Kingdom. Acumen has enjoyed nearly forty years of international success, creating market-leading products and remarkable customer experiences for many of its ‘blue-chip clients. Acumen is a team of creative thinkers, designers and brand specialists, passionate about improving the way people live and move.

The company’s inventive and disruptive approach is constantly challenging the status quo resulting in a wide portfolio of international patents, particularly in the aviation sector where they have led the innovation agenda. For example, Acumen invented the iconic ‘Bed in the Sky’ for British Airways in 1996 and more recently the world’s first three-room VIP suite, The Residence, for Etihad Airways. Acumen’s airline experience spans more than 45 projects for a diverse range of international airlines around the globe which has given them a rare insight into premium passenger’s future needs and expectations. For more information, please visit:

Media contact:

Liam Andrews
XL Communications

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