The 2018 Crystal Cabin Award winners: Double beds, luggage bins and urinals in plane cabins of the future

The winners of the 2018 Crystal Cabin Awards were revealed this week at the annual Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg. The prestigious awards, which this year saw a record 91 shortlisted entries, highlight the most innovative futuristic aircraft cabin designs across eight different categories. 

Here we look at the winning efforts and a few other stand-out designs.

1. Make mine a double

Cabin Concepts category winner, QSuite​

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London-based design group PriestmanGoode, which also designed the first lie-flat bed for Virgin Atlantic back in the 1990s, took the crown for the best cabin design concept with the lavish QSuite, unveiled last year by Qatar Airways.

The innovative design offers plenty of customising elements, including the airline industry's first-ever double bed in business class when two suites are conjoined.

The television screens in the central seats can be moved to create a four-person private suite for meetings or meals, while those who might want more privacy can utilise the built-in panels to create a private room or stow them away when not in use. 

The first QSuites were retrofitted onto the airline's existing aircraft starting last year, at a rate of about one plane per month. With some 194 aircraft in its current fleet, it may be some time before all passengers get a chance to experience the suite. 

2. The luggage bin you've been waiting for 

Cabin Concepts category finalist, Airbus Airspace

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PriestmanGoode's Airspace cabin for Airbus was also among the finalists. An A320 mock-up of it was on display at this year's expo, which showcased the remarkable large overhead bins that can fit up to eight wheeled suitcases (providing up to 40 per cent more space than current bins), calm LED lighting and ceiling signage which help to the illusion of added depth and a cavernous feel within the space. The Airspace interior for the A320 family of aircraft is expected to be rolled out by 2020 with upgraded features including sleek LED-lit lavatories operated by touchless features. 

3. Sweet dreams

Passenger Comfort Hardware category winner, Valkyrie Bed

Who wants a seat that reclines flat when you could simply push the seat to one side and roll out an entire mattress instead?

The Valkyrie Bed, designed by North Carolina-based Rockwell Collins, is for premium passengers, of course.

4. A very clever tap

University category winner, E-tom Smart faucet

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Researchers from Britain's Cranfield University took home an award for their smart tap which "uses an electrically operated piezoelectric transducer to convert high frequency electrical energy into vibratory mechanical energy." Confused? So are we. Whatever it does, it means aircraft use less water, meaning they can also carry less on board and save fuel.  

The smart tap is also designed to clean and unblock itself, while a charcoal filter removes contaminants. Now that is clever. 

5. Try before you buy

Visionary Concepts category winner, 3D Seat Map VR

Renacen, a Spanish software developer, was recognised for new software that gives passengers a virtual 360-degree view of the cabin from their chosen seat during the flight booking process. 

6. The virtual flight attendant?

Visionary Concepts category finalist

Developed by Boeing and the Live Well Collaborative (a partnership between the University of Cincinnati and Procter & Gamble), this in-flight concierge concept would allow passengers to access on-board services using VR (virtual reality) headsets. The system could see fliers be led through an in-flight safety demonstration by a virtual flight assistant, order a meal, make travel arrangements or enjoy unique VR entertainment as well as experience their seat in VR, which could be made to look larger.

7. A plane of two halves

Visionary Concepts category finalist, Day and Night

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This premium suite by Airbus, designed for use on the A350 and A380, was also displayed at this year's Hamburg expo. The suite features two halves - Day and Night - which passengers can switch between throughout the flight. During meal times, passengers could sit in the Day area, which offers table seating and a window view. In the Night zone, fliers can enjoy their flat bed.

8. Divide and conquer

Cabin Systems category winner, Silhouette Move

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This unique partition was awarded best in the Cabin Systems shortlist for taking advantage of the unused space between cabin dividers and passenger seats. The design by Rockwell Collins (the only company to win in two categories this year) allows the partition to be adapted throughout the flight, unlike current cabin dividers which are static and inflexible. The raised dividers offer one cubic foot of additional leg room or bag space to every passenger seated in the bulkhead row.

9. The urinal at 30,000 feet

Cabin Systems category finalist, Durinal

Zodiac Aerospace also wants to introduce the first urinals in the sky, which could potentially shorten toilet queues. 

10. A floor to get excited about

Greener Cabin, Health, Safety and Environment category winner, LiteHeat IHP

This virtually indestructible heated floor panel was designed with a "beyond state-of-the-art heatable coating technology" which gives it its ultra-high damage resistance quality and durability.

The Telegraph, London

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