Formation Has Two 2016 Crystal Cabin Award Finalists!


Two of Formation’s projects for the aircraft interior market are finalists for the 2016 Crystal Cabin Awards. Formation’s independently developed Formation Design Cabin Concept and Formation’s collaboration with B/E Aerospace, Panasonic and Teague on the Waterfront business class suite have advanced to the finals. We are extremely proud of our team and the effort they’ve contributed to making truly world class products for a very challenging and constrained market.

What’s a Crystal Cabin Award? The Crystal Cabin Awards were created in 2007 to motivate companies and research organizations to develop new and innovative products for aircraft cabin interiors. The awards are highly competitive and judged by an esteemed and highly selective jury of aerospace professionals, they’re tough! Although the Crystal Cabin winners may be beautiful, this is no beauty contest. Candidate submissions are evaluated against a rigorous set of criteria that includes everything from passenger experience considerations to commercial viability and sustainability. Of all the juried design competitions, the Crystal Cabin Awards rank among the most respected, elusive and prestigious. We are honored to have two separate projects in the finals in the same year!

The Crystal Cabin Awards are presented in association with Aircraft Interiors Expo. Winners will be announced on April 5th during this year’s Aircraft Interior Expo.

For more information on the Formation Design Cabin Concept, please contact Bob Henshaw via [email protected].

You can also download the Overview PDF.

The Runway Girl on Formation’s Cabin Concept

Formation_Design_Group_Runway_Girl_llFormation’s lie flat seating concept was featured on The Runway Girl Network. Runway Girl contributing editor and international journalist John Walton offered a detailed overview and critique of the Formation Seat.

The Formation Seat is a new lie-flat seating arrangement that increases premium cabin density without compromising passenger living space. Read John Walton’s comprehensive piece On The Runway Girl Network.

For more information on the Formation Design Group Cabin Concept, please contact Bob Henshaw via [email protected]

Formation To Provide IDSA’s South Conference Keynote



Formation Design Group’s Russell Kroll will be speaking at the Industrial Designers Society of America’s South Conference on April 15–16, 2016. The conference will take place on the campus of Auburn University. Please visit the IDSA’s conference website for all of the conference details.

Russell’s talk “Everything Matters — Innovating Experience”, will look beyond current innovation tropes to frame “innovating” as a repeatable process. As the keynote session Russell’s presentation is intended to strike a professional tone for the conference weekend. This session considers the innovation experience from the perspective of people experienced in innovation.

Follow the journey to the 2016 South District Design Conference on Twitter @IDSA #SDDC16.

See you there!

Vaporware to Real World – The Crystal Cabin Awards


The Formation Design Lie-Flat Seating Concept gets a nice mention in this Runway Girl Network article critiquing the 2016 shortlist Crystal Cabin Award entrants. The Runway Girl Network Represents a collective of talented aviation journalists, the award-winning outlet combines deep industry intelligence with first-hand knowledge of the airline passenger experience (#PaxEx on Twitter) to provide unrivaled news and insight to both industry stakeholders and the traveling public.

Read the comprehensive piece on the Runway Girl’s site!

Another Dimension


Formation Design Group Lie-Flat Seating System


Formation Design Lie-Flat Seating System, a concept by Formation Design Group Partner Bob Henshaw, was featured in the Showcase 2016 issue of Aircraft Interiors International magazine. The new lie-flat seating concept increases cabin comfort and density, as well as creating new revenue opportunities for airlines. The highly efficient seating arrangement is made possible by using some of the cabin’s vertical space to layer bed and seat arrangements, with the aim of increasing cabin density without compromising passenger living space.

Download PDF Article

For more information, please contact Bob Henshaw via [email protected] or catch up with our team at the 2016 Aircraft Interior Expo this April in Hamburg. You can also read the article on Aircraft Interiors International’s site.

Formation Develops 3D Printer



Formation Design Group recently developed a large format fused deposition, 3D printer that also features an integrated laser cutter. Although we typically develop products for client companies, the new rapid prototyping system was an internal project driven by our own use cases and prototyping needs.

After years of outsourcing rapid prototype components, Formation purchased a commercial stereo-lithography system for creating highly accurate prototypes. Although useful, SLA parts have limitations and tend to have higher raw material costs when compared to most common 3D printers or fused deposition based prototyping equipment. After considering a range of commercially available 3D printers to supplement our SLA machine, none was an ideal fit for our needs. Consequently, we decided to develop our own!

Because of its large build envelope of 330mm by 330mm by 230mm, material flexibility and integrated laser cutter, our new system has proven immediately useful. Since its creation, our initial system has been running and producing high quality prototype components nearly nonstop. The development of the system was led by Formation Mechanical Engineer Francis Garing who carried out mechanical design, software development, systems integration, testing and optimization for the printer. Based on the success of the initial design, we are now creating an even larger system with a build envelope measuring 600mm by 600mm by 1220mm.

The ability to quickly and inexpensively generate large rapid prototype components supports our “hands-on” development philosophy and encourages casual experimentation. Industrial Designer Ben Bailey had this to say, “Even though we’ve always had multi-axis CNC capabilities and a substantial prototype lab, with the creation of our first 3D printer there was an instant, positive effect on our work flow. Being able to quickly realize prototypes and test ideas on a whim and without worrying about cost has had a very positive effect on my creativity and how I work.”

Medical Product Innovation Workshop


Formation’s Phil Palermo will be co-hosting an Innovation Generation workshop at the inaugural Usability Ecosystem Medical Design Conference in Tampa Florida. Phil will collaborate with Joe Cesa from Kimberly Clark to lead a work session focused on translating research based insights into tangible concept solutions.

The transition between design research and synthesized research based concepts is often a critical time in the development process. Rationalizing research insights related to usability and workflow with functional requirements is an essential part of synthesizing viable medical solutions.

During the workshop Joe and Phil will share methods for prioritizing and working with research based insights to create robust concept solutions. For more about the conference and the development of medical products please visit the Usability Ecosystem’s conference site.

Innovation Methods Workshop

Formation’s Russell Kroll will be providing an innovation methods workshop through GENERAL ASSEMBLY on August 28th, 2014 at Atlanta’s Goat Farm + Arts Center from 6:30pm to 8:30pm.

If you haven’t heard of GENERAL ASSEMBLY you should definitely check-em out. Established in early 2011 as an innovative community in New York City for entrepreneurs and start-up companies, General Assembly is an educational institution that transforms thinkers into creators through education in technology, business and design at nine campuses across four continents. They are an interesting group doing great things, we’re lucky to have one of their nine campuses right here in Atlanta!

Russell’s Innovation Methods session is an overview course intended to demystify the innovation process while offering tools and resources to advance your creative development work. The session we’ll look beyond current trends to address innovation as a repeatable process. In doing so it will  review strategies for understanding a problem space, developing initial approaches, refining solutions, prototyping, evaluation and realization. In addition to these methods, it will cover how to best build you’re your innovation team.

For More info or to purchase a ticket please visit GENERAL ASSEMBLY’s site.

People’s Choice Award – Thanks Everyone!


We’d like to thank everyone who voted for the 2014 IDSA People’s Choice Award! In addition to receiving a GOLD International Design Excellence Award, the DELTAIR S.C.B.A. also won the 2014 People’s Choice Award!

The People’s Choice Award is voted on annually by IDSA members and affiliates through online balloting on the IDSA’s website. It’s presented each year at the IDSA’s national conference. The award allows designers and the general public to select their favorite project from all the IDEA Gold winners. Although we were honored to receive a GOLD award this year, the People’s Choice Award is something extra special indeed! We are flattered and delighted that our project for AVON Protection was selected from such a strong field of International Design Excellence Award winners.

The DELTAIR Self Contained Breathing Apparatus is a life-sustaining breathing system for firefighters. During contextual work sessions, we collaborated with 38 active duty firefighters from 9 departments across the U.S to design the best SCBA possible. It was truly a co-design effort resulting in a S.C.B.A. system designed by firefighters for firefighters! We believe we owe our People’s Choice Award to the fact that people understand the importance of good design and usability in products intended for first responders. After all, they put themselves in harm’s way for the sake of others.

Thanks everyone! But really, this is too much!

Award Winning Research + Design Process

Avon Formation Industrial Design Excellence Award

The research and design of AVON’s new SCBA was recognized with a GOLD Industrial Designers Society of America, International Design Excellence Award (IDEA). Started in 1980, the IDEA program fosters business and public understanding regarding the impact of industrial design excellence and represents one of the most coveted and prestigious design industry awards.

Formation worked with AVON Protection’s product managers, engineers and marketing specialists to research and design the new DELTAIR Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (S.C.B.A.). The development of the Deltair system was planned to coincide with the introduction of new regulations governing firefighter SCBAs. The goal of the project was to use the new regulations, along with input from end users to develop the world’s best breathing system for firefighters.

SCBAs are used in extremely harsh conditions by professionals under tremendous physical and mental stress. The life-sustaining nature of the product and its extreme use context presented the development team with many challenges. Most significant was the fact that no one on the design team had or could ever have first-hand experience using a SCBA in a real world, life-threatening situation. Because of this, the development of the Deltair system was conceived as a co-design project involving seasoned firefighters. During contextual work sessions, the design team collaborated with 38 active duty firefighters from 9 departments across the U.S to design the best SCBA possible.

About The Industrial Designers Society of America
With its roots reaching back to 1938 and founded in 1965, the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) is the world’s oldest, largest, member-driven society for industrial design. IDSA represents professionals in product design, interaction design, human factors, ergonomics, design research, design management, universal design and related design fields. The society produces the renowned International Design Excellence Award® (IDEA) competition annually; hosts the International Design Conference and five regional conferences each year; and publishes Innovation, a quarterly journal on design, and designBytes, a weekly e-newsletter highlighting the latest headlines in the design world. IDSA’s charitable arm, the Design Foundation, supports the dissemination of undergraduate and graduate scholarships annually to further industrial design education. The organization has more than 3,000 members in 29 professional chapters in the U.S. and internationally.