Altea’s design studio in London, UK, has recently developed bespoke galley inserts to store and protect flatware and crockery on private jets.
The inserts utilise foams, leathers and fabrics to ensure the items remain quiet while stowed, as well as providing a luxury finish.
Extensive research is carried out to determine the most suitable manufacturing method for the drawer inserts. 3D CAD software is used to scan the crockery’s shape, and from here the method of manufacture is decided. Options could include water jet cutting of foam, and 3D printing using the latest rapid prototype materials. The designs are then sent to high-tech specialists along with Altea’s traditional go-to specialists in trimming leathers and man-made textiles.
“Operators and owners want their dedicated flatware, cutlery, etc, to fit perfectly into the purpose-built drawers,” said Robin Dunlop, partner at Altea. “These spaces are quite often very small so sometimes we must get creative on how to use the space, which then dictates our method of manufacture and materials.”
In creating the inserts, the company must abide by certain design considerations to ensure they are safe for use on the aircraft. While Altea consistently utilises safety compliant décor materials, it notes that no specific testing is required for many of these types of items, and operators and owners frequently treat these products as carry-on items.
The main challenge Altea faces in the design of galley inserts comes from the fluctuations in tolerance of other manufacturers, the company said, adding that the chinaware industry works with fairly wide tolerances on the sizing of its products, which can create problems in fitting some items to the stowage space. To overcome this problem and create the perfect fit, Altea methodically 3D-scans and measures each item, as well as the space required to store items nested together.
The inserts are designed to last as long as the cabin interior itself, or until the owner decides to refurbish the aircraft. Altea also offers a retrofit service and can redesign the drawer inserts to fit any particular stowage space. Altea also designs other items that can be offered as a retrofit service to existing operators and owners, such as bespoke pillows with custom fabrics, merino wool blankets, and coat hangers hand-stitched in leathers to match the cabin interior.