Technicon, Paris

Window seat or aisle? When flying, do you enjoy gazing out over the horizon or would you rather close the window shades and lose yourself in the depths of inflight entertainment? French design firm Technicon has solved this modern aviation dilemma by creating a concept jet that defies logic. It has no windows but the interior is one gigantic display that shows images of everything that’s happening outside.

Cheap, plastic, poky oval portholes have given way to a 360-degree electronic visual cabin. Gareth Davies, design director at Technicon, explains “I challenged the team to break out of conventional thinking with regards to a business jet exterior and interior.” Technicon’s concept aircraft, using existing or near-existing technologies, features display panels that completely cover the curved interior of the aircraft.

The most exciting application is the use of cameras mounted around the exterior of the plane to relay the view back inside in real time, creating an all-encompassing visual experience of the external view. Parallax barrier technology allows for multiple displays on the same screen: passengers can experience a floor-to-ceiling sunset in the sky, whilst others take a video conference call at their seats.

One continuous display replacing fixed windows means the jet’s interior cabin design is tremendously flexible. Without having to work around fixed windows, seating can be easily customized for each flight. A totally permutable interior surface means clients can choose any conceivable design and colour palate.

The exterior is the most impressive element of the design and has been named as winner in the Exterior Design category at the 2014 International Yacht & Aviation Awards. Removing the windows reduces weight and gives a uniquely sultry visual dynamic to the exterior. The design features amorphous solar panels that power the on-board low voltage systems. Stripping a commercial aeroplane of its windows is a controversial, bold, or perhaps visionary step. As Davies says,

“The first stage in any innovation is imagination.”