Redefining the Cinema Experience
Benjamin Hubert of experience design agency LAYER has designed Sequel Seat, a premium cinema seat that elevates the cinema experience and aims to entice moviegoers back to the cinemas in a post-COVID-19 world. By Aarthi Sriram
It is currently predicted that the global box office could lose $10 billion due to the pandemic. Sequel Seat designed by LAYER is said to offer the opportunity for cinemas to transform the cinema experience for moviegoers and tackle these challenges in a meaningful way.
Sequel Seat was in development by LAYER with a leading US-based cinema seating company for 14 months prior to the pandemic. With the onset of COVID-19, however, the company went into receivership due to the widespread closure of cinemas around the world. LAYER retained the IP and continued to work on the project, with a belief that a new approach to cinema seating would be essential for the recovery of the industry. The resulting seat – which is available for licensing, offers a safer way for cinemas to operate during times of enhanced social distancing now and in possible future scenarios.
Each headrest has integrated LEDs that display the seat number and the name used for the booking. This not only minimizes the risk of audience members accidentally breaching social distancing measures by sitting in the wrong seat, but also makes the moviegoing experience a more personal one.
The 3D-knitted fabric upholstery incorporates antibacterial copper threads and is seamlessly woven to eliminate crevices that may act as dirt traps. In addition, the durable, hydrophobic, stain-resistant textile has been tested for resistance to water, soft drinks, popcorn grease, and sweat, and can be easily wiped clean should spills occur.
The softly cocooning seat has removable protective screens that safely separate audience members. In times when strict hygiene measures are no longer necessary, this screen can be easily removed.
In the armrest between each seat is a storage unit for bags and jackets which keeps belongings out of the aisle to reduce trip hazards in the dark. An innovative built-in UV light sterilizes the belongings when they are placed inside. The rear of each seat also features a UV light that is used to sterilize the seat behind it in between screenings.
Personal speakers are integrated into the headrest of each seat, creating an unprecedented immersive audio experience for viewers and elevating the cinema experience above what can be achieved in the home.
The armrest of each seat features an intuitive control panel that allows users to easily control the recline, lumbar support, and seat temperature, and call for assistance. This allows moviegoers to craft their own unique experience and gives them both physical and emotional comfort.
The entire seat reclines or fully extends using a sophisticated powered mechanism, which also offers adjustable lumbar support. In the fully reclined position, the front of the chair lifts ups to comfortably support the viewer’s legs. The rear of each seat features a coat hook to help keep circulation paths clear.
The swiveling polymer table which features a cup-holder dish and space for food is super smooth to ensure it is easy-to-clean. All electrification is located in the seat, rather than the floor, for simplicity and cost-efficiency.
Inspiration from the Silver Screen
The design language of Sequel Seat is contemporary, with a rolling rhythm created by the rise and fall of the armrests, and a subtle wing back on the seat that delivers comfort without confining a moviegoer’s shoulder. The fresh and inviting color palette is inspired by mid-century pastels used in Wes Anderson films, giving the seat a connection to the world of cinema and setting it apart from the outdated black and burgundy palette of conventional seating.
The seats are modular and can be arranged into rows of any desired length, enabling them to be used in a variety of different cinema sizes and arrangements.
“We believe that a product like Sequel Seat will play a key role in encouraging people to come back to the cinemas. In today’s rapidly evolving entertainment landscape, it is essential for the cinema to offer an experience that is significantly differentiated from the growing streaming market. Sequel Seat is a tool that delivers the enhanced comfort and essential safety features that will help cinemas define them as a safe place where moviegoers can be transported to another world,” says Benjamin Hubert – Founder, LAYER.