Embraer’s Design DNA

Design — 19.11.18 BY Sylvie Peron
Mission accomplished

“Marco Tulio, in October 2012, two months into my job said: “We need to fix the Legacy 500”, and it wasn’t even released to the world yet!”

In February 2017, Marco Tulio Pellegrini, former CEO Embraer Executive Jets, was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Portuguese aerospace MRO company OGMA, a joint venture between Embraer and the Portuguese government based outside Lisbon. Consequently, Michael Amalfitano was appointed President and CEO.

“The Brazilian way is also humble,” continues Beever. “They listen to people. They want to do it right, which is key to a lot of things!”

He was then given a document listing all sorts of fit and finishes issues.


“Very quickly, I realised this was the opportunity to reinvent Embraer’s DNA,” he explains. “The ergonomics were wrong. So we wiped out anything that stole occupant space for no packaging reason, as we needed to start over in some ways, not because of design, but for the sole purpose of ergonomics.”

Today, six years later, Embraer’s interior DNA, which combines comfort with style, is available across most of the family of executive jets, from the Phenom 300E to the Legacy 500. Phenom 300E seats are made in-house at EAST, Embraer’s new facility in Titusville, Florida. The OEM completed its acquisition of Aero Seating Technologies in 2015, creating a wholly owned subsidiary and investing in a new manufacturing facility, which was inaugurated in September 2016. Embraer is well known on the Space Coast with other units operating around Orlando-Melbourne Regional Airport, Florida.


“We have multiple styles on these chairs,” says Beever, who is based in Melbourne. “We reinvented the pattern as I wanted to tell stories of Brazilian and international design. One is called ‘Ipanema’, another is called ‘São Paulo’, another ‘London’ and lastly ‘Milano’, which mimics more of a sports-car feel. Depending on the size of the aircraft, the smaller we get the more cosy and sporty it could feel, and it becomes more relevant to automotive inspiration.” Pointing to the horizontal stitching of the soft leather seat in thick and rich chocolate colour we are comfortably sitting in, Jay adds: “The French seams combined with single stitch with added bolsters support a crafted feel that parallels the curves of your body. European fashion, style, furniture, sports cars, are all things that apply to airplane interiors.”

“Very quickly, I realised this was the opportunity to reinvent Embraer’s DNA,” he explains.

With undisguised enthusiasm, Beever continues: “This new DNA feel and look has now been brought into the Phenom 300E, with seats featuring all kinds of extra details and personalisation, in plating and accent colours. ‘Bossa Nova’, is one of the new interior themes. “Can we have 24k gold again? Why not! We can do gold, and we can do it elegantly. Because of the details and the craftsmanship, it becomes a luxury story.”


“Luxury is subjective, to some degree,” adds Beever. “It’s all about perception. Ultimately, it’s really what an individual perceives as luxury. For some it could be time, good health, three meals a day, an airplane, a car, children or not having children, whatever! The buying habits of individuals have sped up, now they want things faster.

“So as an OEM, how do we produce aircraft and interiors that have maximum capability for customization without modifying the specs for the engineers constructing the aircraft?” asks the designer. “Embraer Executive Jets has come to a point where we can be luxurious, and we can be practical. The jet is a business tool, but it can also be a luxury item for some, it doesn’t have to be one thing, it can be all things. And it is because of our interior DNA plan.”

Ease of maintenance

With floating gaps everywhere and removable panels, Beever claims that it takes 30 minutes or less to replace critical components in the cabin. “Even the side ledges are contained in one assembly in order to be able to pull the whole assembly out, replace what needs to be fixed and push it back in. Which means the aircraft can be available quickly without an AOG due to an interior issue.”

Lineage: the peace machine

Peace is the theme for the interior of the Lineage we visit next. Inspiration came a couple of years ago, as a reaction to the terrible news that kept coming across every day. “Being away and above it and you actually do not want to connect with WiFi to the world. You put your phone away because you are unreachable. To be able to shut off! So with that in mind, what story do we tell?”

“How do you stay stable if you are showering and there is turbulence?” asks Beever. “Being able to see the horizon gets your equilibrium back, this is why this bathroom is so special!” he adds.

Beever used the olive branch, the universal symbol of peace as an accent, with a dreamy combination of greys and white colours, “evoking a true escape from the realities of the un-perfect world we live in.”

So the olive branch motif is present in leather accents as well as in the silk and wool carpet. Ample use has been made of beechwood veneers in sun-bleached-like colours (an F/LIST product). The galley sports a combination of paint and veneer and the lavatory, with a shower large enough for two, features a window.



“How do you stay stable if you are showering and there is turbulence?” asks Beever. “Being able to see the horizon gets your equilibrium back, this is why this bathroom is so special!” he adds.

The customer is the designer

“The reason ‘to go to war’ for the DNA change was comfort, to get the ergonomics right,” summarises Beever. “Second was craftsmanship. Ultimately the customer is the designer, telling us what they want.

“We have a plan for execution now. No matter what we build, we’ll have to fulfil the ergonomics, the craftsmanship and the customer’s designer plan.

“We now have the opportunity to sell value and emotion and really fulfil what customers will want on their airplane. It has helped shift us into an environment where ultimately it is about the customers, and this is exciting!