The museum of modern art in Rome has an extraordinary collection of unique airplane seat designs dating back to 1873. Here’s a gallery of a few of our favorites.
Where do they come from?
Some seat designs are tied to specific airlines, and therefore don’t change with the times: American Airlines, for example, still has its first-generation Boeing 747 livery on a second-generation chair, and Sunwing has carried its Seastar coach seat with its present design for years now.
Others are created to accommodate a specific niche, or reflect a particular region — French coach coach seats, for example, have always had a cigarette holder at the back of the seat.
That said, the styles continue to be updated — there’s a piano-themed chair made of thick wood, for example, with real twigs around the keyboard and a fixed arm to hold a piano.
A few of the chair designs include unusual designs for the overhead storage compartment, such as paper airplane paraphernalia and shower curtains.
Other examples of the airline-inspired seat designs include those worn by pilots, bus drivers and police officers.
Occasionally one of the iconic airline seat designs will be replicated for a cabin design. In 1994, British Airways even adopted the design from its first Boeing 747, creating a B737 Ace chair in its luxurious First Class cabin.
Many customers and retailers have expressed interest in purchasing one of the antique, heritage-style chairs at the Museo dell’Art dell’Accademia, which now has a good chance of becoming the most valuable piece of art in the history of the curio shop.