Is it possible to have nothing and everything at the same time? When it comes to airplane windows, it is, at least theoretically.
That is what French design company Technicom Design tells us in its IXION Windowless Jet Concept, which garnered first prize in the private aviation exterior design concept at last week's International Yacht and Aviation Awards ceremony in London.
Unlike today's private airplanes, the IXION boasts of a sleek, black-and-white fuselage that is devoid of any windows. But travelers with a streak of claustrophobia don't need to fear the private plane's closed chambers. Instead of including conventional windows that give passengers a limited view of the Earth beneath their feet, Technicom's designers decided to cover the IXION's interiors with flexible floor-to-ceiling screens that give passengers mind-blowing, panoramic views of whatever the plane's wing-mounted, solar-powered 360-degree cameras are taking outside.
Essentially, it's like having all the windows without having any windows at all.
"I challenged the team to break out of conventional thinking with regards to a business jet exterior and interior," says Technicom design director Gareth Davies. "Whilst defining the concept sketches for the exterior, I asked the rest of the team to start thinking about interior concepts and what we could do differently."
And break out they definitely did. The plane's screens can also accommodate other scenes to provide passengers a three-dimensional view that makes it seem like they're flying through the beach, a part of the Amazon rainforest, over Paris overlooking the Eiffel Tower, or even away from Earth to the space beyond.
Keeping in mind that the IXION is a business-class private jet, its designers decided to include parallax barrier technology that allows multiple views to be embedded in one screen, which can accommodate in-flight video conferencing, big-screen movie viewing and perhaps even the next generation of console gaming.
Removing the windows isn't just for adding to the cool factor, though. Davies explains that taking out the cabin windows reduces the plane's weight and simplifies construction, which could mean either less fuel and maintenance costs in the long run or more space to add all sorts of other luxurious features on the IXION, such as the panoramic screens that make it feel like the plane is a glass tube zipping through the sky.
Excited would-be passengers who want to start saving up for a ticket to fly onboard the IXION just yet, which, by our estimates, is likely going to cost most people an arm and a leg, at least until the flight technology becomes mainstream. Although the plane's design is based on near future and existing technologies, no plans have yet been announced as to the construction of a real-life IXION.
For now, passengers can only feast their eyes on the windowless plane concept in the video below.