The most radical and important parts of my chair is the 3d knitted fabric.

In this post I will present my ideas on the seating of the chair, and discuss the different possibilities that can be used when designing a chair for maritime sector.


In the first part of this post I will talk about the differences between a bridge made for positioning of a ship (Example: Platform supply vessel loading/unloading cargo at a oil rig), and a bridge made for navigational purposes only(Example: cruise ship and cargo vessels).

Trending market:

The biggest trend within design of ships the last years has been “Psv`s” (Platform Supply Vessels) and seismic vessels made for oil designated operations. The main feature of these ships is the ability to be positioned at the right place over long period of times. This is done by a “DP” (dynamic positioning) which is:

Dynamic positioning (DP) is a computer-controlled system to automatically maintain a vessel‘s position and heading by using its own propellers and thrusters. Position reference sensors, combined with wind sensors, motion sensors and gyrocompasses, provide information to the computer pertaining to the vessel’s position and the magnitude and direction of environmental forces affecting its position. (Reference:

The chairs that have been designed the last years that are state of the art within this field is therefore specially designed for dynamic positioning operators.

A typical DP positioning station looks like this:

The example above is from “Rolls royce” and is placed facing astern the ship. The workstation of a DP-operator requires lots of screens, buttons and joysticks. These tools help the operator to maintain the position of the ship and quickly take manual control if the system fails.

The picture below shows a typical bridge of a PSV vessel with workstations facing both forward and astern.

Navigational bridge:

The biggest difference between a bridge layout for positioning and navigation is wether the bridge has workstations placed astern the ship or not. A workstation designated facing the aft deck isn`t necessary if you mainly go forwards.

Example of a bridge specially made for navigation:


Underneath you can see a typical layout of the bridge on a cruise ship.

Mega trends:

Autonomous ships is the biggest trend on every lip these days when it comes to shipping design in maritime sector.

My research on this topic shows that autonomous ships will be around in just a few years, but the trend will hit cargo vessels first since these kind of ships pilot through big oceans and areas with few or none people and other obstacles around.

When it comes to my project my research shows me that explorer vessels will have people on the bridge all the time during expeditions/operations. The conditions when going to the arctic is unpredictable and dangerous.

Example: An expedition vessel leaves a northern port in Norway before sailing to Svalbard to do a short stop to stack both supplies and fuel. The vessel departs Svalbard and heads to the arctic. It takes several hours from svalbard before the ship encounters ice.

Long periods of sailing and times where the ship isn`t in danger of ice the ship will sail with auto pilot and the ship sails as a autonomous ship. The pilots job will be: Lookout, overseeing the navigation and planning the navigation in icy waters.

Semi autonomous

Volvo shows the picture above when talking about the transition from manual control to auto pilot. This is one of the inspirational pictures and feelings I have brought with me into this project and my ambition has been to create a chair which can both be comfortable but also operational if and when needed.


Since I am designing for explorer vessels going to the arctic, the chair I am designing will be placed in a bridge made for navigation, not positioning.

The ship will be semi autonomous and during times where the ship does everything itself and the user only need to be present, the chair must work as a comfortable lounge chair.

When the ship enters risky waters or is doing a operation requiring full focus the chair needs to work as a operator chair.


The chairs that are found on market today are all conservative and built for strength and stability. The chairs all use a center column with telescopic abilities to offer height adjustment.

The chairs are very similar in terms of what they do and which features they offer. Styling and branding is the biggest difference between them, and this is mostly done by shape, color and material.

The 3 biggest makers of pilot chairs on the market is Kongsberg maritime, rolls royce and Norsap. Below I have shown pictures of their top models.


Kongsberg maritime:

Rolls royce:


Within the market of office chairs there is mainly 3 different categories when it comes to seating and materials on this part of a chair.

The important questions in term of material is:

How Will It Feel On My Skin?

Will It Offer Any Support?

How Long Will It Last?

Leather is known to be prestigious and it`s often associated to having an important role. Unlike fabric and mesh coverings, the skin is unlikely to be irritated by a leather chair and leather is rather easy to clean.

Mesh is a rather new material introduced to office chairs and seating, and it`s made from plastic threads knitted or melted into a mesh. It is similar to fabric in that it is often soft, rarely sticky, and very difficult to clean. Mesh is also very breathable.

Fabric is usually chosen for its softness and color/pattern varieties. Depending upon which type you choose, fabric can be the softest and most gentle material.

Comfortable look?

Below you can see 4 different chairs that all look comfortable. 2 of the chairs are from the Norwegian brand: stressless, a name that often is associated with the word “comfortable”. Since these chairs look kind of old fashioned and outdated my ambition has been to create a chair that looks modern and cool, that still contains that “comfortable” look.

The “Eames aluminium chair”, and the” Jean prouve Citè” chair shown below are lounge chairs with inspiration from office chair looks.

In my chair I am looking for a “techy” look where all of these styles are combined.. I want the sharp lines from the Eames and Prouvè chairs, and the comfortable abilities found in stressless.


Air supported pads

Since my concept will have air supported pads within the seating of the chair, I have looked after materials that can be stretched or changed to create air filled pads within the material.

My choice became fabric, both because of it`s warm and breathable qualities, but also because it easily can offer stretch within the material for a air filled “pad/pillow”.

3d knitting?

Since this is a conceptual project I have looked into futuristic materials within fabric. The biggest trend right now is “3d knitting” which is:

” Basically a lot of individual strands of yarn feed into a complex machine that manipulates tiny knitting needles. Each thread is controlled by a machine head capable of making just about any known knit pattern.

These computer-driven machines utilize a specialized programming language to create 3-dimensional products by knitting layer upon layer. A machine programmer can write an entire 3D program with no graphics at all – just code. The engineering is what is 3D – meaning the programmer techniques.

What’s really cool is that products can be knit together without any sewing or seams. And it all happens with a few clicks of a mouse.” 


In my process I wanted to use 3d knitting to create pockets or places where the fabric could be stretched in a special way to make these “air pads” which will work as supportive pillows holding the body in place.

The pictures below is a chair designed by”Layer design”. This chair is made with a metal frame with 3d knitted. The fabric is designed with different sizes and positions of the holes so the fabric can be stretched and pulled different ways.

My chair:

Back to my chair and the concept of the seating part of my chair:

The fabric is one big part that`s attached to the rest of the chair by the armrests and the backrest. The stability is made by either using wooden, metal or plastic pieces sewn inside the or underneath the fabric.

There is also 4 air pads inside the fabric which can be inflated/deflated by the user.

The 4 pads are:

Upper body support: The upper body support will when filled with air push the body and hold it into place. They can also be filled with air for comfort.

The sadel support:

The sadel support is between the pilots legs and is crucial for shock and stability of the body. It will when used together with the armrest pads hold the body tight into the chair.


Lumbar support:

The lumbar support is for comfort and to some degree stability.


My research into fabrics and 3d knitting has been inspiring and very difficult when it comes to testing and fail proof the concept. I have spent most of my time making a concept that can do all the requirements I have wanted the chair to do, and most of these struggles have been within the frame of the chair.

Therefore I wish I had spent more time on the fabric, and visualisations of the seating of the chair. But I hope that the visualisations I have made shows my ideas and thoughts to the fabric with it`s built in abilities like the air pads.



Kongsberg maritime:

Rolls royce:



Office chair categories:

What Materials are Best?

3d knitting:

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