In order to give you a better service Airbus uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies I agree

26 April 2019
26. April 2019 Innovation

A Piece of Sky: breathing new life into old aircraft parts

A Piece of Sky – Product range

What if repurposed materials from an end-of-life A320 aircraft could be turned into a new table or lamp? Two Airbus “intrapreneurs,” supported by Airbus BizLab, are doing just that—and selling these one-of-a-kind pieces on their new online shop “A Piece of Sky”.

While participating in an innovation training session at the Airbus Leadership University in 2017, Anaïs Mazaleyrat and Jérémy Brousseau quickly discovered that they shared a novel idea.

What if used aircraft parts could be given a second life…as designer furniture or interior design objects?

Recycling various aircraft materials and parts—from carbon fibre composites to aluminium and textiles—is not a new concept in the aviation industry. Reusable materials from old aircraft are often used to produce products such as circuit boards, computers and TVs. Some aircraft parts can also be recovered or refurbished for reuse in new aircraft. According to the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association (AFRA), up to 85% of an aircraft is recycled. However, transforming used aircraft parts into furniture has never been done—until now.  

 

By 'upcycling' non-quality and end-of-life parts, we make the most of some beautiful, rare materials, pay tribute to the skill involved in their manufacture, and demonstrate alternative, positive ways of dealing with waste.

Anaïs Mazaleyrat, Co-Founder, A Piece of Sky

“Re-imagined factories and ‘industrial’ furnishings are increasingly popular and, combined with aviation fans, we thought that would provide a market for products based on Airbus parts,” Jérémy says.

The idea proved appealing to the Airbus BizLab in Toulouse, which is part of a network of Airbus business accelerators around the world. Airbus BizLab fast-tracked support to get the project off the ground. Throughout 2018, the duo worked on developing furniture prototypes with a group of 11 design professionals—including industrial designers, artists, craftspeople, design consultants and manufacturers. Twenty-two prototypes, from armchairs to coffee tables, have been created so far. In January 2019, they sent out a new request for designer submissions through a collaborative platform to launch season two of their furniture and interior design object collection.  

A Piece of Sky - Oxygen Lamp

An aircraft porthole window is given new life as the “Oxygen” lamp, created by A Piece of Sky for its collection of furniture derived from end-of-life aircraft parts

From waste to worth: upcycling aircraft parts

For Anaïs, repurposing aircraft parts as furniture is not a full-scale replacement for conventional recycling. However, it is, she believes, a viable alternative to traditional waste disposal.

“By ‘upcycling’ non-quality and end-of-life parts, we make the most of some beautiful, rare materials, pay tribute to the skill involved in their manufacture, and demonstrate alternative, positive ways of dealing with waste,” she says.  

Upcycling, also known as “creative reuse,” is the process of transforming waste materials or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality or for increased environmental value. Increasingly, manufacturers, consumers and governments are upcycling to keep old products out of landfills by transforming them into something new.

And Airbus is looking to play its part, too.

“Our role at the Chief Technology Office is to nurture innovative ideas wherever they come from,” explains Grazia Vittadini, Airbus CTO. “This is why we created the BizLabs, to support entrepreneurs such as Anaïs and Jérémy by speeding up the transformation of their ideas into a viable business model aligned with our values.”

The “Piece of sky” shop is now online. Visit the dedicated Instagram account to view the selection of armchairs, coffee tables and lamps currently available for purchase.

 / 
Innovation 26 April 2019

A Piece of Sky – U.F.O. light

An end-of-life A340 radome was used to create the “U.F.O.” light, which can be purchased via the Airbus Bizlab-supported A Piece of Sky online shop

Read more
A Piece Of Sky - Lighting Airbus - Master Films - Hervé Goussé
 / 
Innovation 26 April 2019

A Piece Of Sky - Lighting

The Airbus Bizlab-supported A Piece of Sky online shop, which upcycles end-of-life aircraft parts into designer furniture and interior design objects, offers several different lighting solutions

Read more
 / 
Innovation 12 February 2019

A Piece Of Sky Bedroom Furniture

A Piece of Sky, the Airbus Bizlab-supported online shop that upcycles end-of-life aircraft parts into designer furniture and interior design objects, offers a variety of options for the bedroom

Read more
 / 
Innovation 26 April 2019

A Piece of Sky – Calipso sideboard

Created by A Piece of Sky, the “Calipso” sideboard incorporates A320 fuselage panels that have been through thousands of hours of in-flight service

Read more
 / 
Innovation 26 April 2019

A Piece of Sky – Comet lamp

The “Comet” lamp is one of multiple lighting solutions created by A Piece of Sky, which upcycles end-of-life aircraft parts into designer furniture and interior design objects

Read more
A Piece of Sky – Coffee table Airbus - Master Films - Hervé Goussé
 / 
Innovation 26 April 2019

A Piece of Sky – Coffee table

Coffee tables, chairs and lights were among the initial furniture prototypes created by A Piece of Sky, which is supported by the Airbus Bizlab global aerospace accelerator

Read more

A dramatic shift in urban mobility is coming. Co-creation aims to ensure city inhabitants are ready

en

Zero-emission flight: how aviation is responding to the needs of cities

en

Transforming mobility patterns in cities: is this the key to better urban living?

en
Back to top