- Layer design studio created a safer movie theater sesat during a pandemic.
- The film industry could lose $10 billion dollars as a result of COVID-19.
- The Sequel Seat design has antibacterial fabric and protective screens.
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The coronavirus pandemic has been brutal to many industries, including film, with movie theaters forced to close and new releases pushed back indefinitely. Some chains are reopening where regulations allow, but people aren't necessarily eager to sit in an enclosed space with strangers while a respiratory virus spreads.
In August, a Morning Consult study found that only 17% of respondents felt comfortable returning to a movie theater.
Chains are trying novel approaches to offset the disastrous effects of the coronavirus on their business model. Some AMC locations offered 15-cent tickets to popular films like "Black Panther" to entice audiences, though seating is limited to 40% capacity and masks are required.
Even if these measures are helping a bit, the outlook for theaters is bleak. AMC proposed a deal to stave off bankruptcy. Cineworld's stock price fell 76%, and Cinemark's fell 68% in the first half of March and haven't recovered. Drive-in theaters, however, are doing unusually well, which may be another indicator that people aren't ready to return to indoor theaters just yet.
London design studio Layer is taking this unusual opportunity to market its new movie theater seats and maybe change the classic theater look in the process. The Sequel Seat design, which was in the works before COVID-19 even existed, is both a more modern take on the classic movie theater aesthetic and a way to incorporate some safety features.
"We believe that a product like Sequel Seat will play a key role in encouraging people to come back to the cinema" founder Benjamin Hubert said.
Take a look at the seats here.
Layer was developing Sequel Seat for over a year before COVID-19 came to the US.
When the virus hit, the studio continued work with a new approach, aimed at a recovering industry.
Each seat has LEDs that show the seat number and booking name.
The lights are intended to minimize the risk of people inadvertently breaking social distancing rules to try and find seats in the dark theater.
The upholstery includes antibacterial copper threads to eliminate areas that could trap and hold germs.
The fabric was created using 3D knitting, a method that turns 3D designs into instructions used by industrial knitting machines.
Layer also says that the fabric is stain resistant, plus resistant to water, soda, popcorn grease, and sweat.
Protective screens between seats separate guests and can be removed once those safety measures are no longer necessary.
Storage compartments in armrests keep bags and jackets out of the aisle.
Items in the storage units are sanitized by a built-in UV light inside the compartment.
The back of each seat also has an additional UV light to sterilize the seat behind it between showings.
Each armrest has a control panel where guests can control the recliner, temperature, and call for help.
The tray table was designed to be smooth to keep it easy to clean.
Seats can fully recline and support legs.
All electrification for the design is included in the seat itself, for cost efficiency and easier installment.
Layers says that the seats are a contemporary style, inspired by the pastels of Wes Anderson films.
Layer says this look allows the Sequel Seat to stand out from "the outdated black and burgundy palette of conventional seating."
The seats are modular, so they can be arranged in any configuration.
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