Episode 29 - Jay Beever, Embraer, and Designing Luxury Pt. 1
Images courtesy of Jay Beever / Embraer
Jay Beever, Vice President Embraer Design Operations, joins Robert Ross (online) to discuss the what luxury truly means, how 'crossover design' in commerce can result in a better product, and what the future of luxury might be in this first part of a two part episode.
After a brief introduction and some shared memories about previous guest, Eddie Sotto, Jay and Robert focus in on how to define luxury and how that manifests itself in both the automotive and aerospace industries (1:50), then Jay explains how Eddie was key to connecting Robert and Jay by way of creating the Skyacht One (5:30), crafting the meticulous 'narrative' to showcase the Skyranch One (9:16), and how exactly the Kyoto Airship directly impacted the design of the Skyranch (10:05).
After a short break, Jay explains the thought process behind his futuristic transportation concept called 'Pulse' and 'owning space' (16:21) and the ultimate question of 'Who should build the first flying car?' (21:05) Then, Robert turns the tables and asks Jay to discuss some cars that have been a particularly large inspiration (24:04). Finally, Jay explains how all of his design experience unexpectedly came full circle in designing an office desk chair--and how that might be a portent of things to come (28:52). But the two have more to discuss, so check out the second half of the conversation next week!
Hosted by: Robert Ross
Produced & Edited by: Chris Porter
Sound Engineering: Michael Kennedy
Theme Music By: Celleste and Eric Dick
*PLEASE NOTE: TRANSCRIPTS ARE GENERATED USING A COMBINATION OF SPEECH RECOGNITION SOFTWARE AND HUMAN TRANSCRIBERS, AND MAY CONTAIN ERRORS. PLEASE CHECK THE CORRESPONDING AUDIO BEFORE QUOTING IN PRINT.
Speaker 1: From CurtCo Media.
Robert Ross: Let's talk about designing luxury.
Jay Beever: In my opinion, being able to do things that you shouldn't be able to do. In an airplane at 35,000, 40, 45,000 and even 51, 000 feet, you are in an environment that wants to kill you. If we can protect from that and still experience that environment, that's luxury, that's the secret sauce.
Speaker 4: This is Cars That Matter.
Robert Ross: This is Robert Ross with another episode of Cars that Matter. Welcome to a very special guest, Jay Beever.
Jay Beever: Thank you, Robert.
Robert Ross: It's great to have you here. You and I have had so many conversations offline that it occurred to me that you're someone that our audience should meet. Jay's vice president of design operations at Embraer Executive Jets. You've all heard of that company. With that in mind, welcome to the show.
Jay Beever: It's always a pleasure. The first time we met, I reflect back on that moment fondly, when the Sky Yacht program was kicked off before it was Skyacht and you had asked Eddie, " Can we do the Ultimate Gift for the Robb Report in 2013?" And sure enough, we use that Lineage and jumped through a whole bunch of hoops and made some things happen. It's been fun ever since.
Robert Ross: Of course, Jay's referring to a previous guest we've had, Eddie Sotto who is an incredible experiential designer. Formerly one of the Disney Imagineers and creative director with them. And has gone on to develop any number of fantastic aviation interiors, yacht interiors, and some projects that really are out of fantasy land, which by the way, Jay, is what you folks at Embraer do, you create flying fantasies for people.
We're going to dive into something a little different today. We're going to talk about luxury at large and how it transfers or applies to automotive design. We're going to get back to the cars and your history with them, Jay. But first, let's talk about designing luxury. In the luxury car world, you've got luxury four doors, you've got luxury SUVs, you've got luxury sports cars, you've even got luxury hyper cars. Every one of them aspires to be the best they can be. Something like a Bugatti or a Pagani, I mean, those are remarkable works of art.
When it comes to luxury and private aviation, you guys have developed some pretty amazing concepts. Obviously the Skyacht One is the project that you and Eddie Sotto worked on together. It was published in Robb Report a number of years ago. But you've gone all over the map, everything from art deco, to the wild West, Manhattan, Kyoto, I mean all over the map. Talk about some of the themes and some of the technical challenges that you embraced and resolved. I'm thinking about, your Japanese- inspired interior were really remarkable. Things that had never been done in a private jet before.
Jay Beever: And that's really luxury. When you can do something that's new, that inspires, people appreciate that. And it has to perform. Something has to perform better than the others. And that's often a luxury price tag. You can't put a Bugatti paint scheme on a Corvette and call it a Bugatti. You need a thousand horsepower. You need the grill to be the way it is. So, it has a price tag for what it can do.
To answer your first question, what is luxury? It's different for everybody? Luxury could be good health, having a family, wealth, financial wealth, it could be having something rare that is not repeatable. So, where do you go with it? We had to look at that because selling private jets to people... These are business tools, clearly, most of them are. And sometimes they're also very personal escape tools. But as a business tool, which is a majority of the market, this is serving a clientele that are changing the world in commerce and finance and business and industries making things they need to be in other countries. And it's a time machine. So, that's a luxury. Time is a luxury.
Robert Ross: Mm- hmm ( affirmative). It is. It's a time machine. You're right.
Jay Beever: And we're dealing with a clientele that's global. Does everything have to look Western? Does everything have to look Versace and contemporary? I realized early on that we need to come up with a variety of themes and concepts, stuff that I can not get accomplished a hundred percent internally because we had a new Phenom to design. We had the Legacy interior to redesign, which was already brand new. The aircraft is 18 months from delivery and we're redesigning the whole interior because the finish was wrong and all these other problems.
Robert Ross: Just to enlighten our listeners, you've got a portfolio of eight private business jets. Is that right? That's a lot of airplanes.
Jay Beever: Seven, to be exact. And now we're down to four, the Phenom 100 through Praetor 600. The Legacy 650 and Legacy 600 were phased out because those are older platforms based off the commercial jet. And the Lineage was also phased out last year. And that was my queen of the sky, so to speak, because it was the one that allowed full customization, STC interiors, which is a supplemental type certificate that allows you to... It's a license to kill in design.
Robert Ross: You can put a pool table in the middle of your airplane, practically.
Jay Beever: Exactly. So, we had all that. And then when I joined in 2012, that's what I was looking at. But internally, we had a mission to create the DNA. What is the DNA of Embraer Executive Jets? So, whether they get into a Phenom or they get it up into a Lineage, the execution, the smell, all of it says, that's an Embraer. So, we're coming up with that whole plan internally. But at the same time, I watched this queen of the skies for Embraer called the Lineage, five cabin zones, almost 900 square feet of living space and nobody knows it can be purchased naked, without interior. So, here we have this STC- capable aircraft that should be getting tons of attention that nobody really knows about.
Eddie called me up and said, " Hey Jay. Remember our previous conversations about doing something special on airplanes?" I'm like, " Yes, sir." He goes, " Well, my good friend, Robert Ross, called me up and they're doing something with Robb Report called the Ultimate Gift for 2013, published in December. They would like it to be a Lineage. And I guess, Robb Report really likes you guys and they think a Lineage would be a cool opportunity. And they'd like to see what I can do with it. You want to do it?"
Robert Ross: You can't say no to Eddie, man. He's the best sales guy in the world and the most creative.
Jay Beever: Yeah, he's an experiential designer, but he's also an experiential salesman. It was such a fun time. What was nice was, internally while we could focus on the nuts and bolts and the details of making the Swiss watch called the new Executive Jet interior for Embraer, Eddie on the outside, could focus on the dream and building this concept, that we would keep in an incubator, quiet. Nobody really knew about it. But when it was presented, it was done, it was finished. We had renderings of it. We spent eight weeks, only two months sketching.
Eddie sketched out the theme of the ideas. And he said, " Jay, imagine walking in this airplane and it smells like pipe tobacco, and it looks like it should have come out of a sailing yacht from the thirties." " Oh, that's cool." He goes, " Yeah. You know George Whittell Jr?" And I said, " No, I don't know George Whittell Jr." He goes, " Yeah. You know the Thunderbird yacht in Lake Tahoe?" " Oh yeah. The Thunderbird, yeah." He goes, " Yeah, George Whittell Jr. He commissioned that boat to be built because of his DC- 2 all aluminum airplane. Loved that superstructure look and he wanted that wood mahogany Hacker craft from Michigan look. Let's put the two together." So, they got a stainless steel superstructure on a mahogany lower. And it's the most famous antique boat in the world.
Robert Ross: That is a remarkable boat. It blew my mind when I first saw that thing. I couldn't believe that somebody had actually imagined, much less built it.
Jay Beever: Imagine because they believed in the crossover opportunities of different industries. So, we took this modern marvel fly- by- wire, self- landing, six foot four quarterback that does a 4- 4- 40 called the Lineage. It lands in Aspen, lands in Teterboro, New Jersey, lands London City, and (inaudible) airports are only meant for small airplanes, is this big Lineage. So, what can we take and do to this? Let's reverse the equation. Let's inspire the airplane like that boat was inspired. So, that became our theme. And Eddie, he penned it. We got the rendering teams to model it all out. So, on the Embraer side, we took care of the modeling and rendering and got it to be what it was. And lo and behold, we had the Skyacht One.
And I pitched it to my colleagues at one of our events and said, " Guys, it's October. We need to go to print in a few weeks on this." " But that's not part of our strategic plan, Jay." I said, " No, but this is an idea that will help get tons of attention and earned media. We won't have to pay to publish it because people are going to want to know more about it because it's cool and it's different, it has a story. And Eddie helped us with it." A long debate ensued because we were a company embedded in the hierarchy of design and engineering and execution, there is a time to release things. We don't mess around. We need to be able to make it. I said, " Well, we can make this because everything was sketched and designed. Right over the monuments of the aircraft that we have today, it's all materials. There's no re- engineering of substrates and connections to the fuselage or any of that."
So, I talked them into it and they said, " Well, what are we going to charge for it? Because if somebody wants it, they're going to have to buy it." I called Eddie and said, " Eddie, we got the green light. We're going to put it out. We got full support and we should publish it. If somebody asks for $ 70 million." He goes, " 70 million, you can get a G650 for that. It's got to be more." I said, " Okay. How does 83 million sound to you?" He goes, " Great. Let's do it." So-
Robert Ross: There you go.
Jay Beever: We didn't know what the price was because it's a concept. But to help understand what it would take to execute the interior and look at the custom completion and luxury against that question, every detail... And it was going to be luxurious because it was unique. It was something not seen and truly not expected to come out of Embraer. And that paid its dividends.
Robert Ross: And of course, you didn't stop there. You conjured a wild West interior that reminded me of something off of Ben Cartwright's ranch. It was phenomenal.
Jay Beever: At the time, I remember, we were in some sales campaigns with some individuals in Texas. And Texas is big ranch country, right? J. R. Ewing from the Dallas days. I'd been to Brazil quite a bit and Brazil is big ranch country, too. All those things that kind of relate to Texas in a lot of ways. Eddie actually used this word, " What if J. R. Fracking needed an airplane?" I'm like, " Yes, J. R. Fracking meets Brazilian rancher and they create an evil loved child called the Skyranch One." Besides to being beautiful and saddlery work like what Eames might do on the chair and breakaway details and bison horn finishes, all this stuff that Eddie had come up with, I said, " Eddie, this needs to be really, really special. Not that it's not special, what you have so far, but I've got something we can put in here."
And what had happened is after the Skyacht, we'd had a marketing relationship with Boat International and they had put me in contact with Patrick Knowles. And he was a super yacht designer in Fort Lauderdale. And Patrick and I and the team started talking about a hypothetical customer called Our Good Old Japanese Friends. What would they like? " Well, what can we do, Patrick, on a boat that we can't do on an airplane? On a yacht, we can put windows anywhere. What can you do with windows on an airplane?" Oh, that's a good question. Because if you want to move things around, everything's certified, fuselage, stress loads, decompression issues. Windows, you don't touch. But the Japanese hypothetical customer, this one wanted to sit closer to the floor on a shoji screen, sushi- like table, backlit, like they would in their home or like they could do in the yacht.
If we do that in an airplane, now we're sitting in a bathtub because I can't see out the windows if I'm sitting on the floor.
Robert Ross: That's right.
Jay Beever: We sketched in the windows through the beltline, so to speak, or the waterline of the top of the ledge of the interior, anyway, and started developing images of it. And it turned into this incredible greenhouse feel in the middle of the aircraft. I'll call it, really, the future of luxury. Luxury is, in my opinion, being able to do things that you shouldn't be able to do. In an airplane at 35,000, 40, 45,000 and even 51, 000 feet, you are in an environment that wants to kill you. If we can protect from that and still experience that environment, that's luxury, that's the secret sauce.
So, we took this design. I showed it to my then boss, CEO, Marco Tulio. And Marco said, " Jay, this is beautiful. Someone's going to want to buy this." I'm like, " Yes." He goes, " We have to be able to make these windows because these are the size of emergency exits as windows." He goes, " Well, tell you what? Go to Brazil, work with the engineers and find out if there's a way that we can do this and where they can be placed. And just see if there's a plan that we can say is authentic. If somebody wants it, we can actually make it for them because we want to be able to make people want." " Great, Marc. I'll do that."
We went down there. And lo and behold, we had engineering drawings related to Coast Guard ERJ, so E145 search and rescue coast guard airplanes. And in those airplanes, you need an observer window. And it's a portrait- style look up and down observer window. I'm like, " Bingo, that's it. Can I put that on a Lineage?" " Maybe. Let us look at it." They had our drawings, they had the design and they came back two weeks later, email, proof, everything that I needed and said, " We can do it. Just stay forward of the wing spar." And the wing spar is the connected muscle, it's called, of all that billet, alloy, aluminum, and titanium, going through the middle of the airplane connecting the two wings together. So, if you stay forward of that position, the fuselage can handle the loads of those windows, being the way you have it on the Kyoto Airship. And that's where we had them anyway, it was forward of the wing. So, we were safe. We published it. That literally was the most viewed online digital media for architectural digest one year.
Robert Ross: It's not surprising. It's an amazing interior. And I'd encourage any of the listeners to look it up online. It's quite something. What did you call that particular aircraft?
Jay Beever: We call it the Kyoto Airship because Kyoto, the millennium city, the thousand- year city, the history and the romance and everything about it. Airships have the blimped connotation and all of that. But I think airships also, besides some of the negative things that happened in the past, for me, was luxury. They're romantic. It was a reason to dress up and go someplace. And it's like the Pan Am Clippers, top hats were worn when you got in and dresses and it meant something to fly. And so, those two things together, metaphorically, so to speak, was why we went with the Airship route, so the Kyoto Airship.
And the reason I told that story was to go back to the Skyranch. And I said, " Eddie, not that your airplane isn't wonderful already with the design the way it is, but we need a big window. We need a realm of intimidation." As we talk about, I said, " Okay, what I'd like to do with the Lineage, because it's a custom airplane, let's move the galley." So, the galley's a place where you get all your food and the refrigerator and the cooking ware and all that stuff. In a normal Lineage, five cabins on aircraft, you walk into the interior, you're greeted to a vestibule area with the sofa and the divan. The next room adjacent to that, through the bulkhead, is the galley. And that's where the flight attendants and pilots and people can self- serve there. And then you walk into the dining room. And then after the dining room is a lavatory. Then after the lavatory is three more cabin zones.
I said, " I want to flip things around a little bit, because if this is J. R. Fracking's business jet, done the most beautiful way, let's make his office up front. So, let's move the galley back one more position. Put the office just after the entry." So, nobody gets to see the living space beyond the galley in the back. You only get to visit upfront. But that's pretty cool because up front and you've got this giant vertical window sitting between the two seats that you're completely distracted by. And you're focused on the Grand Canyon flying over or intimidated by this window that you feel might not let you live. And J. R. Fracking signs the deal. And you didn't even realize it.
Robert Ross: What a great narrative. I love it.
Jay Beever: So all of that went into that concept. It was a combination of top- down technology of what we had in the sandbox of engineering within the company, for real practical purposes of saving lives over the ocean or some other area, built into a concept that was an aesthetic theme with experiential purpose like Eddie does so well, to again, gain attention. Come look at that Lineage. Windows are the future of luxury in aerospace. And we see that in a lot of concepts now. I don't want to say we started it because there's maybe many that have had concepts of big windows in the past. But I can say that we definitely contributed to this revolution of the future of luxury in aerospace, is being able to immerse yourself in an environment that doesn't want you there. And you're able to enjoy it. We're going to take a short break, Jay, but we'll be right back.
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Robert Ross: We're back with Jay Beever, vice president, design operations with Embraer Executive Jets. Jay, let me ask you. You had shared something called the Pulse Concept. It blew my mind. That's all I can say. Why don't you tell us about it?
Jay Beever: I get to feel like Harley Earl and the Buick Y- Job.
Robert Ross: That was the first show car.
Jay Beever: Yeah. And look at the design for '38. It looked like a fifties car, that's because everybody in the fifties finally figured out how to make their cars look like Harley Earl's Buick. If you look at the thirties automobiles, you're looking at Packards and Duesenbergs and Studebakers, and these cars had running boards and continental packages on the side with spare tires and wire wheels showing through the clampdown design. And then you have the Buick Y- Job, it was decades ahead of its time. And it changed the perception of what an automobile should look like.
So, in aerospace, we make incredible machines, jets. We make jets. And they serve a purpose. But maybe the aerospace industry should change. Maybe we can be 20, 30, 50 years ahead of our time and dream up the experience that Embraer would like its customers to have in the future. Assuming a 50- year roadmap of top- down technology based off of this Bandeirante of 2019. And I say Bandeirante because that was the name of the aircraft, the turboprop airplane, the first airplane from Embraer in 1969. We celebrate that quite a bit. And this is our 50th- year anniversary in 2019.
The thought was, why don't we celebrate our 50- year anniversary by celebrating our future 50 years? We need to look back. We need to learn about the stories and the sacrifices that we get to ride on the shoulders of today. I'm at Embraer because they did so good in the past. And I appreciate that. And what if 2019s vertical takeoff and landing eVTOL that we see so much about today for air taxi transport and the dreams of city commutes in the sky, over the freeways and congestion, what if we took that technology and said, we're going to build off of that for the next 50 years like we did 50 years ago, what could we have? And that's what led us to the Pulse, the Embraer Pulse.
Little did I realize that that concept has actually gained even more traction because COVID- 19 kicked in and now everybody's concerned about their own personal spaces. And the shared economy, renting space, whether it's renting a home, Airbnb, Vrbo, Uber, renting a car or renting space in a car by having someone drive you but two minutes ago, you don't know who was just in that car so how do you know it's clean? So, these industries have been turned upside down. And that was all about the shared economy, easy access to these machines that we cannot have a whole ownership of.
And the future is going to be commoditized. No one will own their own airplane. It's always going to be chartered or rented because everybody deserves to be in one. And that's kind of where the industry was moving. And I never really liked that, to be honest, because I thought that's not special. If your space is also going to be somebody else's space... Guess what? I'm not going to put the best materials inside of that space.
Robert Ross: That's why some people bring their own sheets and pillows to the hotel, no matter how nice it is.
Jay Beever: Absolutely. There's a level of insecurity about that that's not comfortable, that's not luxurious. So, what if the future of transportation truly is A to B anywhere like Napa Valley to San Onofre Beach? There's no airport in San Onofre, yet we're going to fly and drive. But we're going to do it, because 50 years from now, we're going to own personal spaces like a pod. We have our personal space. And the thing that is shared or rented would be the wings or the wheels. So what if I could take my clean space, my personal space, my protected space, my cherished space and move it to the beach, move it to the Monaco F1 races? Instead of being a yacht backed up to the race, I'm actually on a land yacht because when I landed, my living space was transported onto an automotive coach. And the coach drove me up to the side of the race.
Oh, that's A to B. That's what you're talking about. So, seamless travel through different means, but you never left the comfort of your environment. What if that's our future? And if we build that dream, will others want to be a part of it? Will others build concepts similar to it? Will other Buick Y- Jobs be created? Absolutely. But that's a revolution. That's building a vision that others think is worthy of saying they want to do it too. And that's what the Pulse was all about. Can we get away with autonomous flight? No need for a cockpit? Because that's 50 years from now. We're doing autonomous flight as we speak today, so it's truly feasible. Do I know how the pod disconnects from the airplane into the coach? Nope. Not at all. That's for 30 years from now when we start developing.
Robert Ross: But it's good to know. Aerospace engineers going to get to space stations to dock with each other, so I imagine it's possible.
Jay Beever: It's absolutely possible. And the fun thing was, we got to design something with wheels again. So, I got to throw back my passions for car design and we designed out this coach. And the coach was really another piece of dream and that's who should build the first flying car, a car company, or an airplane company? What do you think, Robert?
Robert Ross: Other than maybe the little Honda jet, I think I'd probably prefer that an aircraft manufacturer produce that flying car for me.
Jay Beever: That's exactly what somebody else said that show the appreciation for the severe engineering requirements are to be in the air.
Robert Ross: I used to have an aircraft client, an OEM. And the president of the company took me aside once after a couple of cocktails and he said, " You know what our clients care about? They want an aircraft that won't kill them."
Jay Beever: That's right. Safety, number one.
Robert Ross: It's all about safety.
Jay Beever: We want it over- engineered. And redundancy is King. You won't hear an aerospace engineer or manufacturer not talk about redundancy, ten to the minus seventh and five ways to do one thing because if two fail, I've got three more to back up on. And that's why we have such a great record worldwide of air travel over the decades. Anecdotally, I had a really neat experience where I was able to ask that question in the confines of our design studio here in Melbourne, Florida, on the Space Coast. A gentleman named Edsel Ford II came in because he owns Pentastar Air, up in Michigan. And Pentastar Air used to be the flight department for Chrysler. Ford family member, board member, bought Chrysler's flight department, turned it into Pentastar Air and they service and cater to private jets by the hundreds.
Well, he was down here in Florida. And here I was, ex- Ford guy for 15 years. Never had the chance to meet Mr. Ford. And here he is coming into Embraer's facility to take a tour. Oh my goodness. I had a chance to spend four hours with him. We had lunch. We came into the design studio. We talked about car design and the Mustang in the 60, 64, 65, when he was young-
Robert Ross: Isn't that great.
Jay Beever: And all kinds of neat stuff. I mentioned some of the concept cars and the GR- 1 and Ford Bronco of '05 and the Ford Mustang. And it was a dream come true because I still have such fond memories of Florida. And here I am, a Ford family member, connected to the aerospace industry. And now, I'm in the aerospace industry with Embraer, speaking about things I never would have ever thought. And I asked him that question, being he's a car guy, obviously, and aerospace man, " Who should build the flying car?" And he said, " An airplane company."
But now we have a car company like Tesla by Elon, with SpaceX, landing rockets. Landing rockets!
Robert Ross: They're near you too. Are they out there?
Jay Beever: Yep, they're right here. They're our neighbors. And it's an exciting time to be here in the spaceport planet earth called the Kennedy Space Center. And that's the thing, those are perceptions also, but reality of aerospace and what its needs are. But automotive is catching up, in the sense that anything's possible. That's what the Pulse was going to be about, anything is possible. Why can't we make a car? There's nothing saying that Embraer, 20 years, 10 years from now, doesn't decide to make autonomous cars. We have the facilities. We have the infrastructure. Why not? It begs those questions. Yeah.
Robert Ross: It's an engaging concept that I would encourage any of our listeners to watch the animated video. How would they find that, Jay?
Jay Beever: It's on YouTube. You can type in Embraer Pulse. Embraer is spelled E- M- B as in boy, R- A- E- R, Embraer, which is a Portuguese acronym for the Enterprise of Brazilian Aerospace. And you'll find it pretty quickly.
Robert Ross: That's the future. Talking about the past, we're on a Zoom call right now, and I'm looking behind you, Jay and I see a row of model cars that are all very alluring. I think I see a '63 Vette and maybe a lowered Ford Fairlane, the Porsche, there's a first series Corvette. I see a bunch of stuff, but it's hard to make out what they are. You're obviously a car guy through and through. And since this show is about cars that matter, let's kind of take a drive down that lane for a moment. What kind of cars really get you going?
Jay Beever: Muscle cars, of course. '68 Camaro, for me, was the car I always wanted. I did end up having one one time and it was such a joy. That Studebaker's... But you know what's interesting is my two favorite cars as a child was a '57 Chevy and the second was a Greyhound Scenicruiser.
Robert Ross: Oh yeah.
Jay Beever: Good old Raymond Loewy, Scenicruiser Greyhound. No idea who Raymond was then as a kid. But it had twin axles in the back, dual tires. And you can see all that detail. And this little metal vista cruiser- looking bus called the Greyhound. And I think it was those proportions and shapes... It's like a backward 747. It's a bubble top.
Robert Ross: Back then, there was something about that streamline design era, where a toaster could be as exciting as a race car in the way it looked. And there was all of a sudden this confluence of design aesthetics that just touched everything in our lives, from appliances to freight trains, to ships, to imaginary flying saucers.
Jay Beever: And Raymond started it all. He's a godfather of streamlined design and all these things that you just mentioned that we appreciate to this day. He was truly the crossover guy. He did all. Graphic d... Shell oil company's logo, Coca- Cola, Apollo rocket interiors, furniture.
Robert Ross: Right.
Jay Beever: This is a guy who spent 18 years, again, designing Studebakers, and now the Greyhound bus and the streamlined locomotives and the fans and irons and consumer products, everything you talked about. Crossover design, he proved it. Little did I realize that favorite little bus toy of mine was designed by the very guy that I look back on, and probably many and most do, of wanting to emulate that experience or repeat it in some way and have the joy of crossing into something new to keep yourself fresh. We're meant to live forever creating new ideas and experiencing new things. The capacity of the human brain is unending. Why be stuck in one venue? And that's really what he did. I'm looking at the website right now. I just typed in Raymond Loewy designs and everything he worked on. You know what's interesting is I'll go to my third favorite vehicle, which is kind of weird and obscure, but an old Vista Cruiser station wagon with the see- through roof out front. Isn't that not a mini Scenicruiser bus?
Robert Ross: It sure is. Yeah, that was a great design. Those were rare and I can't remember the years. That was '68 through '73 or something like that?
Jay Beever: Yep. I'll take the 442 version with rally wheels. No woody. I don't want the woody look. But I'm going to back that thing up to Doheny State Beach there in Dana point, California, with a couple of bundles of wood and light a beach bonfire and feel like a beach boy. And I think what I realize is at a young age, it was those experiences that were really intriguing more than just a car design, but what I can do with it. That bus did something. It treated people to a view like these big windows in our airplanes, to an environment that you shouldn't be really seeing in that perspective, like the bubble top trains in Europe.
Robert Ross: hat's right. You're not supposed to be that high up.
Jay Beever: And being a kid in the backseat of a Vista Cruiser, looking out through the windshield at the stars... Well, your windshield, which was aimed toward the roof, it's amazing. It creates experiences. It's not just a commodity of A to B. And you discover that when you cross over into different industries. And that's why, with our design operations team here at Embraer, one of the engineers recently commented to one of my managers, " It doesn't make sense and we're just continually amazed that Embraer has given such freedom. And that we see so much freedom of doing things different out of the design team. And it's accepted."
And so, for the engineers who spent decades doing exactly as they're told in a fantastic way, because of the products that we have today, are now seeing a cultural change because the design acceptance is there. And they're seeing the fruits and the benefits of doing things differently and the appreciation from customers. Now they're getting excited. So, we're going to have thousands of engineers here, really excited to do things out of the box. So, everybody needs to keep their eyes out on this company, I will tell you that.
Robert Ross: We're going to take a quick break. We'll be right back.
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Robert Ross: We're back with Jay Beever.
Jay Beever: Can we talk about that office chair real quick?
Robert Ross: Yes, absolutely. I would love to segue into that because you showed me some pictures of a chair that looked remarkable and unlike any of the typical chairs that we've been sitting in for the last 20, 30, 40, 50 years.
Jay Beever: Well, the Pulse Concept did something else, like that Buick Y- Job, we used it to tease actual developments that we're working on. So, when you see a concept car, it's not only a fresh look and in a public pulse survey, let's say of, acceptance or polarizing opinions, but often car companies will also filter in product development that's not known about yet into the vehicle, innovations that are truly part of a roadmap, but they won't say it. And later when it comes out, it adds to the essence of it truly being inspired from the show car, but in reality, the show car was inspired by these hidden behind the scenes, Jurassic Park, egg cracking scientists, putting innovation together that we want to tease to the market so that when we do reveal the actual vehicle, they see the promise, they see the commitment that they're actually going to make this.
I won't say which, but there are some things in the Pulse aircraft interior and functionality that are teasers to what we'll do in the future. We have some patents on it. We've got some projects in process. So, in that spirit, what about furniture. I said earlier, aircraft interiors are very much environmental design. We're designing an environment to live in, to serve you. This butler with wings, coming and going when you need him, but when you don't, he's not there because you don't want to be distracted by technology and different buttons and switches because it should know when I'm looking at it, it should know when I'm reaching for and things like that.
So, the chair, the seat inside that, looks incredible. Chase, our designer, who's designing out the interior. I said, " Chase, I think we're going to need to make an office chair out of that." And he said, " What are you talking about?" He was pretty fresh within the company and coming out of art center in California and didn't understand completely how crazy we could be here. And lo and behold, I was able to work with Chase and make that chair from the Pulse into an office chair. Because it was not only a teaser for aerospace interiors, but can we flip the paradigm? Which is why we called it the Paradigma. And Paradigma is paradigm with an A on the end. And that's phonetically pronounced. It's a Portuguese word for paradigm, paradigma.
Robert Ross: Oh, okay. Okay.
Jay Beever: The Paradigma office chair is switching a paradigm. The paradigm is, rather than aircraft interiors be inspired by furniture and great furniture designs, why not the aircraft of the future inspire the office chair you can have today? Let's take from 50 years, this seat from a Pulse concept, that's going to change aerospace and the way we view mobility and I can have that in my office. Oh, and by the way, it's going to function like a seat found inside of a private jet. And those who have private jets and have flown in them, not like commercial, know that you reach down or you reach forward and pull a lever and you can slide your seat around. You can move backwards, rotate, go left and right, forward, recline, leg rest. It's the ultimate chair. Well, this office chair is not going to be sitting on a post because the seat inside the Pulse concept is side mounted. It's floating over the floor. So, this needs to be articulated or hanging over the base, not sitting straight off the base. Oh, we've got leverage issues.
How can we balance that? And how can we get friction and leverage not to destroy the bearings and the movement? It can't be done. Yeah, I can. And we went and built a prototype. And even just this last week, we've shown potential partners the prototype. It functions, it holds our weight, it slides, retracts and swivels. It rotates around just like you're rotating around inside of a private jet. You're not sitting on a pedestal with five arms and a bunch of casters on the bottom like some of these other seats that some will pay $10, 000 for, but all they do is take a seat out of a vehicle and slap it on top of a pole and put it behind a desk. No, no, no, no. This is furniture design. It's bent plywood, look like an Eames chair from the fifties, but it's not. It's from an airplane and the surfaces are floating.
It has the Ipanema sew style from our Bossa Nova treatment of our Phenoms and Praetors. It reeks of the soul of executive jet detailing the Bossa Nova story. And it comes from an aircraft of the future and it moves like it's inside of a private jet. And that's where I suddenly start feeling like when Raymond Loewy was able to go and design things in different industries, as a car guy, designed the office of the future. As an airplane guy, I'm going to design the office chair of the future. We're talking to yacht companies and help design their interiors. Because design operations now for Embraer, because of our success, I've been able to convince the company to allow us to be revenue generating so I can take on clients and we can do stuff for other industries. Maybe there's a boat company that wants aircraft- like craftsmanship- execution style on a yacht or on a speed boat. That's where we're going.
Robert Ross: It sounds like you've got a lot of latitude at the company to really explore new ideas that are somewhat out of the orbit of just aviation. And that obviously suggests a CEO or a management group that really does have a vision.
Jay Beever: Robert, that's true. And I've said a lot about Brazil and its passions for design, but my current boss, Michael Amalfitano, CEO of Embraer Executive Jets, has really been a cheerleader and a supporter of this. He's a businessman. He's been involved in aerospace finance and aircraft finance and business for decades. And he sees the value that design can provide. And he's shamelessly encouraging me to do stuff that I've never imagined having... I mean, I have a boss who literally gets it when I go to explain something. And that whole earlier story about design needs to be sold, I'm getting lazy, I don't have to sell anymore.
Robert Ross: Isn't that a luxury? Boy, maybe that's the ultimate luxury, is for a designer not to have to sell his own design.
Jay Beever: Freedom to explore. You're right, that is the luxury.
Robert Ross: Jay Beever and I had so much more to discuss. So, we're going to continue our deep dive into Jay's background and his thoughts on the future of luxury next time on Cars That Matter where we continue to talk about the passions that drive us and the passions we drive.
This episode of Cars That Matter was hosted by Robert Ross, produced by Chris Porter, edited by Chris Porter, sound engineering by Michael Kennedy, theme song by Celeste and Eric Dick, additional music and sound by Chris Porter. Please like, subscribe and share this podcast. I'm Robert Ross and thanks for listening.
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