Norway’s Alu Design is set to make its Hollywood debut in the latest Transformers blockbuster, with the news that its MH OCH 300 operator chair has secured a role in Paramount Pictures’ Transformers: Age of Extinction. The seat, created for Aker Solutions in 2012, will now be seen “at the heart” of the film’s set design, starring alongside actors such as Mark Wahlberg, Kesley Grammer and Stanley Tucci.
It’s a bewildering development for Kristiansand-based Alu Design, a market leader in the design and manufacture of advanced pilot chairs and deck rails. The firm created the chair to offer new ergonomic and user-friendly standards for operators working in the restricted space of Drillers Cabins on offshore rigs… not for science fiction action films.
However, as Rosemary Brandenburg, Set Decorator of the Paramount Pictures film, explains, its appeal seems universal: “When we first saw the chair online while searching for furniture and accessories it took our breath away.
“Its sleek, ultra-modern design profile complimented and ultimately enhanced one of our more unusual sets. Luckily, Alu Design was equally as enthusiastic about being part of our project, giving us this unique opportunity to work together.”
Ian Bryce, Transformers Producer, notes that Brandenburg wasn’t alone in her admiration, adding: “(the Director) Michael Bay, and everyone on the cast and crew, were impressed with the chair's style and comfort. Once again, Rosemary put together a stunning set, with the MH OCH 300 at the heart of her design.”
The MCH OCH 300 is a state-of-the-art moulded aluminium chair offering operators outstanding comfort and intuitive access to controls. It features fully-integrated instrumentation, such as touch screen technology and low force joystick control, and, thanks to its modular construction and moulded parts, is simple to install and maintain.
“It was designed with the end user and drilling environment front-of-mind,” says Alu Design CEO Einar Ulrichsen. “We wanted to create an optimum working environment for the operator, addressing existing issues plaguing out-dated chairs, such as their lack of comfort, stability and strength. Of course we also take pride in the appearance of our products, but we didn’t expect to attract this kind of audience!”
Frank Robertsen, Alu’s Marketing Director, explains that the firm got its first call from Paramount on 1 April last year: “Needless to say, we thought it was a joke. But after that things moved very quickly. They flew two of the chairs from Kristiansand to the US for the shoot and two months later they were delivered back to the firm’s HQ, with glowing feedback. It’s something we’re obviously thrilled with, but at the end of the day it’s the seat itself we’re most proud of.”
Alu Design began trading in 2008 and has since released a series of acclaimed products for the maritime and energy industries. The MH OCH 300 is not the first time Alu Design and Aker Solution have collaborated on a project, with the two previously working together to develop an aluminium crane cabin chair in 2010. Aker is now the owner of the MH OCH 300 concept, which can be easily adapted for different drilling environments. Or, it appears, for giant transformable robots…