NO MORE LUGGAGE RAGE
IT WAS AS A TRAVELLER, NOT AS A DESIGNER, THAT MARC NEWSON WAS INSPIRED TO MAKE THE WORLD OF SUITCASES A BETTER PLACE.
Like most of us, Australian design powerhouse Marc Newson has had bad experiences with luggage while travelling around the world: not enough space to fit everything you need, zip breaking, bag too heavy. But unlike most of us, he is in the position to do something about it. So the London-based Newson has teamed up with arguably the original luggage company, Louis Vuitton, to create an entirely new range of onboard “rolling trunks” for the French luxury house.
“I think the world of luggage is a slightly woeful place,” Newson says. “Personally, there are many thing that irritate me about using products like these and I can safely say that I’ve probably spent 20 years designing these things in my head – aeons before I had the opportunity of doing so for Louis Vuitton. Like many people I travel a lot and I feel that I am in many way kind of uniquely placed to be able to [undertake the job] as a consumer even more than a designer.”
Newson spent 18 months developing the range, coming up with a series of innovations that resulted in three new patent applications by Louis Vuitton. The first is putting the extendable handle (known as a cane) on the outside of the bag around the frame instead of burying it inside. This means there is 15 per cent more space inside and the handle becomes a structural element of the bag.
“Putting it on the outside simply made much more sense,” Newson says. “When you open the bag and you start packing you are presented with a completely flat surface – or rather two completely flat surfaces, one on each side. From a psychological perspective, it’s just so nice to have this big, flat, clean area where you can put anything. You don’t need to fit small objects into cavities that you know aren’t necessarily meant to be there.”
The second innovation is around the zipper of the case. Most cases have two zipper-tags but Newson has ditched that and just stuck to one that goes around the whole bag. His reasoning is that having two zipper-tags means that people don’t open them all the way, and this often leads to tearing. “With one zip pull, you reduce breakage potential by 50 per cent, which is not inconsiderable,” he says.
Newson – who has designed everything from furniture to Apple watches to aircraft interiors – has also come up with innovative material for the case of the luggage, using titanium. This makes them ultra-light, with the smaller carry-on bag (50cm) weighing just 2.7kg and the larger one (55cm) 3kg. The cases come in Louis Vuitton’s famous monogram canvases and leather in a variety of colours. A larger suitcase (at 70cm and to be checked in) will be released at a later date.
Australian designer Marc Newson with his bags for Louis Vuitton