As Qantas’s creative director of design, Marc Newson knows a thing or two about travelling. His latest adventure? Designing luggage for Louis Vuitton.
How do you approach a brief like this and what is your design process?
The brief for the project was fairly open. It was to design, or redesign, luggage in a way that was meaningful to the contemporary traveller. Functionality was all-important and that involves weight, robustness, volume, the actual usable capacity of the internal dimensions and how passengers interact with the product. Personally, there are many things 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 – long before I had the opportunity of doing so for Louis Vuitton.
You’ve designed airplanes, spaceplanes, jet interiors, cars, boats, bikes and even a jet pack. How is your approach to designing a piece of luggage different?
This was a very technically driven project – as technically driven by me as it was by Louis Vuitton. I really felt that the life and future of this product would be dictated by its technical performance.
With airplane interiors, every gram counts. The rolling trunk weighs just 2.7 kilos for the mini and three kilos for the cabin size. How did you achieve such lightness?
It was a bit like working in a Formula One set-up: every tooth on the zip was weighed. The zip is aluminium and is specially made so it’s lightweight. Every gram was considered. More than 50 per cent of my drive and inspiration was all the travelling I do; I don’t want to carry excess weight.
Space is everything when it comes to packing. How did you optimise it internally?
Most rolling bags have two protrusions running down the centre and elements like that waste volume. We moved the structure to the outside of the bag, where it’s needed, freeing up space on the inside. In many ways, I approached this product from the inside out. I was thinking about packing first and then working outward from there.
How do you travel?
I’m obsessive about packing everything into a bag of a certain size – which is why it was important to design the perfect piece of luggage for others like me.
What is real luxury for you?
I love the idea of designing a product that’s made as well as it possibly can be, that will last for as long as it possibly can last. We have left no stone unturned in terms of the details. For me, in many ways, that’s about as luxurious as something can get. It’s only about the essentials.