The good news is that the hunt for the ultimate travel bag is over. The bad news is that it will probably cost you thousands of dollars.
Louis Vuitton is releasing a tantalizing update to its roller luggage line, designed by Marc Newson, who, when he’s not serving as designer of special projects at Apple, continues presenting new work out of his personal studio, like fountain pens and kitchen appliances.
Newson began working with Louis Vuitton a few years ago on a backpack. When the luxury brand approached him again about a roller bag, he "jumped at the chance—for two reasons," Newson writes via email. "1. The challenge of creating a piece of luxury luggage for a brand that is synonymous with luggage—it is their DNA and respect for that is huge. 2. I travel every single week of the year, and I consider that I am a total expert on knowing what to hope for in a piece of luggage. I really knew from the outset [what] I wanted to solve in this project."
As originally reported in Wallpaper, the bag features a number of practicalities and creature comforts. Its inner core is a molded, shock-proof frame that’s built from a newly formulated polypropylene composite, wrapped in a canvas coating that’s 50% thinner than that on the previous version of the roller bag. The result is a slim, lightweight bag—the smallest of which weighs just six pounds. But its internal cavity is 13% larger than similar bags. That’s thanks to a head-slappingly simple idea: to mount the anodized aluminum telescoping handle as an exoskeleton protecting the corners of the bag, rather than cramming those components inside the bag with your shoes and underwear.
"I have no idea why it was never been done before," writes Newson. "It seemed an obvious way to me of maximizing the space inside."
As a final detail, the bag features a single zipper—rather than the standard, oft-confusing two—the clasp of which actually hooks directly into an integrated luggage lock. So with a single motion, you can zip and secure your luggage. The integrated lock is a trick lifted from a bag Newson designed in 2005.
Newson spent about 18 months on formal development. But like his good friend Jony Ive, Newson admits to constantly working out design problems in his head, and so many of these ideas weren’t developed on a deadline; he’d actually casually considered the problem of luggage for decades.
"It’s a personal thing. I travel all the time, and a lot of my work is inspired by a sense of anger at stuff out there, like luggage that is really badly designed," he writes. "I am always solving design puzzles in my head. It’s an occupational hazard."
The new bags will be available at an undisclosed date for an undisclosed price.
[All Photos: Louis Vuitton via Wallpaper]
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Newson was a senior vice president of design at Apple, when he in fact designs "special projects."