|Industrial / Product Design, Fashion, Accessories
Joint project with Sir David Chipperfield
For acclaimed architect Sir David Chipperfield, carry-on luggage is very personal matter: having spent most of his life travelling between his offices in Berlin, London, Milan and Shanghai it has become an indispensable and inextricable part of his daily life, so perhaps it was unavoidable that he would eventually design one. To do so, he teamed up with Frankfurt-based luxury leather accessories brand Tsatsas whose design philosophy of timeless elegance and exquisite craftsmanship fit right in with the architect’s modern, minimal designs. The result of this collaboration, SUIT-CASE, is an impeccable finished, hand-luggage-sized suitcase that marries functionality and longevity with elegance and sophistication whilst embodying a desire for a more mindful approach to travel.
Esther Schulze-Tsatsas and Dimitrios Tsatsas, the husband-and-wife duo behind the high-end bag label, are no strangers to high profile collaborations, having teamed up with the likes of British furniture manufacturer Vitsoe and Dieter Rams, one of the most influential industrial designers of the last few decades. With Chipperfield, the idea for a joint project arose in 2017 when his managing director paid a visit to Esther and Dimitrios Tsatsas’ studio in Frankfurt/Main where he was taken by the quality of their work in terms of design, materials and craftsmanship, as well as their shared interest in sustainability and the chemistry between them. “Each of our designs, be it a handbag, backpack or clutch is a miniature piece of architecture,” is how Esther Tsatsas describes their work which “is why we hit it off with David Chipperfield immediately – we share his great love for detail, a high standard of quality, and the same aesthetic values.” Tsatsas’ experience in designing a suitcase for Wallpaper* Handmade in 2013 was another selling point.
Unlike most people, for whom the choice of a suitcase is an afterthought, Chipperfield’s packing routine goes the other way around, comparing it to the way the Japanese arrange flowers, most notably in the fact that they start with the vase, not the flowers. “If I know which suitcase I am using, then I know how to pack”, he explains. Combined with his decades-long experience in air travel, the project was an opportunity to design a bag that suits his lifestyle, namely a piece of hand-luggage with enough space for a short trip with a suit. “As a rule, I never check in luggage”, he explains”, so the question that he and Tsatsas had to contend with was: “Can I fit everything that I need for a four- or five-day trip, which is typically how long I travel for, into one bag?” After three years of collaborations, including numerous meetings in Chipperfield's Berlin office, it’s safe to say that Chipperfield’s question has been resolutely answered.
The minimalist, clear silhouette conceals an interior perfectly organized for a short trip. Two sections, one for storing garments worn daily and a pair of shoes, the other for a suit that can be hung or affixed on a bespoke brass coat hanger, are complemented by a spacious pocket integrated in the front of the case that provides easy access for travel documents also providing enough room for a laptop and toiletries bag.
Handcrafted in the same leather workshop in Offenbach/Main where Tsatsas has been producing all their models since 2012, the suitcase’s exterior is made of wood fibre, a completely biodegradable, emission-free material, covered with black or dark brown calfskin leather from an environmentally friendly German tannery, with metal fittings from recycled brass, while the interior is lined with soft lamb Napa leather combined with natural canvas.
Originally scheduled to be launched in April 2020 during the Salone del Mobile in Milan, the made-on-demand SUIT-CASE was finally unveiled a few days ago and is available to order from the brand’s website. Although travelling due to the Covid pandemic is presently not a realistic option, we can’t wait to get our hands on it and dream of journeys to come.