Cabin style

Click to enlarge
Mark Newson.

Mark Newson.

1 of 4
Mark Newson with some of his pieces for Louis Vuitton.

Mark Newson with some of his pieces for Louis Vuitton.

2 of 4
Louis Vuitton luggage by Mark Newson in Citron.

Louis Vuitton luggage by Mark Newson in Citron.

3 of 4
The structure includes titanium and borrows manufacturing techniques from the aeronautics industry.

The structure includes titanium and borrows manufacturing techniques from the aeronautics industry.

4 of 4

Urbis: What is it about the luggage project that convinced you to join forces with Louis Vuitton? 

Marc Newson (MN): I suppose what tempted me was the challenge of designing a great piece – and, consequently, a range – but primarily a great piece of luggage. Like so many people, I travel a lot, and I feel that I am in many ways uniquely placed to be able to do that as a consumer – even more than as a designer, actually. 

Urbis: How do you approach a brief like this and what is your design process? 

Mark Newson with some of his pieces for Louis Vuitton.

MN: The brief for the project was fairly open: it was to design, or redesign, primarily carry-on luggage in a way that was meaningful to the contemporary traveller. It wasn’t meant to speak only to Louis Vuitton clients and fans: it is intended to be an object or a series of objects that may appeal to people who don’t necessarily have any previous sort of connection to the brand; those who will be attracted to the range not only because of how it looks, but how the pieces function. Functionality was all-important, and that involves considering weight, robustness, volume, the actual usable capacity of the internal dimensions and how consumers interact with the product.  

Urbis: What were the challenges behind the creative process? 

MN: The challenges are very much the same, no matter the product. It’s really about coming to some degree of commonality between what you envisage the object is going to look like and what’s really achievable given all of the parameters you’re working with. The parameters aren’t just physical; they’re also cultural. But slowly, over time, you gradually refine those two sets of criteria to the point where they hopefully merge and you end up with a product that does all of the things that you hoped and imagined it was going to do. That process can take years. 

Urbis: Were there any limitations to the design? 

Louis Vuitton luggage by Mark Newson in Citron.

MN: In many ways design is about limitation; design is about compromise. But rather than looking at those two words as being negative, I always try to think of them as positive. For me, compromise often leads to innovation; it forces you to look for solutions where you wouldn’t look otherwise. If you could just do anything that you wanted to do, you wouldn’t end up where you do. To a large extent design is also about failure. Dealing with failure means having a contingency plan, and there’s always the possibility that the contingency will actually exceed the first idea. 

Urbis: How does this luggage relate to your vision of travelling? 

MN: It relates to my vision of travelling in a very pragmatic way. I want something that works really well. And for it to work really well it needs to provide me with a variety of seamless possibilities. It needs to be lightweight; it needs to offer me the best possible sort of accommodation for all of the things that I’m trying to transport. 

Urbis: What is real luxury for you? 

MN: That’s is a very tough thing to define. For me, real luxury has to do with quality and longevity. I love the idea of designing a product that is made as well as it can possibly be made, and will last for as long as it can possibly last.    


More people

Designer interview: Warren Twisleton

Designer interview: Warren Twisleton

Striking a balance between work and play has led the owner of furniture brand Lujo, Warren Twisleton, to design a range of contemporary furniture that creates a sense of holiday at home.
Designer profile: Francis Sultana

Designer profile: Francis Sultana

Camille Khouri talked to renowned interior and furniture designer Francis Sultana about his life as a designer and his beautifully furnished apartment (featured in the current issue of Urbis).
In Focus: Michael Webb

In Focus: Michael Webb

Building Community: New Apartment Architecture is a visually arresting book with a poignant and timely theme. Vanessa Coxhead spoke to its author Michael Webb about what makes a great apartment building.
Art in all the right places

Art in all the right places

Curator Sophie Wallace returned home from her time at Pace Gallery in New York to open Hastings’ newest gallery, Parlour Projects.

Most read

Garden the blue sky

Garden the blue sky

This architect’s penthouse boasts enviable green spaces and a vertigo-inducing outdoor bath.
The skyline shifter

The skyline shifter

Ground is soon to be broken for The Pacifica, a soaring new apartment complex that has the ability to reinvigorate an enclave of Auckland’s downtown.
My, oh my Milan

My, oh my Milan

The Urbis selection of some of the most alluring objects from this year’s Milan Furniture Fair.
Furnishing the dream

Furnishing the dream

A regular among musicians, designers and British royalty, Francis Sultana shows us how his apartment reflects on an impressive career.