From skull-and-spike-encrusted suitcases for Alexander McQueen to luggage designed for 007 himself (complete with gun-barrel detail), Globe-Trotter has a history of unique collaborations. None, however, have been quite as eye-catching as the Collector’s Case – an exclusive collaboration between Wallpaper* magazine and Singapore-Italian design studio Lanzavecchia + Wai. Founders Francesca Lanzavecchia and Hunn Wai met at the Design Academy in Eindhoven while studying for their masters in conceptual design.
The two friends went on to set up their design consultancy studio in 2010 – based in both Singapore and Milan – and work across a range of disciplines including furniture and industrial design, visual merchandising and special commissions for luxury brands.
‘Operating between two countries, we get to keep on discovering new ways of seeing the world,’ says Lanzaveccia on the unconventional dual-office set-up. ‘Sometimes the distance and time difference is quite handy actually, because you can take over the work from the other.’
‘We get “fed” by each other,’ continues Wai. ‘What’s happening in Europe right now, what’s the situation, who is talking about what and what’s going on in Asia? Design always has to be in context.’ The Collector’s Case was conceived by Lanzavecchia + Wai for the 10th edition of Wallpaper* Handmade, the design stalwart’s annual ‘salute to craft and creativity’, which takes place during Salone del Mobile.
This year’s theme celebrates love ‘in its infinite variety’ – something the design duo have taken on in typically subversive fashion. ‘In our practice we always try to look at things from a different point of view and to subvert them where possible,’ explains Lanzavecchia. ‘We also wanted to have an element of surprise in the project; something that would be unexpected,’ agrees Wai.
‘A Globe-Trotter case is something iconic, so how do we respect that, but at the same time have a surprising element?’ The answer is the Collector’s Case, a one-of-a-kind rainbow-hued concertina bag topped off with a pair of gold handcuffs and a lock and key. The bag also features a small leather-bound notepad labelled ‘The Things I Love’, which serves as a place to jot down items the ‘collector’ has acquired on his or her travels. Globe-Trotter was called upon to make the case, which features 12 pieces of multi-coloured Italian calf leather, expanding to a depth of 60cm, and finished with trademark vulcanised fibreboard and leather corners.
As with every Globe-Trotter product, the bag was made by hand in the company’s Hertfordshire factory using the same painstaking manufacturing techniques it has used for over a century.
'We designed a bespoke piece of luggage for the romantic traveller and avid collector of authentic experiences and treasured artifacts,’ explains Lanzavecchia, defining the ‘collector’ as a dreamer belonging to an age when ‘travelling was memorable’. ‘We were thinking of this grand voyage; you were bringing back home memorabilia to construct your personal sanctuary. If you look into the booklet there’s space for item numbers, the place and time where you have been collecting certain items, where you bought it, but also the reason why you bought it.’
‘In a world of plastic cases, this is something that’s really special and it really signifies the spirit of the traveller,’ adds Wai. ‘We like to play with icons and archetypes and in the luggage industry there isn’t a more iconic brand than Globe-Trotter.’
Photography: Jovian Lim / Wallpaper* Handmade
GLOBE-TROTTING WITH LANZAVECCHIA + WAI
What are some of your favourite cities around the world?
FL: New York.
HW: New York is always awesome – and London of course. And Kyoto is magical.
Are there any places on your travel bucket list?
FL: I’ve never been to Japan but I think because I have such high expectations… I almost don’t want to spoil it. It’s like that exotic place that I’ve been close to many times, but have never visited.
HW: South America. I’d love to go to Colombia after watching Narcos. I like Cuba, too.
FL: I’d love to go back to Peru. That’s one of my favourite places. I went two years ago but only for one week and I was by myself. I was there for a conference but I added an extra few days and I went to see Machu Picchu. It was… wow!
What’s your packing style?
FL: It really depends on whether I have enough time to pack or not. If I have enough time I’m very minimal, if I do it last minute I’m very…
HW: – Maximal! I pack my shoes first. I choose about 4 pairs.
FL: That’s not minimal!
HW: I pick my shoes first and usually whatever Cos is selling! It tends to be black and navy-blue.
FL: I’m very conscious about the airport check-in, so I like to have things easily accessible like my iPad and computer, my liquids. I recently took my daughter on her first trip abroad at seven months old. It was the first time I didn’t organise enough.
What do you never leave the house without when going on a trip?
FL: Sad to say, mobile phone.
HW: Notepad and pen, pencils. Music. I listen to a lot of podcasts on flights. I download a bunch on Spotify.
FL: I fall asleep straight away if I listen to podcasts.
HW: I see it as a good distraction. No WiFi.
Do you collect any souvenirs?
FL: I come back with a lot of small booklets from exhibitions. I also bring food back which I give to people I love. I also like buying something that you’re not even sure what it is.
HW: Salt. I bought some seaweed salt from Cornwall recently. It reminds you of that place.
FL: I buy a lot of spices when I travel and I like to use them on a daily basis.
What are some of your favourite galleries or museums around the world?
HW: The Louvre in Paris. There are loads of galleries in Chelsea, New York – and I love the Mori Art Museum on the 68th floor at the top of Roppongi Hills in Tokyo. You wouldn’t think there was a museum up there but it’s a huge space. However, I’d say my favourite museum in the world is the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam.
FL: I like the Museo Larco in Lima, Peru. I find the local crafts and jewellery very beautiful. In Milan, Fondazione Prada and Pirelli HangarBicocca are the museums I feel closest to. They are perfect places for short weekend trips. At HangarBicocca they do free activities for children and I can't wait to take my daughter there. lanzavecchia-wai.com
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