Marc Newson frequently approaches projects from a consumer’s mindset. You’ll know the industrial designer from projects such as the Lockheed Lounge, which had a cameo role in Madonna’s 1993 music video ‘Rain’, and several Qantas touchpoints, including the first class lounges and the A330 business class suite. But, his most iconic project might just arguably be the first iteration of the Apple Watch, which has remained unchanged since its debut in 2015.
Newson’s relationship with Louis Vuitton isn’t new. He previously worked with the maison on two other projects in the Rolling Luggage series — the Horizon and the Horizon Soft Duffle. The success of both prompted Louis Vuitton to continue its collaboration with Newson. This time, instead of creating something new, Newson revisits the Pégase, one of the brand’s icons.
We chat with Newson about his creative process and the unique challenges.
Pégase is the third rolling luggage that you are developing with Louis Vuitton. What motivated this new collaboration?
The revamping of Pégase was a natural continuation of the collaboration we embarked on several years ago with Horizon Luggage. Louis Vuitton approached me to reimagine the historic Pégase design using the new materials and techniques that we had developed for the Horizon and Horizon Soft ranges. The aim was to have a consistent vocabulary between them and to share the same innovations.
What was the common thread among these three projects?
The maison’s history is in trunk-making and leather goods; its offerings are some of the most iconic travel goods in the world. I wanted my designs to be recognisable as Vuitton and ideally become part of this heritage, but I also wanted them to be in my handwriting. There were some technical goals across the three projects, including maximising volume and reducing weight, and increasing durability, security, and ease of use. One of the best things about working with Vuitton is the ability to exploit the manufacturing available, their savoir faire and the materials at their disposal.
What were the challenges in revamping the Pégase, compared to creating new concepts like Horizon & Horizon Soft?
As an industrial designer, I’m often working within an existing typology of products to design a new concept. With Pégase, I started by identifying the areas of the current design that defined it — for example, the exterior pocket and the two wheels — and considered how to refine them. The brief — to create a lightweight case with increased internal volume, while keeping the iconic character of the original Pégase — guided my design. The main area I identified to work on was the cane system. I wanted to maintain the classic design while strengthening it.
Tell us about the engineering of the extra flat Trolley system tubes.
This specific innovation was crucial to the design of Pégase. We rigorously tested multiple aluminium alloys, found in the aerospace industry and never previously used in luggage, to find the strongest and most stable option. The resulting tubes are the slimmest available on any luggage, which allows for the packing area to be optimised. Since the trolley system is housed on the exterior of the luggage, the internal packing volume is increased. The canes are integrated and encased within the shell upholstery, allowing them to act as bumpers to reduce friction.
How does this luggage relate to your vision of travelling?
I often approach projects as a consumer; I design according to how I want a product to look and work. A lifetime of travelling has informed this project. If I could define my vision of travelling in one word, it would be ‘ease’. This means not having a bulky suitcase and not having to check in a bag. I always have hand luggage and wish for everything to fit comfortably into it. My new design is compact and pared back without being mundane and, hopefully, has kept the charm of the original model. There is an intrinsic connection between travel and luxury, and that is what the Pégase, and the other Louis Vuitton luggage offerings represent.