This issue’s Industrial Design section is devoted to an item that is a constant presence in all our everyday lives: the bag. Large and small, suitcases or folders, they all have to be designed before they can be manufactured. The range of course, is vast. From the cabin trunk or the big leather bag whose classic appeal is as undeniable as their impracticality, to their modern equivalents whose dimensions, materials and functionality meet the needs of the lives we lead today, carrying our own baggage on our frequent, short trips. In offering an overview of this section, the article spotlights several historic names that remain the star performers in this particular field.

One of the them is Valextra, an innovator since the firm was founded in 1937. So much so that it invented (winning the Compasso d’Oro award in 1954) the overnight bag whose innovative features included a zip bonded directly to the fabric that ran around its entire top and a pouch on the outside from which business documents could be extracted without revealing the contents of the actual bag.

Then there’s Mandarina Duck which has made its name from the use of synthetic materials combined with unconventional shapes and colour schemes. Examples include the Utility and Tank Collections of the Seventies and Eighties on which heat-welding techniques borrowed from the automotive industry replaced traditional methods.

Or MH Way founded in 1982 by designer Makio Hasuike who created bags for a variety of professional uses, including his famous telescopic drawing tubes. Today many of the MH Way products are made of Ballistic Nylon, the ultra-tough high-tech synthetic that was previously used exclusively for bullet-proof jackets.

The article continues in Auto & Design no. 132

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