December 24 2012
Lucia van der Post
There’s a new breed of über-glamorous, well-connected global nomad around. You know the sort – they’re based in Singapore (or London, New York, Moscow, Paris…), work around the world, own holiday homes wherever their interests take them and have more in common with each other than they do with their fellow countrymen. Well, Louis Vuitton, whose roots lie deep in the notion of journeying, has recently developed a small but perfectly formed collection of beautiful pieces with this sophisticated set very much in mind.
These so-called Objets Nomades are each the result of a collaboration between Louis Vuitton and a serious, usually highly renowned, designer. They were asked to devise something intimately linked with the idea of travel, and the result is 18 portable objects that were shown for the first time at December’s Art Basel Miami Beach. Allied with great craft skills and fine woods and leathers, they are exquisitely made; almost all are foldable, and the thinking behind them seems truly innovative.
Take the designs by the team at Atelier Oï. Rather like a piece of origami, its leather stool (fourth picture, £2,060) folds up into something resembling a large, slender briefcase, and comes in several colourways, while its hammock (third picture, £19,800) features a luxurious leather lattice and gold-plated fixtures. Barber Osgerby, of Olympic torch fame, has come up with a beautiful glass bell lamp enclosed in a slim leather casing (second picture, £1,900). And Christian Liaigre’s folding desk (first picture, £22,000) wouldn’t merely be useful while travelling, it would make a brilliant games table to be brought out at will in any household.
Followers of the Louis Vuitton story will know that this isn’t the first time it has strayed from fashion and luggage. The bed-trunk, made in 1905 for the African explorer Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza, and the special desk-trunk commissioned by the conductor Leopold Stokowski in 1930, have become mythic pieces, but the company hasn’t created a collection like this before.
The objects pictured here can be seen at the Louis Vuitton flagship store on New Bond Street until the end of February, along with photographs and details of all the other pieces, which can also be ordered (and are on show at selected branches worldwide). This is merely the start of a new direction for the company, as it proposes to continue enriching the collection from time to time with what it calls “surprising, playful and disruptive projects”.