Design

A Smooth Ride

by Yuval Saar | 21.10.15

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In the Kickstarter campaign that he launched last year, designer Netta Shalgi asked the online community to support his artistic take on the all-time classic toy: a wooden horse. Shalgi designed it so that it would appeal to children and adults alike: “A more mature-looking toy with new, sexy, streamlined contours that aren’t going to take away from the naivete and charm of the original.”

Last week he launched yet another campaign, based on lessons learned from the first attempt. This time, Shalgi introduced to the world G-RO: a large, convenient suitcase that also doubles as a charger. Nevertheless, he was not expecting to reach his goal in a mere six hours from the moment it started.

This is not the first time Shalgi has tried his hand at aviation-themed design: while he was studying in the Department of Industrial Design at the Holon Institute of Technology, his final project suggested a surprising redesign of the common airplane seat in passenger aircrafts. “I travel a lot,” he explains. “I travelled during my military service, for work, and I always found myself coming across a lot of difficulties with my cargo. Also, I have a great passion (if not obsession) for anything that has to do with flights, travel and aviation. This market is so varied and big, but also extremely stagnant. I did some serious research about market leaders, brands and consumption habits, and it led me to understand that there is lots of room for changes and innovation, but in order to make it happen I had to think outside the box and fund the whole process.”

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What’s the main issue with today’s suitcases?
The problem is that today’s suitcases don’t always match the type of travel that they are used for and the passengers who use them. The ‘New Passenger’ flies a lot and is constantly on the go. The second issue is that carrying suitcases around in any environment outside the airport is almost impossible. Have you ever tried walking the down a bustling pedestrian area in midday with a large suitcase and managed not to bump into people?
Consider the current trend: strollers, bicycles, cars- all of these now boast significantly bigger and user-friendly wheels. But suitcases, because of the way they are constructed and manufactured, are still left with small and breakable wheels.
The advantage of bigger wheels is not just the iconic look they lend to suitcases. A wheel with a larger diameter is more durable, resilient to impact and has better traction: It doesn’t get caught in any road bumps, and even when it does, the user doesn’t feel the effect of it. It’s a smooth ride. Since the axis of the wheels is higher off the ground, the suitcase feels lighter overall.

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If the wheels are bigger, doesn’t it come at the expense of the suitcase’s capacity?
A central axis can’t be inserted into a suitcase, because it affects its capacity. You can’t pack a suitcase with an axis that passes right through its middle or its lower third. That’s why the wheels couldn’t be thick. And since they are thin they don’t come at the expense of the capacity; that also enabled us to take the bag’s base all the way to the floor and actually increase the capacity. Design-wise, we wanted to create something that resembles the clean, effortless feel of Apple products.

What are the innovations you added in terms of the compartmentalization?
In the new and advanced model we launched there are two compartments: a ‘private’ compartment that can carry up to a week’s worth of clothing, and a ‘business’ compartment that houses all electronic gadgets and equipment, including cables- all very easy to pull out thanks to the design. There are two other smaller compartments: one for liquids, whose lining ensures that if something spills, it doesn’t get to the electronics and an exterior compartment that offers quick access to things that passengers carry like passports, money and cellphones.

My Wooden Horse. Netta Shalgi's previous Kickstarter Campaign

My Wooden Horse. Netta Shalgi’s previous Kickstarter Campaign

Translation from Hebrew: Joy Bernard

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