Tumi recently opened an immersive new pop-up store at Seoul’s Lotte World Mall Atrium as a launchpad for its new fall collection, called Essentially Beautiful.
Running from 3-15 July, the pop-up takes its inspiration from the brand’s ‘19 Degree’ range of hardside luggage. This can be seen in the modern installations and artwork in the space, as well as the sculptural facade, which is styled after the contours of the luggage and embodies Tumi’s design language.
Another highlight of the pop-up is a locker-inspired display that has collectibles and merchandise signed by South Korean footballer, Son Heung-Min, who plies his trade for the English Premier league football team, Tottenham Hotspur.
“Design excellence and aesthetic function are integral to the products we make at Tumi. But what you might not notice on the surface is the beauty that you find when you look beyond the looks,” Victor Sanz, creative director at Tumi, told Inside Retail.
Sanz said that true beauty lies in the details. “It is the smallest features and finishes that make our products so unique and essential companions that you can rely on. Every bit is essential and every bit is beautiful – hence ‘Essentially Beautiful’,” he said, referring to the 2023 fall collection.
“It’s about all the elements that some people wouldn’t consider beautiful, like the idea of functionality, durability, and longevity, but we find beauty in that. That is our beauty, and that’s what makes Tumi special.”
Sanz added that the pop-up serves as an introduction to Hypercraft – the term the brand uses to describe its design approach.
“We define Hypercraft as being hyper-focused on quality and high performance through elevated craftsmanship and innovation and blending together the worlds of technology and handcrafted,” he added.
Some of the key highlights of the pop-up include the Alpha X collection, which uses the brand’s ultra-tough, raw materials to create an eye-catching themed wall illustrating its technical elegance.
“Another is the Tegra-Lite zone and tunnel display – a dedicated section for the contemporary Tegra-Lite collection which features a tunnel crafted of coloured Tegris, the exceptionally strong material used in [Tumi’s] hardside pieces,” he noted.
Art and sustainability
A standout feature in the pop-up is a multidirectional sculpture by American artist Michael Murphy titled, ‘Hypercraft Sculpture’, that creates an illusion of a 19 Degree aluminium piece morphing into a Tumi logo.
“At Tumi, we collaborate with individuals and brands that share our values of performance and luxury, and Michael Murphy’s artistic work represents these principles in every aspect, which is why we’re thrilled to work with him on this Essentially Beautiful pop-up,” Sanz said.
Another interesting facet of the new collection is the emphasis on luggage shells that are made from post-industrial recycled materials and linings made from post-consumer rPET (plastic bottles).
“Tumi’s commitment to sustainability starts with the durability of our products – our product is built to stay on the road. The fall 2023 collection is no different, offering innovative materials such as PX6 that are incredibly tough and enduring,” he added.
The South Korean marketplace
According to Sanz, the brand has many South Korean fans and its products are respected and sought after in the region. He noted that South Korea is also the epicentre of popular culture right now through the music, film and art that the country is producing.
“It also happens to be the home of the star of our Essentially Beautiful campaign and Tumi ‘crew member’, Son Heung-min, so the stars aligned on this location,” he elaborated.
When it comes to design excellence and functional utility, Sanz feels that these two factors are “one and the same thing”. He believes that good design is not about aesthetics alone, but also about making products that achieve their purpose.
“Design should not be done for design’s sake but to fit a purpose and simplify the lives of people who interact with it. That is why innovation and forward thinking have always been at the core of our DNA,” he explained.
Ultimately, Sanz hopes that this pop-up, with its stunning installations and symbolic artwork, will create an elevated experience for its new products and the brand in the South Korean market.
“We want to immerse the guests in the Tumi world and get them to experience and live the brand beyond the product. We want them to experience the level of detail and commitment to high-end design that all of us at Tumi live and breathe,” he concluded.
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