Bio: Joe is a designer and inventor, whose breadth of work spans numerous disciplines, including product, furniture, environment, and technology. The common thread through his projects is a desire to find streamlined, elegant solutions, often by innovative means; Joe is, among other things, a leader in the realm of 3-D design and printing. Still, his approach of solving problems is the antithesis of overdesigning, as evidenced by his minimal, hyper-functional work. It’s a philosophy that won Joe the 2017 Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award as Product Designer.
Latest Project: Updating a piece of luggage from Montblanc’s first full travel collection, the #MY4810 series, in partnership with the German luxury brand. Joe is calling his the tech-forward project “Midnight Traveller,” a reference to the frequent flyer’s affinity for evening takeoffs. “I think there’s something quite interesting and glamorous about traveling at night versus traveling in the day,” he says.
Technology: “We wanted to make some functional improvements in the travel experience by adding technology that would make the experience better. The things that you always have in your hand when you travel is your passport and your carry-on. So we made an OLED luggage tag that holds not only your information, but also your itinerary, and gives real-time updates for flight status, gate changes, and can even summon a car upon landing. The bag becomes an actively participating travel companion to help you get you where you’re going.”
Process: “Our approach was to distill the Montblanc bag down to one feature: the beautiful Montblanc logo, which I think is one of the finest to ever be created. So, we matted out the entire bag, a very deep matte black, to have this logo pop in the front. The overall effect is a really sophisticated, subtle version of the bag.”
The result: The Midnight Traveller heightens all of the original design elements of the #MY4810, updated with a 21st-century luggage tag that encourages a frictionless travel experience.
This story was conceived, produced, and edited by Surface Studios, the creative agency of Surface Media.