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Tumi Vapor Named Best Luggage by Travel & Leisure 2011 Design Awards

Named “Best Luggage” by Travel & Leisure 2011 Design Awards, Tumi Vapor is setting a new standard in travel. For those who seek ultra-modern style, the ease of lightweight travel and the assurances of optimal performance and durability, Tumi Vapor is the preferred choice. Tumi brings its tradition of design leadership and engineering excellence to elevated heights with Vapor. A bag that looks this good must perform and Vapor has proven to rise to the occasion. Here are the facts:

• Lightweight strength is achieved through Tumi’s exclusive engineering breakthroughs and far outperforms other brands in laboratory tests.

• Tumi’s patented X Brace 45™ system, using aircraft-grade aluminum handle. A triple-layer polycarbonate shell provides superior strength, protection and durability.

• Omega 2010 zipper system virtually eliminates inconvenient zipper repairs.

• Raised bumpers are placed around the bag to assure protection at key impact points and provide distinct sleek styling.

• The high-gloss metallic shell features our exclusive brushed surface effect which conceals surface scratches and normal wear and tear.

• Intelligently organized and meticulously lined, the spacious interiors include tie down straps and a removable garment cover.

Function and performance, check. Now let’s take a look at design. This bag boasts some serious style. We sat down with Tumi designer Josh Buller to get his take on the design and what inspires him.

Tumi is known for its ballistic nylon bags, why did you decide to branch out into the hard case travel category?

JB: Ballistic nylon is a great material, but as with any fabric, there is a limit as to how lightweight you can make it. I wanted a piece of luggage that truly pushed the boundaries of how lightweight it could be. Poly-carbonate is a material that allows us to make a very sturdy and protective case that is many pounds lighter than your traditionally constructed nylon suitcase. With all of the added fees that airlines are charging these days, it’s important to keep your luggage as lightweight as possible.

What was your inspiration behind the Vapor collection?

JB: I wanted to create something that was both protective and attractive to carry. Many lightweight products tend to look and be fragile, so I wanted to add some structure to the design that would give it a rigid frame and protect the interior contents. The bumpers on the Vapor case protect the corners and edges from hard impacts. The rails on the front and back protect the case from scratches and abrasion.

The look was inspired by traditional steamer trunks. I wanted to reinterpret the romantic notion of travel from an earlier time for a new era using new materials and modern aesthetics.

Can you explain your design process?

JB: I try to start from looking at how the user will interact with the product. What will make the experience of using the bag better than what has come before? I don’t want to just make more of the same thing that’s already out there, there needs to be a reason to create something new.

What’s in your bag right now?

JB: Well I just got back from a trip to Asia, so right now, my bag is loaded up with Japanese magazines. I love all the obscure and specialized items they have and how it is all lovingly detailed page after page.

When traveling, what’s the 1 item you never leave home without?

JB: Right now it’s my iPad. I love how I can bring crossword puzzles, books, movies, and games in such a small package. It makes a big difference in how much stuff I have to carry with me when I travel.

Carry on or checked?

JB: I prefer to check my bags. It leaves me unencumbered while I travel, so I can focus more on the experience, and less on taking care of my baggage.

2 wheels or 4?

JB: Four wheels, all the way. Once you make the switch, it’s hard to use anything else. The 4 wheel bags glide effortlessly over the airport floors, plus it’s easy to stack additional bags on the top.

Also, can you give me a little info on how long you’ve been a designer, how long you’ve been at Tumi and what lines you design for in particular?

JB: I’ve been designing for over ten years and working with Tumi for the last three. I design all of the hard side cases for Tumi, the new transformable Pack-a-way bags, as well as the T-tech lines that are aimed for the younger, hipper customer.

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