The idea of form versus function is often a conundrum that's faced by designers. Should the former supersede the latter or vice versa? Or is there a middle-ground where both tenets of design balance out each other such that there isn't much of a compromise to either? The considerations are heightened further when it comes to meeting the needs of travellers who now care more than just getting from one point to another.

For TUMI, that steely balance of form and function is best exemplified in its innovative 19 Degree Aluminium series. Launched by creative director Victor Sanz in 2016, the 19 Degree Aluminium series was a breakthrough for the performance luxury lifestyle and accessories brand as it manipulated aluminium in its own vision for the first time. Each piece is crafted with the now-signature sinewy lines enveloping the entirety of its contours—both as a bold, visual manifestation of the toughness of the material as well as an engineered element for added rigidity. It helps too that the look is as striking as it is durable.

As we said, good looks would only get a design so far, especially in the travel space. TUMI clearly knows this too. The 19 Degree Aluminium series is packed with nifty technical specs that make travelling with one—on pretty much any kind of journey—as beautiful as the intended destination. Rollers are fitted with dual-recessed, ball bearing wheels to ensure smooth, effortless glides, while the telescoping handle fits comfortably when gripped. These innovations (and more) add to the beauty of having a 19 Degree Aluminium piece as a companion—they're beautiful, and essentially so.

The 19 Degree Aluminium Backpack is another first for TUMI.

In the latest chapter of TUMI's "Essentially Beautiful" campaign, global ambassador and pro-footballer Son Heung-Min makes a return to introduce an expansion to the 19 Degree Aluminium family. Highlighting both the aesthetics as well as the inner-workings of the series that make it essentially beautiful, the campaign is arguably TUMI's boldest yet as Son traverses an abstract world inspired by the elements of the series. His main companion of choice? A 19 Degree Aluminium Backpack that once again, sees TUMI challenging the idea of form and function.

The backpack design is a first of its kind for TUMI, allowing the already iconic luggage design to be carried in a new way. But instead of simply slapping on leather straps to the existing design, the brand reconfigured the entire construction. The leather straps of the Backpack are connected to a leather back panel—marked with the same 19 Degree contours—that's fitted with a top handle and a sleeve meant to easily slip over extended luggage handles. The Backpack itself opens up from the top with a frame opening, while a front pocket reveals itself with the push of the leather monogram patch.

19 Degree Aluminium Luggage.
19 Degree Aluminium Carry-On and Luggage.
19 Degree Aluminium Backpack.

But that's far from what TUMI has to offer. The new line-up includes a Compact Carry-On that's essentially a scaled down version of the 19 Degree Aluminium, designed for travellers who prefer something smaller. It also comes with a removable file divider, making it quite an upgrade for those looking to transport documents. If not, there's the new Briefcase that's categorically sleek at every angle yet still sturdy and durable.

Form versus function? That's certainly hardly the case here.

The new TUMI 19 Degree Aluminium series is now available at the TUMI ION Orchard, Mandarin Gallery, and Marina Bay Sands stores. And check out the other signature TUMI lifestyle bag styles too while you're at it.

The Alpha Bravo Navigation Backpack.
The Harrison Gregory Sling.
GETTY IMAGES

The novelty of being a big city lad, strolling into a sexy London glass office with a latte in hand (as they do in the movies) doesn’t last long. By the time I was 30, on paper, I’d made it. I was working at a top television network, with a comfortable salary and business trips to Manhattan. I had a bachelor pad, bought nice clothes, and partied weekends. It was exactly what I pictured growing up, but I wasn’t happy.

The traditional outlook on life has always been to work hard, get married, buy a house, and at least for millennials, allocation of ‘fun’ is slotted in at the end, for retirement. That’s assuming we’re lucky enough to make it to our 60s. Spending the next 30+ years of my life in an office cubicle and mind-numbing marketing meetings was, to me, pure torture. I decided enough was enough.

The First Step

In 2016 I sold my things and moved to Tokyo on an English teaching visa, interning part-time as an entertainment reporter for a local paper. It was a chance to go to free gigs, make new friends, and get out there. Months later, came the big break. A friend moved to Singapore as editor of an airline magazine, and they needed a travel writer in Japan. I was now getting paid to write and explore.

The lack of English-speaking reporters in the region, at least compared to back home, meant I was able to secure a steady flow of work covering Japan. Eventually, I ditched the English teaching job to write full-time, forfeiting the visa. That was fine as I could work anywhere with a good Wi-Fi connection.

Being used to a routine, things were tough in the beginning. You never know when the next job is coming, and finding a new place to set up shop can be stressful. Things have got easier, especially post-pandemic now that digital nomads have surged (131 per cent since 2019, according to Forbes). I’ve spent extended time in Da Nang, Bali and Kuala Lumpur, meccas for remote workers, thanks to special digital nomad visas, flexible co-working spaces and value long-stay rentals and travel.

Every day isn’t coconut cocktails on the beach. I still go to an office. I make my own hours and choose when and where I want to work. I’m based between the US and the UK. I rented desks or WFH, but you’ll find me and my laptop all over the place. Mostly in coffee shops and hotel rooms. I also try to make the most of transit time that can sometimes be a challenge. For example, on the Caledonian Sleeper train to Inverness, though the purpose was to sleep, I stayed up all night to meet a last-minute deadline. A couple of weeks later I sailed the Indian Ganges on a boutique rivercruise called Uniworld. It was pretty remote, and l got frustrated with Internet speeds. Maybe it was a sign to switch off and enjoy the ride.

Conclusion

Though the money I earn now is far less than before, so are my outgoings. I used to live rather excessively. But now I don’t need the latest gadgets, a car, or a swanky downtown apartment. Why? Because I get plenty of enrichment on the job. One week I can be surrounded by rescued elephants in Chiang Mai. And the next I’ll be surrounded by celebrity chefs at The Dorchester in Mayfair. In a single year, I can check off more bucket list activities than one could in a lifetime. I’ve had to make a whole new list, actually. Things I've done: hot air ballooning, snowmobiling, and safari; interviewed Sir Richard Branson and Michelle Yeoh. I’ve even written two best-selling guidebooks.

Before leaving the rat race, my stories weren’t particularly noteworthy. Unless you’re into drunken anecdotes, but everything that’s happened in recent years would make a real page-turner of a biography. I skim my travel journals in disbelief. Best of all, I’ve been able to share many special moments with the people I care about. Working remotely means more time with loved ones and less time with Karen from advertising. It’s ironic because we all know time is finite. And yet,most people prioritise making money in the hopes of using it later to live their best lives. Think about all the things that make you happy. Travel, music, cooking, sports, spouse, kids…How much time are you dedicating to them? Are you justifying a lack of time now for more later? I’m always conscious that later often becomes never, and remember, never is the saddest thing anyone could work toward.

James Wong can be reached here.

Welcome to the resort you might never want to leave; this is Desa Potato Head.

The flight between Singapore and Bali is close to three hours long and, already, I’m imagining scenarios of what happens if the plane starts to malfunction. Oxygen masks will drop like hanged men; the steel cabin that we are in may close in, turning into a collective metal coffin. One doesn’t usually start a travel piece with downed plane imagery but when you are travelling with a child who has never flown before, the mind tends to wander into dark territories.

That’s not to say that we didn’t plan ahead. We drafted out a checklist of possible outcomes that our child might end up in during the flight, and preventables: restlessness (a colouring book); blocked ears (a lollipop or sweet to suck on); loud engine noises (headphones that are hooked to a laptop with kid-friendly programmes); hunger (a packet of trail mix). But to paraphrase the Yiddish proverb: “Make plans. God laughs.” Our child, wee but shockingly inventive, found ways to stymie us. After an hour of colouring, he is now fidgety and reluctant to remain in his seat, let alone, be strapped into his seat.

The distractions have lost their powers and we’re left with nothing but hushed threats and calls to reason with this emotional terrorist. My mind wanders. I picture our plane making impact with the side of the mountain.


Desa Potato Head is unlike any resort you've ever seen or stayed at.

IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE a getaway. A slice of free time carved out from a busy schedule, a weekend that I can greedily indulge in. It will be spent at Desa Potato Head, a sprawling 226-guest room hotel that’s set on Petitenget Beach in Seminyak. Before we were married, the wife and I visited the site (then Potato Head Bali). I remember spending lazy hours on the daybed at the Beach Club. Now with a child added to the mix, we decided a sojourn at the resort would be an experience.

A lot has changed since the wife and I were last here. The hotel rebranded itself from Potato Head Bali to Desa Potato Head. “Desa”, which means “village” in Bahasa Indonesia is the throughline in which the place operates. This is a creative village where art, music, design, good food and wellness co-exist.

"5000 Lost Soles" by Liina Klauss.

The place already stood out with its eye-catching aesthetics—Liina Klauss’ 5,000 Lost Soles (2016), an installation made out of flip-flops salvaged from the Bali beaches or the Beach Club’s exterior that’s built out of wooden window shutters. If you think the hotel’s Brutalist architecture set against the backdrop of the tropics looks off-kilter, the invasion of new artwork will enthral you. Take Nano Uhero’s “The Womb”, a bamboo sculpture that visitors coming in from the entrance would have to traverse through. There's Future2000’s iconic Pointman standing like a sentinel in the courtyard of Potato Head Studios. Fashioned out of repurposed waste materials collected from the waterways of Bali, the Pointman stands as a testament to the Balinese philosophy of duality—taking trash and turning it into a work of art.

"Pointman - River Warrior" by Futura2000.

Excited by the appearance of the Pointman, the kid scurries towards the legs, at first trying to scale it but eventually settling on hiding behind them. His voice in a higher register than usual, calls to us to look at the sculpture.

After registration, guests are brought to the Circle Store, where upcycled amenities and merch are sold. We were presented a zero-waste kit, which consisted of an RPET tote bag and a sustainable drinking bottle—you can ask any of Desa Potato Head staff to fill the bottle with water. No extra cost, no waste.

The provided eco-friendly amenities.

Throughout our stay, we are sequestered in the Oceanfront Studio at the Potato Head Studios wing. The room is larger than imagined. It faces the ocean and is filled with tasteful furnishings by Max Lamb—a recycled plastic desk chair; volcanic glassware and ceramics. The coffee table hides a drinks cabinet. There’s music coming in from the Beach Club. Even with the windows shut, you can still hear the cloth-wrapped notes. The kid is jumping on the bed before his feet make a resounding thud on the floor. The sky looks clear. Time to hit the Beachfront Pool.


THERE ARE LOADS TO DO at Desa Potato Head. There’s live music playing at Potato Head Beach Club or the Amphitheatre. But if you’re looking for a more intimate activity, there’s the Headphone Bar. There, you can sift through the site’s vinyl collection for a listening session.

On the second floor of Potato Head Studios, the Library (Studio Eksotika) is a quiet spot to peruse a variety of curated reading material. In a rare moment to myself, I polished off the entire photo collection of battle jackets by Peter Beste.

Next to it is the spa and gym. Above it, is Sunset Park, a rooftop bar that overlooks the Indian Ocean. Later that evening, we would eat at Tananam, a casual restaurant that serves plant-based cuisine. Taking ingredients that are locally sourced, chef Dom Hammond presents dishes that are creative without alienating omnivores like my family.

We started with a Roti (lightly salted with East Bali sea salt). Brokoli (broccoli that’s finished with coconut and chive oil sauce) dish is next as I carried the kid to peruse the rest of the restaurant. The space is suffused in a violet glow emanating from the lights of their indoor garden. It feels otherworldly, like we’re in a different clime, even though there’s nothing more natural and familiar than its dishes.

Later that evening, the child would fight against the sleep for an hour before succumbing to it. My poor wife thinks she’s down with something and pops two Panadols.

Partying at Beach Club.

We have tickets to a Sbtrkt gig playing tonight at Beach Club. I’ve wanted to watch him ever since he stopped making music in 2014. But better judgment took over and we slept against the lullaby of electronic music.


DESA POTATO HEAD CATERS TO family, with programmes for the little ones called Sweet Potato Kids. At these sessions, children are kept busy with lessons on sustainability or with exercises like this morning’s workout. The child and I are at Desa Playground where a trainer starts with some light stretching before leading the group on a slow jog around the compound.

Kids at Sweet Potato Kids.

We climb the steps all the way to Sunset Park. It’s still early and the staff paid us no mind as they sweep up the place. The sky is overcast and already the sheen of sweat on our skin feels cool against the sea breeze. The trainer tells us that it’s time to head back and my kid gives an audible, oh man. We bound our way down the steps, my child’s energy shows no signs of abating.

With my wife still recuperating, I took the kid to Ijen for lunch. Serving primarily fresh seafood that is caught responsibly in these local waters, we dug into Sardines (crumbed sardines that are served on desa croissant loaf and drizzled with tartar and fermented hot sauce) and Roasted Cauliflower (smothered in keluwek tahini). We have a chocolate desert and, of course, he makes a mess but that’s what children do. He does not have the fine motor skills an adult have. His spills look like atolls and I wiped them up. A small annoyance but one that quickly disappears when he bared his chocolate-stained teeth. See daddy. Look at me, he says.

I take a spoonful of desert and showed him my browned chompers and we both laugh.


RONALD AKILI JUST WANTED A better future for his children.

In 2016, the founder of Desa Potato Head went surfing on the Bali coast with his eldest son. They found themselves surrounded by ocean plastics. In an interview, Akili says that moment pushed him to ensure Desa Potato Head does minimal damage to the environment. “I want to pass on to future generations a better world—something that I think is innate in all of us.”

One of the workers fashioning beads made out of plastics.

Under the guidance of Eco Mantra, a Bali-based environmental engineering consultancy, Desa Potato Head’s commitment to a zero waste-to-landfill goal has reached five per cent. It takes a tremendous amount of legwork to get to that level of sustainability according to Simon Pestridge, CXO of Desa Potato Head. As the former VP of Nike, Pestridge has a “never settle” approach. “With this many people producing this much waste, the tourism industry needs to take a serious look,” he says. “One of the keys to making sure that you can get as close to zero waste as possible is to make sure that the waste is separated at the source. When the team separate the different types of organics that would go to the pig farms or compost, it becomes easier the further down the cycle you get. The management team hold ourselves accountable every week. Sometimes we’re at three per cent... sometimes it’ll be at five per cent and we go back to check why that happened.”

Desa Potato Head has 950 staff, at the time of writing, and every day, they adhere to a regimented process where they will weigh the waste, know what to do with it and track it. Suppliers aren’t allowed to deliver their wares in plastic. Cling wrap is banned in the kitchens. Glasses at Desa Potato Head are made out of cut beer bottles.

Recycled plastics as coasters and a tissue box.

Dewa Legawa, Desa Potato Head’s assistant sustainability manager heads a tour for guests curious about the site’s sustainability programme. We are privy to the back of the house, where we witness how they manage the waste up until the production line. Legawa scoops out a pile of shredded HDPE plastics. These will be turned into chairs, toiletries and the like. He points out that the caps on the water bottles that we were given are made from them. At the Waste Lab, we see used plastics moulded into planks before they are fabricated into shape.

This is the “do good” portion in Desa Potato Head’s creed, “Good Times, Do Good”. Fostering a sustainability community in the hospitality sector is a long view of giving back to a planet that we’ve all been greedy to take from. But given that hospitality is still the resort’s primary objective, how does one maintain the good times even when the world is on fire?

“I think everybody still wants to have a good time,” Pestridge says. “Even though the world is on fire, I think there’s even more desire for people to have good times. We just want to do so by leaving as few footprints as possible. That’s why we feel good about coming to work every day.“What we’re doing with the waste facility and the waste centre, that’s an open blueprint. Anyone that wants to learn from us—or we can go to them—we can teach them what we’ve learnt. Zero waste isn’t a competitive advantage. It’s a journey that all of us should be on to make sure that Bali or wherever tourists are heading to is thriving.”

A Max Lamb-designed chair.

Eschewing the whole “do this or else” approach, this scrappy resort put its money where its mouth is and decided to lead by example. “If we can inspire change through our actions, then we’ve moved the world along on a better trajectory,” Pestridge adds, knowing that what they do is a drop in an ocean. But small changes repeated by many over time... that makes a difference.


I IMAGINE THE OBSTACLE BUILDING inside their heads; just the foolhardy notion of reaching that level of waste reduction. I imagine the manhours, the steep learning curves and the mistakes made along the way. But they have managed to do what all these larger hospitality institutions have struggled to do.

It’s the same with raising another human person. While my parents did what they could do in raising me, when it comes to my kid, I wanted to see if I can do it better. Fact of the matter is that it was sometimes exhausting but there were so many moments that were joyful. I hope he remembers the vacation, the good parts of it. Or, at least, be broadened by the experience that will shape him in the future.

Ronald Akili, founder of Desa Potato Head

One last memory. On our final day, I lay in the hammock outside of the balcony as tropic-laden tunes from Irama Pantai Selatan washed over me. The Indonesian band is performing at the Beach Club’s Live Sunset Sundays session, where a crowd is gathered around them. Inside the room, my wife rests, while my kid has given in to fatigue and is passed out on his bed.

I have a front-row seat to a sky on fire; the brilliant blaze brought about by the sun lazily descending into the ocean. If I didn’t know any better, it’s a picture-perfect apocalypse. My mind wanders.

At the end of the world, there’s no better place I’d rather be than with family. 

One&Only Kéa Island. KERZNER INTERNATIONAL

Clearly, this is not a comprehensive list. There are possibly hundreds of new hotels opening each year, but 2024 marks openings that may be first of the brand in the region, like The Singapore EDITION was for Asia Pacific in 2023. Otherwise, portfolios in cities that make so much sense that we're excited to see how the rendition turns out. Here are a couple to put on your travel radar.

The Standard, Singapore

The edgy hospitality brand continues its expansion in the Southeast Asian market following two openings in Thailand. Located on Orange Grove Road, The Standard, Singapore will feature 143 rooms and is one of the rare ground-up hotels constructed within prime Orchard area.

Aman Nai Lert, Bangkok

Amanjunkies can look forward to the second half of 2024, where the brand will open in the Thai capital's embassy district. The unconventional skyscraper features 52 suites and 50 residences across 36 levels, as well as an infinity pool at its peak.

Six Senses, Kyoto

The boutique accommodation finds its thoughtful concept matched with the traditional landscape of the heritage city. Set to open the first half of the year, Six Senses Kyoto arranges its 81 rooms around a courtyard. From onsite spa to meeting rooms with fireplaces, guests can certainly expect a ryokan-style welcome.

Rosewood, Doha

The two prominent towers take aesthetic inspiration from coral reefs surrounding Qatar seas and comprise 155 guestrooms and suites, 162 serviced apartments and 276 residences for rent. The ultra-luxe destination will have a total collection of ten lifestyle outlets, including its signature Manor Club.

One&Only Kea Island, Greece

Alongside the recently opened One&Only Aesthesis, Athens, the second Greek outpost occupies 65 hectares worth of beachfront on the Cycladic island of Kéa. With private pools, terrace, courtyard and fireplace for each villa, the resort also offers private homes with nearly 360-degree views of the Aegean sea.

Romeo Roma, Rome

After the original in Naples, the sibling will open in spring by the city's Piazza del Popolo. In a palazzo dating all the way back to the 17th century, the hotel is also one of the last projects from the late Zaha Hadid, whose architectural touch you may observe in the furnishings and lashings of Italian marble.

Locke, Paris

Due to open this autumn, the hybrid hospitality pioneers of extended stay is developing the acquired historic property in a 145 room aparthotel across seven floors. The 18th century mansion on the Latin Quarter will see 1000 sqm of social spaces under a restored glass atrium.

Mandarin Oriental, Mayfair

On the heels and within the vicinity of Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park, the sister hotel will sit its 50 rooms and suites in Hanover Square. Besides a rooftop bar and urban spa, amongst its lifestyle offerings is the first namesake restaurant of Chef Akira Back to open in UK.

Sea Blue—a new colour to add to your collection.

If you're already feeling the blues about being officially back to work after a weekend of some intense New Year-partying (the hangover doesn't get any easier, does it?), RIMOWA is turning those emotions into something more pleasant. That's right, a few days in to 2024 and we're already getting a new colour for the RIMOWA Essential series.

Like the many other colours prior, Sea Blue takes inspiration from the myriad of destinations that a RIMOWA luggage could potentially bring one to. While the rest may have been more specific in their points of reference, Sea Blue takes a more generic approach but one that just about anyone can appreciate. The regenerative influence of the sea—pretty appropriate given the new year—inspired the soft, pastel-hued Sea Blue that's still richly saturated yet calming at the same time. It's best captured in the series of shorts lensed by Francesco Nazardo. Set against the interiors and poolside of a 1950s home located in the outskirts of Barcelona, the Sea Blue series is beautifully highlighted as a soothing accessory.

If you're already familiar with RIMOWA's Essential series, its interior remains dependable as ever albeit slightly reworked. What used to be two separate compartments divided by the brand's adjustable Flex Divider, one side is now equipped with fully zipped lining designed for more secure storage. The main compartment (where the telescopic handles are housed) is separated by the Flex Divider that's also fitted with a zipped compartment enough for small loose items.

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Aside from the main trio of the Essential collection—Cabin, Check-In L, and Trunk Plus—Sea Blue is also available in a range of travel accompaniments. A toiletry pouch and packing cubes in three different sizes complete the offering meant to help make organisation a breeze.

Question now is: Where's the destination?

The RIMOWA Essential collection in Sea Blue will be available in boutiques and online from 4 January 2024.

"The Two Forms" by Zhang Xian. CONRAD

I was told that I would not recognise Shenzhen on my arrival this time around. In four decades, what was once a quiet fishing town has since transformed into one of China’s top smart cities. Hometown to telecoms giant Huawei, amassing skyscrapers that share centralised air-conditioning systems for sustainability, the Silicon Valley of China currently stands as a modern miracle.

So, somewhat anti-climactic to admit that I would not be able to discern the difference regardless. I was barely a fledging the last time I visited, over half that duration ago. The only thing I recall is its proximity to Hong Kong, which has not changed. A health-declared hop, checkpoint-cleared skip and a 15-minute train ride away, I find myself in the thriving tech hub.

Then, at the foot of the reason I returned: the first Conrad hotel to open in the Qianhai area. The latest addition to Conrad’s portfolio overlooks the expanding business district on one side and Qianhai Bay on the other. All 300 rooms and 28 suites offer views of either, starting from a generous 56 square metres.

Deluxe King room. CONRAD

While it is common for hotels not to meet the tentative launch date generally used as a guide, Conrad Shenzhen had, in fact, surpassed the targeted timeline with its early completion. Not surprising, when construction here works around the clock in shifts. It may not be an exaggeration to say new towers pop up every month.

If the rapid rag-to-riches (or rather, village-to-metropolis) growth seems familiar, there are many other parallels with our own model development. “It’s like Singapore here,” the Conrad team enthuses, “Everything is constantly changing and moves very quickly. We call it ‘Shenzhen speed’.”

Reception lobby. CONRAD

It is intriguing, thus, to see how the narrative of this evolution is woven into the hotel’s aesthetics. The first to greet guests at the entrance is “The Two Forms”; a pronounced sculpture rooted in yin and yang ethos that depicts the origin of the world. Symbolising the birth of Shenzhen and the nascence of the hotel, I personally saw it as a great signifier of the artful journey that begins upon entering.

I say that because there are over a hundred artworks on display throughout the 23 floors, with 17 major ones from notable local artists. All express traditional Chinese philosophies, the cultural ties of the city, or hopeful intent to the viewer in their individual ways and mediums. Most prominently, the two fishing village-inspired installations by Palace Museum’s antique restorer and young scholar Huang QiCheng, as well as his pièce de résistance above the reception.

Deluxe suite bedroom. CONRAD

These elegant motifs carry into the rooms. “The Fishing Boat in the Evening” (with a far more poetic name in Mandarin) by Austrian artist Rica Belna reimagines casted sunlight and fishing nets through a contemporary lens. Its placement is also an easter egg for guests, and that’s the only hint I will give
about it.

Accents like bathroom hardware and fixtures take decorative cues from the silhouettes and navigation elements of a ship. Together with palettes of muted tans and rose-copper tones to burnished gold and ambient browns, it’s impressive how cohesive the visual direction crafted by world-renowned design firm YABU Pushelberg is.

I’m particularly fond of the lobby’s layout which draws from a Chinese architectural principle key to Guangdong and Shuzhou heritage houses. The fifth floor is partitioned into three “in” and “out” sections, clearly demarcating the front desk, lifts and dining establishments into pockets whilst still sharing the main space.

Collective Bar. CONRAD

Dining is another aspect that would be unfair to leave out. There’s Chinese restaurant CH’AO, in reference to what Teochews refer to as Chaozhou cuisine, showcasing locally sourced seasonal ingredients. The experience contrasts between beholding a bold spectacle of gastronomy in the open kitchen and savouring humble but meaningful homage to ancestral food.

Things take a different turn at The Common Room. By morning, a versatile purveyor of choices. You won’t regret the Shrimp-broth Seafood Congee from the a la carte menu, but the open buffet’s variety easily makes you anticipate every breakfast. Come noon till dark, it shapeshifts into a French degustation of courses like Velouté De Fenouil à La Normande, Truffle Fois Gras Mousse, and Halibut with artichoke barigoule served under a creative fish skeleton garnish of seaweed.

The restaurant shares its nine-meter ceilings with Azaleas lounge for light bites and signature afternoon tea. The outdoor terrace leads to Collective Bar, which awakens at dusk. This is where they prove the best thing to compliment an alfresco cocktail is amazing grilled delights and front-row seats to the sunset. As you settle into the patio’s plush velvet chairs, you may just spot the next big thing the speedy city is working on.

Conrad Shenzhen is located at No. 5001 Tinghai Road, Nanshan District, Shenzhen 518066, Guangdong Province, China.

The dents and scuffs on an aluminium RIMOWA luggage tell stories. Like unintentional tattoos (unless you’re deliberately exerting force on your RIMOWA, which isn’t something anyone in their right mind does), they are truly individual and unique. They’re natural markings of the physical journeys it has gone through every time you boarded a coach, train, ship or plane.

“We consider scratches and dents that appear as the suitcase’s patina,” expresses RIMOWA. It’s almost unheard of that a luxury brand encourages the wear of its products, especially given how the price tag of luxury pieces conjures up a sense of preciousness. Yet, it’s a testament to the craftsmanship that the German brand applies to its landmark hardwearing luggage designs, including the industry-changing polycarbonate innovations that it pioneered in 2000.

RIMOWA’s journey of materiality is a reflection of the centuries-long evolution of travel itself. Its founding in 1898—then named after founder Paul Morszeck—was centred on luggage made of hardwearing wood cleverly constructed to be stable and lightweight. In 1937, RIMOWA launched its first aluminium trunk, an innovation inspired by the use of duralumin (a hardy and lightweight aluminium-copper alloy) in German aircraft. And with baggage weight restrictions becoming a modern travel concern, its introduction of polycarbonate as an engineered solution was nothing short of revolutionary.

There is almost an obsessive need for the brand to constantly craft out designs to solve industry-specific issues. RIMOWA, in 1976, developed waterproof cases to give photographers venturing out into unpredictable environmental conditions a reliable means to protect their equipment. One of the brand’s most iconic creations, the Pilot Case, was specifically designed with a hinge that allows it to be opened from the top to make its contents easily accessible by pilots in the cockpit. Then there were cases for violins, cases to fit one or 12 bottles of wine, poker attachés, watch cases and a slew of other pieces made for very specific functions—all to make one’s journey more seamless and elevated.

The proof is evident in the scores of individuals who have made RIMOWA part of their journeys. Its recent Seit 1898 touring exhibition showcased a number of well-used RIMOWA cases (owned mostly by noted international creatives), each marked by the numerous memories and experiences shared. Dents, scratches and even scuffed up stickers on the luggage add character to otherwise cold inanimate objects, not to mention stand as testimony to RIMOWA’s durable craftsmanship.

So serious is its commitment to ensuring each RIMOWA luggage builds a lifetime of memories, that the brand began offering a lifetime guarantee earlier this year. Luggage purchased from 25 July 2022 are now automatically protected by the brand for the entirety of its lifespan. Any functional issues that arise throughout a luggage’s life, henceforth, will be covered under this new directive. This means that aside from any cosmetic wear and tear, misuse or abuse, RIMOWA is dedicated to making sure that your luggage functions as originally intended, for as long as possible. Items outside of the brand’s regular luggage catalogue—from eyewear to tech accessories to special edition suitcases—are protected in a similar capacity for two years.

A RE-CRAFTED programme has also been introduced. While it is a sustainability-driven initiative by the brand to extend the life of pre-loved RIMOWA pieces, it can also be considered as an adoption of someone else’s memories. RE-CRAFTED pieces retain most of the original façade (dents and all) and depending on the condition of its other elements, they’re either cleaned and fixed or completely replaced to ensure that the piece is fully functional and just as reliable as a new RIMOWA piece.

There is no definitive answer to what a RE-CRAFTED piece might have gone through—the places it’s travelled, situations it’s caught in, or perhaps the number of times it’s made its way to an unintended destination (it happens). Therein lies the beauty.

What is next for RIMOWA? There’s no crystal ball to read. But if history tells us anything, the brand is probably already cooking up the next evolution of travel—experimenting and perfecting every nuance before officially releasing it to the public. It’s perhaps a seemingly endless journey for RIMOWA with its destination unknown. But then again, as they say: It’s not the destination that matters, it’s the journey.

Everyone is familiar with Samsonite. The luggage brand that's founded in Denver, Colorado is a juggernaut in the industry, having been around for 113 years now and with a presence in over 130 countries. If you're counting, that's an expansion into more than one country per year since its founding. Impressive.

Samsonite has achieved this by successfully striking a balance between style and functionality. It's one thing to survive any journey, but doing that while being easily recognisable on the baggage claim conveyor belt and looking like a luxurious piece of accessory is no meant feat.

In celebration of the brand's achievements thus far in the luggage space and beyond, Samsonite unveils Destination Samsonite: Voyaging Through Time. The Asia Pacific exhibition lands in Singapore for a limited time and promises to be an immersive experience in discovering the inner workings of the brand as well as its century-long heritage. With innovation constantly on the brand's horizon, Destination Samsonite: Voyaging Through Time also gives glimpses to what's next for Samsonite.

The past

Explore Samsonite's journey in this interactive chart of its key moments.

To understand Samsonite's values and how it has evolved with time, it only makes sense to revisit its heritage. Destination Samsonite: Voyaging Through Time features a number of archive pieces that date back to the 1930s, groundbreaking icons the like of the Streamlite, Silhouette, Oyster and 4-Wheel Spinner as well as present-day pieces such as the C-Lite, Proxis, and Evoa—all meant to serve as representations of Samsonite's evolution from luggage manufacturer to a creator of smart travel solutions. Innovation is key and visitors will discover that Samsonite has got it in spades.

The present

The "Zero Gravity" and "Discover Durability" installations.
Test drive Samsonite's suspension wheels at "Abstract Terrains".

Three thematic installations serve to highlight Samsonite's continued commitment to quality. The use of superior materials not only ensures that each Samsonite piece looks great and functions seamlessly, but also built to last. At "Zero Gravity", the Attrix and C-Lite models will be suspended to showcase their lightweight make—thanks to Roxkin™ and Curv® materials respectively—while "Discover Durability" invites visitors to put Samsonite luggage through a tumble test in order to view first-hand how they withstand force and pressure. Then there's "Abstract Terrains" where Samsonite wheels are tested on their durability and manoeuvrability over different terrains.

The future

Discover Samsonite's three upcoming releases.

Through it all, the future is where Samsonite is constantly looking towards. Destination Samsonite: Voyaging Through Time ends with the introduction of the next stage of Samsonite's evolution through three new releases: the Evoa Z, SBL Major-Lite and New Streamlite. The Evoa Z is an evolution of one of the brand's best-selling models Evoa, with a new minimal and modern design. The SBL Major-Lite is crafted from the lightweight Curv® material and is designed especially for the modern traveller. A limited-edition collection, the New Streamlite is inspired by Samsonite's heritage Streamlite collection, combining modern stylings with timeless design.

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Destination Samsonite: Voyaging Through Time opens to the public from 1 – 4 November 2023 at 72-13 Gallery, Mohamed Sultan Road, Singapore 239007. Sign up online to visit the exhibition.

So you like to travel, big whoop. The thing is; we all have different travel styles, and take vacations for different purposes. Whether you take exploring seriously, or are the kind to lament about another overseas conference you have to attend whilst secretly rejoicing at the business class tickets (oddly specific, we know), Samsonite is your best bet when it comes to what you need. A name practically synonymous with luggage, it has a selection offering remarkable durability, impeccable style and a limited 10-year global warranty. Take your pick.

Rugged: PROXIS

All lined up like a '90s boyband. SAMSONITE

You think the countries your peers visit are overrated. You consider travel half your millennial personality, and would rather spend on experiencing the world than saving up for a house. Then you'll need the remarkable resilience of an outer shells made from RoxkinTM, a proprietary multi-layered material developed by the brand to withstand a little roughing up. Made in Europe, it has that top-notch functionality with expandable capacity and TSA® lock with kissing sliders.

  • 55cm
  • 75cm
  • 81cm
  • SGD780
  • SGD880
  • SGD980

Frequent: MINTER

Almost too cool for you. SAMSONITE

A fan of short getaways and inevitable work outposts, you're the type to flood Instagram stories with shots at the airport or on the plane. The perfect cabin companion here would be one that features a 360-degree multidirectional Aero-TracTM️ II Suspension Wheel System. With shock-absorbing suspension and built-in ball bearings mechanism, you get that seamless manoeuvrability alongside reduced noise and vibration. For eco-warriors, RECYCLEXTM️ material technology is used for the interior lining.

  • 55cm
  • 69cm
  • 75cm
  • SGD520
  • SGD580
  • SGD640

Fancy: UNIMAX

Look ma, no hands. SAMSONITE

You enjoy traveling in style. Which is also a nice way of saying you're a high-maintenance traveler, but that's probably why you seek the best with Samsonite. Literally Best of the Best winner by RedDot Award, the timeless, minimalist design comes with corner protectors, Microban®️ antimicrobial technology, and anti-theft zipper with magnetic zipper puller. Besides a laptop compartment in the front for check-in sizes, the flat top opening construction and expander maximise packing space. And get this; the Aero-TracTM️ Whirl Suspension Wheel System's brake function allows it to halt easily even when heavily loaded.

  • 55cm
  • 69cm
  • 75cm
  • SGD730
  • SGD810
  • SGD900

Samsonite PROXIS, MINTER and UNIMAX are available online and in select stores.

There's a George Carlin joke, about how we tend to have too much stuff. The things that matter to you; the knick-knacks you've accrued in your life, they are stored in your house. As Carlin would say, "A house is just a pile of stuff with a cover on it." But when you travel, "you gotta take a smaller version of your house." That, mes amis, would be your luggage. But not any old baggage; it has to be one that suits you—and aren't we all unique snowflakes in a diverse world?

Lipault Paris, a brand that's the embodiment of positivity and unbridled inhibition. They are the silent companions, that steadfast porters. No matter where you go, no matter who you are, there is a Lipault Paris bag for you.

We just have to figure out which one. Let us help.

The Creative

Clockwise from left: Bracelet, ÉLIOU. Jeans, LOEWE. Tabi lace-ups, MAISON MARGIELA. Shirt, BODE. AirPods Max, APPLE

There’s no doubt that the Plume range is classic—but not at all boring. Sleek lines and padded handles signature to the brand sign to the very penchant for intuitive travel. The quietly unconventional models lack no original standard, surpassing a thoughtfully equipped TSA lock by undergoing seven tests to ensure quality akin to its Samsonite Group level. These life explorers satisfy self-expression and a keen eye for detail through timeless nuances, from personalised tags to luggage-pairing with any smart-sleeve Lipault item. Crafted in minimalist vision yet arrayed with the freedom of colours, the urban chameleons harmonise with any silhouette. Here, imagination is an unbridled statement—pick a colour that reflects your creative spirit and conquer the world.

The Business Traveller

Clockwise from left: MacBook Air, APPLE. Blazer, BRUNELLO CUCINELLI. Pen, MONTBLANC. Tie, TOM FORD. Santos de Cartier Automatic Chronograph, CARTIER

The 24H Bag is the perfect sidekick for the fast-paced company man. Consider it as a modern briefcase primed to match an evolving workplace that would now be anything from the corporate address, the airport, a suite, or the makeshift beachfront office while allegedly working from home. The mobile carrier easily complements one constantly on the move. Where career becomes lifestyle, versatility is not up for compromise. The modern design features a main compartment that's organised into four pockets, and efficiently delivers on all tasks in 100 per cent recycled PET outer fabric and interior lining. Pro tip: pack in business essentials in the 24H Bag as a carry-on, drop-off your main luggage at the hotel concierge, and head off for meetings without missing a beat.

The Weekender

Clockwise from left: Packable tote bag, BEYOND THE VINES. Shirt, GUCCI. Sneakers, NIKE. Shorts, LORO PIANA. Skincare set, GRAIL

Like an emergency pack to dispel life’s routine monotony, the City Plume Weekender exists ready to accommodate last-minute adventures. With large pockets to encompass any destination and quick accessibility for a speedy getaway, this go-to kit breezes past conveyor belts straight out of custom gates. Suffice for the spontaneity is its reinforced twill nylon or polyurethane construct with a matte rubber finish—two strong, water-repellent fabrics that are simultaneously soft enough to maximise packing space. With a smooth shoe change made possible on its right side, no other travel buddy would be quite as flexible as the short jaunt’s itinerary.

The Family Guy

Clockwise from left: Sunglasses, OLIVER PEOPLES. Plush toy, HERMÈS. SL2 camera, LEICA. Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Chronograph, PATEK PHILIPPE. Mules, VALENTINO GARAVANI

Devoted, dependable, and a-dad-ptable, the Foldable Cabin Duffle is dedicated to the needs of the clan. The roomy piece is great for both storage and handling, transforming from a flat compact into functional baggage on two wheels in a snap. Arguably better than a backpack, the space saver effortlessly slides below the bed, over the wardrobe and even under a plane seat in compliance with airline regulations. This practical marvel comes with a sizable capacity to house items for the little or not-so-little ones, as well as a tailor-made cover to protect its portable form. Bad dad puns not included.

The E-Gamer

Clockwise from left: Powerstation Pro AC, MOPHIE. PRO X 2 LIGHTSPEED wireless gaming headset, LOGITECH. Cap, COS. Hoodie, HUGO. Razer Blade 17 laptop, RAZER

No better gear suited to the swift reflexes of virtual life than the Lost in Berlin Travel Backpack. Organised with smart compartments and an included packing cube, the lightweight bag is engineered with a laptop compartment that'll snugly fit a 17-incher. It is a lean, mean vehicle for various possessions, further enhanced with adjustable bandwidth at its peak. It is a coordinated team player, optimised for the mechanics of physical and digital realities. Taking inspiration from the underground, industrial mood of the Lost in Berlin collection, this is one style manoeuvre that’s not complex to execute. If anything, it’s only clever strategy.

Find the full range of Lipault's travel and lifestyle pieces here

Son Heung-Min and the TUMI Extended Trip Packing Case Silver.
Photo by Tumi

Aesthetics matter—there's no doubt about that. We're all attracted to things that we find to be beautiful. And though that typically differs person to person, some things are pretty universal.

Like good design, for example. Tumi's 19 Degree collection exemplifies this with its distinct contours sculpted precisely at a 19-degree angle (hence the name). It's the kind of design aesthetic that's stunning on its own and unless it's an (highly) unlikely situation where the entire baggage carousel consists of variations of 19 Degree luggage, it grabs attention immediately.

Lando Norris and the Tumi Extended Trip Expandable 4 Wheel Packing Case Red.
Photo by Tumi
Tumi Extended Trip Expandable 4 Wheel Packing Case Hunter Green.
Photo by Tumi

But of course, aesthetics are not everything, especially when it relates to design.

"At Tumi we find beauty in elements that aren’t typically thought of as beautiful, from the smooth glide of the wheels to the resilience of 19 Degree's aluminium," says Tumi creative director Victor Sanz.

The design engineering behind the 19 Degree collection is highlighted in Tumi's latest campaign, 'Essentially Beautiful'. Fronted by Tottenham Hotspur forward Son Heung-Min and Formula 1 driver Lando Norris, the campaign showcases the effortlessness of the collection in motion. Beyond that—and something not distinguishable by look alone—the campaign stills display the full collection's signature exterior that are consciously made from post-industrial recycled polycarbonate, with lining derived from post-consumer recycled plastic bottles.

The latest Tumi 19 Degree collection also features a slew of seasonal colours. Red, hunter green, blush and deep plum offer more bold options, in addition to two new textured colourways.

19 Degree Aluminium Carry On Texture Blush.
Photo by Tumi
Tumi International Carry On Matte Black.
Photo by Tumi
19 Degree Extended Trip Aluminium Packing Case Matte Black.
Photo by Tumi

So yes, aesthetics matter. But couple that with good design engineering and you'll probably end up with a luggage series that makes life a tad easier and aesthetically pleasing.

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