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.
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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