“Productsu” is just the name it has in my notebook.
If you’ve been following this disjointed series of design/concept posts, you’ll have noticed a certain theme besides the letter “P” (which I am about to ruin in the next post anyway). Packetsu and PodLife and indeed to a certain degree Balb are focussed on philosophies like “I don’t have a lot of space” (I live in a one-bedroom flat in London with two other people and my kitchen is roughly the size of a toilet cubicle), “shit could be more convenient than it is”, and “I am going places a lot”.
I spend a frankly unhealthy amount of time looking at travel/camping goods for design purposes, as generally speaking if you’re going to lug something around with you to work (liable to be plunged into the joyless state of eight hours outside of the normal operating time of shops, it’s not like you can just pop out and grab something) it’s better if that thing is small and convenient and tessellates comfortably in the bag you have chosen for its ability to be carried three miles first thing in the morning. Also it shouldn’t be heavy, because three miles, first thing in the morning, after working all night.
This has led to some interesting and useful discoveries and some experimental purchases, most of which have a limited shelf life but are handy while in use. One thing that pains me, though, is the aforementioned bag.
Bags are kind of annoying. I mean, they’re flexible and useful but effectively they’re just a sack you hurl things into in order to lose them. They try to rectify this by having the odd pocket here and there, but that’s just a miniature bag for you to lose smaller things in and forget about as and when.
Also, bags are kind of a discrete unit: you can’t really make the bag smaller to fit the situation, or if you want to take something out and not have that turn into everything slopping around the bottom of a whole even bigger, more empty sack, where you still can’t find anything, and everything is deeply annoying, and stuff shifts around while you’re walking, which is no good for transporting delicate things, and you get thrown off balance if you decide to run anywhere.
You want smaller for your less stuff, you have to buy a whole other bag, which will come with its own set of inconveniences and annoyances. This is some serious stone-age technology. We really have not updated the situation and while I gather that it’s a case of “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” —
Bags, man. They’re sort of the least worst solution to the “I need to carry shit” situation.
Packetsu to Productsu
While I was mulling over the possibilities of Packetsu (remember: I work night shift, this is the kind of thing that happens to your brain), it occurred to me that a system of discrete units which can be put together to create something else would work in other areas. For, say, travel. For transporting food and electronics and books and suchlike to work every evening, for example.
I thought wouldn’t it be neat if anything you bought – a top (as they do sometimes in UniQlo and American Apparel come in sealed bags), an iPod, a wallet, a pair of flipflops – really, anything… came with an option to purchase it in an object-fitting water-proof/resistant nylon pouch that exactly fitted the thing. Perhaps padded, for more delicate stuff, but overall the kind of small tough thing you could later roll up and pop in a pocket. And what if that pouch had various attachments/attachment areas that allowed you to, for example, connect it in a number of configurations with any other pouch, as many as you liked, until you had a roll or a mat or a tube or a belt or whatever, and what if every since pouch also had the ability to connect a carabiner or a keyring or some clip on/off straps for over the shoulder or rucksack carrying, or a wrist loop?
And what if you could buy all that shit separately, the way you can buy individual shelves for systems in IKEA?
And what if you could buy waterproof wrappers for when your roll of bags needed protecting more solidly from the elements? And what if you could have stiffer, more durable pouches for more rugged travel? A place for everything, everything in its place, everything transportable via as many ways as is convenient. Heck, have an individual lipstick tube bag. Have a small make-up case bag and wear it like a bandolier. Have each component available separately. Have “Bag/Not Bag” options of any given product. Make life easier, more convenient, and make me spend less time trying to play bag Tetris with a paperback and a travel mug and a fucking umbrella every time I want to get access to a packet of crisps.
Edited to add: An option a little like this but of course without the product-tie in exists. Modular luggage is a step in the right direction, but not far enough!