MAKE  •  [publish-year]

Bread, The Superior Labor, and a Flower Bag Evolution

As we were preparing to launch the retail arm of 26 Projects “26 Market”, we knew that, beyond curating a selection of goods from brands we admire, we wanted to engage every opportunity to contribute collaborative works to the collection.

Quite naturally, we asked our friends over at The Superior Labor (read our edit on their workshop and practice, here) to participate in our first collaborative project for the 26 Market. The product, though at that point was not yet conceived of, had a few initial criteria: it should be dynamic, neutral in style, and multifunctional. However, before we dive right into the process, perhaps some background on why we decided to create what we curiously and unofficially termed “the flower bag” as our first project.

The first phase of our 26 Market – a pop-up of sorts – began with selling fresh sourdough loaves, baguettes, and scones sourced from the locally-loved Pennyloaf Bakery. This was both an attempt to get to know the creative community – our neighbours occupying 70 Arthur – but also a way to make accessible some of the city’s finest baked goods right here in the Exchange District. Every Friday leading up to the holidays last December 2018, we would rise a little earlier than normal and pick up our crate of fresh baked bread and treats, and prepare for the rush of eager building mates to come through our doors.

Upon doing this, we thought increasingly more about other items that were astonishingly hard to come by in our neighbourhood – to offer at our pseudo market. We thought, of course, flowers! Who wouldn’t love a fresh bouquet of flowers on a Friday to surprise a loved one with or to enjoy over the weekend? So it began. Bread and flowers were sold together and even fresh wreaths were thrown into the mix for good measure.

The flowers evolved into a more engaged endeavour, as it was a chance for us to play, style, and photograph. We became flower obsessed, fixating on the various scenarios in which one would need to transport flowers delicately. From a garden, from a market, from one hand to another’s. Thus, The Flower Bag concept was born.

We presented the idea to the owners of The Superior labor whose workshop is located in Japan, just 50 km outside of Okayama on the mountain side. Remotely, we exchanged a few sketches and within a short period, we were holding the first prototype and examining it’s impeccable craft. The bag would be made of durable yet gentle canvas material that would soften with time, and hand-cut leather strapping for handles. It should be rigid yet soft and should lay flat when open; delicately designed to carry flowers, but accommodate the containment and transport objects in a variety of shapes and sizes. Items of almost unlimited length (architectural drawings, baguettes, carrots, etc) can be securely carried with the help of the cleverly-designed adjustable sides of the tote. The leather straps are removable to allow for ease of care and washing. For our first production run, we chose a natural canvas with tan, soft leather straps, and robust metal hardware. We aren’t afraid of a little colour over here. In fact, The Superior Labor applies colour to not only add aesthetic interest, but for waterproofing and durability. Perhaps you’ll see the next iteration in a bright apple red or army green. We’re looking forward!