Designing a Transformative Utility Tote


As a supplement to our Edit, here, we elaborate on the design of our tote of note. This piece was conceived in our studio as a response to a simple need: the transportation of a variety of items that we felt deserved special attention from a containment perspective. Flexible enough to delicately hold flowers and drawings, but structured and adaptable to enclose virtually any item, whether for the purpose at the market or for a day at the beach.

The piece was developed during the summer months in 2019, in collaboration with the lifestyle brand that 26 Projects very often celebrates – The Superior Labor. The combination of our approach to design and utility with their knowledge and experience in the assembly of leather and canvas material resulted in a re-imagined, structured, and multi-functional bag, carefully detailed and built to transform to one’s needs.


Photos by Pauline Boldt.


The studio engaged in an interesting process of design, wherein the integrity of the material helped to guide much of our decision making. As designers, we love a challenge and finding new ways, but we have learned that material also teaches us to be humble and to follow their natural rules. Natural materials were selected with guidance from The Superior Labor with their comprehensive understanding of how best to bring them together. Canvas, leather, and brass are expertly combined – they are all pleasant to the touch and durable in quality to allow for ease of maintenance and longevity.

Detail and Transformation

Functionality and customization are expressed through the integration of removable and adjustable soft leather shoulder straps, a structured base, and detailed side panels with brass zippers that work to transform the bag into one that is fully enclosed, or open on the side to allow for elongated items to fit securely. Brass fastenings and canvas straps are applied to the bag’s interior and exterior to allow for extra toting options. A traditional tote bag with a sense of timelessness, luxury, and ease, this piece is made to be functional with the intention that it finds a good home. We hope that one will reach for it as an everyday companion and that it quickly becomes integrated into everyday life. That is the intention, and would ultimately be the best compliment.

We want to express our thanks for the support and collaborative spirit of The Superior Labor for helping us bring the studio’s first product to life. Visit our 26 Market website to view this product and more from our curated collection of carriers and creative tools.