ITU Students Design for Samsonite
Nov 07, 2017

The ITU Industrial Product Design Department continues to develop innovative and inspiring projects with leading companies in the sector.

In the design competition of the Industrial Product Design Department "EUT315E Industrial Product Design III," the project titled "L-ite" by Gözde Özkaraman, an undergraduate student in her final year of study, was named one of the top 10 finalists for her design submission in the competition called "Next Generation Suitcases: One Size Fits All" by Samsonite; the intellectual property rights were acquired by Samsonite.

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New generation designs emerge from the project lesson

Product Design Department faculty, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Gülname Turan’s studio class led by research assistants Özturan and Kubra Dolap, in a competition among 16 students, designed a new generation of cabin-sized suitcases suitable for existing airway restrictions that could expand and contract. At the beginning of the class, students formed groups to explore topics such as the mobility concept, changing travel habits, airway restrictions, Samsonite's product range and brand image, market and competitor companies' status and strategies, conventional and innovative materials used in the sector and production methods. Students conducted end-user interviews in order to identify potential problems, developed their design ideas based on these research findings and competition guidelines with their studio critics and made their presentations based on all of the these details at the end of the 7 week project. Students also had access to the company, jury and user feedback on their projects at various stages through online seminars organized within the competition. The contest concluded in June 2017.

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The Prominent Concept: New Mobility

During the course of the project, students were expected to remain closely within the project scope as outlined by Samsonite while constructing the conceptual framework, while simultaneously anticipating travel habits and lifestyles in the near future. The focus was on reducing volume which was at the heart of the new mobility concept. Different solutions were developed for the problem of increasing and decreasing volumes. In order to implement these solutions, existing and possible material recommendations were made. For example, in Tuana Yilmaz's project, the main target-user was one who was concerned with the use of time, who was able to quickly and easily access the desired product from inside the suitcase, so that no time was lost during security checks. She took into account which items the traveler might need access to the most, and which areas they spent the most amount of time with their suitcase during travel. In addition to Samsonite's light and durable suitcase technology Curv, the minimalist lines of the proposed project, which included textured reinforced polypropylene expansion surfaces, added a new gamut proposal for the firm.

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In another prominent project, Sinem Bulut introduced a luggage proposal that doubled in volume by means of a slider for the person who collects memories of where they’ve been from frequent travel destinations and who is an active social media user. One of the most discriminating proposals in the design was to remove the use of zippers.

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"A design that offers use in 9 different sizes"

The Industrial Product Design project finalist who carried out the project within the scope of the contest was Gözde Özkaraman. Ozkaraman, who graduated from Kocaeli University with a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry and a Master's degree in polymer science and technology from the Graduate School of Science Engineering and Technology at Istanbul Technical University, decided to work in the private sector for 2 years and pursue her dreams: "for me, this was a very educational and engaging studio lesson. I designed a cabin bag that could be widened and folded in both directions so that the width and depth measurements would be adjustable so as to eliminate the problem for users whenever the cabin baggage measurements vary for different airlines. With the minimum and maximum dimensions included in the project scope, constraints such as product weight and target mass, I made it possible to use carry-on luggage in 9 different sizes as a result of a controlled expansion system for the product. " Aside from Gözde Özkaraman's work being the finalist, having it purchased by Samsonite for its production potential stands out from the point of view that ITU's university-industry collaboration initiative is not limited to engineering alone but shows a high level of competence in the design field as well. Congratulations to our students and academics.