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Jun 08, 2022

From work bag to pouch: when a backpack can do it all

Imagine a bag that allows you to whizz past hassle-free on your bike; then imagine a work bag that can hold your laptop and other digital devices; now think of a pouch for a casual dinner or to carry your essentials to your next business lunch. Packing all these needs into a single backpack was the challenge faced by alumnus Silvio Pompei, winner of the Contemporary mobility contest launched by I’M Corporate Lab, the tailored consulting service Istituto Marangoni provides to companies, enhancing the creativity of the best fashion, design and art students. Istituto Marangoni and bag and accessories brand Nava Design teamed up on this project.

Launched with Nava Design, the Contemporary mobility contest was won by alumnus Silvio Pompei. The prototype will be unveiled during Milano design week

Prototype of the project by alumnus Silvio Pompei, winner of the Contemporary mobility contest launched by Istituto Marangoni with I'M Corporate Lab for Nava Design

Thus, on 9 June, during Milan Design Week, Silvio Pompei will be honoured at a special event presenting his design prototypes made by Nava Design in the brand’s store on Via Durini.

“We chose to collaborate with Istituto Marangoni because it was essential for us to explore with young people the potential for a project that would be closer to the needs of people on the move. We also wanted it to be a mix between a fashion and a design project,” said Nava Design creative director Gian Carlo Soresina. 

With leather and work bags, travel accessories, iPhone and iPad cases, wallets and diaries, Nava Design has gained success by collaborating with some of the world’s most prominent designers, including Max Huber, Massimo Vignelli, Bob Noorda, Giulio Confalonieri, Enzo Mari, Heinz Waibl, Pino Tovaglia, Kuno Prey and Ettore Sottsass.

Therefore, it is no surprise that out of all the projects submitted, the Milan-based company in the business since 1970 has once again selected the project by an emerging, highly talented product and furniture designer, Silvio Pompei.

“Silvio Pompei’s Pocket II project impressed me because it is about urban mobility and for the designer’s idea of creating something that can be removed and used separately,” Soresina added.

Focusing on the evolving trends of people and their accessories, the project developed by Istituto Marangoni and Nava Design aimed to create a multifunctional accessory by adapting to new eras and new transport systems.

Alumnus Silvio Pompei, winner of the Contemporary mobility contest launched by Istituto Marangoni with I'M Corporate Lab for Nava Design

Alumnus Silvio Pompei in conversation with Nava Design creative director Gian Carlo Soresina

“As with all projects, the idea for the Pocket II backpack came to me from observing habits and from a desire to improve people’s experience with the objects we hold in our hands every day,” pointed out Pompei, who graduated cum laude in Product & Furniture Design Master’s programme at Istituto Marangoni’s Milan campus. Pompei is currently working at Otto studio, headed by architect, designer, art director and curator Paola Navone.

What’s new behind this backpack? It can do it all: “Pompei’s creation has a small pocket on the front, which makes it unique compared to all the other backpacks we had seen around until now,” said Nava Design’s creative director. “This external, removable pocket that turns into a handbag allows us to target a women’s consumer segment, which we don’t usually investigate, but is actually something interesting for us.”

“I do believe this kind of opportunity is key for emerging designers,” alumnus Silvio Pompei concluded. “It allows us to take our first steps in a very selective and competitive industry, giving our careers a boost.”



Clementina Bianchi