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Concept to Creation: Palissy 25-hour

Published 5 months ago

Man wearing long white jacket and brown large briefcase leans on glass wall which shows his reflection

It’s one thing seeing the finished article, but what about the key design decisions that go into making a Carl Friedrik product? Step into the mind of our design team for a behind-the-scenes look at the product design journey, from obstacles overcome to moments of inspiration that sparked each range.

The Palissy family

Seen in HBO’s Succession, recommended by the New York Times Wirecutter and worn by tens of thousands of style-conscious workers worldwide, the Palissy family is our longest-running and best-selling bag range.


Later came Palissy Briefcase, Palissy Double and Palissy Weekend, but the bag that started it all was Palissy 25-hour: a refined everyday bag comfortable between the office, gym and social settings, not to mention the odd overnight excursion. We like to think of it as function and finesse, all in one.

Side profile of three Carl Friedrik Palissy bags

The inspiration

Modern, urban life is dynamic and we need our accessories to accommodate this. The days of the city worker relying solely on the hard-sided, box-shaped briefcase to cart around their everyday carry are, thankfully, long gone.

Many require the capacity of a weekend bag to hold all their daily essentials — from gym wear to oversized Apple MacBooks — but are rightfully reluctant to compromise on style. Office dress codes are increasingly relaxed though sartorial flair still has its place.

So the goal with Palissy 25-hour was to design a hybrid bag. Something that wouldn’t look out of place in the boardroom yet could hold its own on the storage front.

“Super flexible: can be used as a briefcase or an overnighter” — Osprey

Sleek brown leather briefcase placed on chair

Traditional gym bags tend to be wide, poorly conceived from an organisational perspective and difficult to carry. So we knew what would become Palissy 25-hour had to retain a quasi-briefcase look and have multiple use cases.

There were no bags with this form factor on the market — but we like a challenge.

The design considerations

1. Sturdy and upright look

Ensuring that Palissy 25-hour had a clean-lined, sleek aesthetic was a key priority. We wanted customers to feel confident as they strolled into the office with it. And for it to retain this shape over time.


The majority of leather bags are made by stitching the bags inside out and then turning them, resulting in folded edges. This construction is suitable for soft materials but is not suitable for stiffer leather. In general, it is also an easier and cheaper method, as there aren’t any raw edges that need finishing.


To counter this, all Palissy edges are exposed, created by additional gusset panels. These additional pieces of leather have the triple effect of re-enforcing the bag, creating space and, crucially, achieving an unyielding construction.

“The leather retains it’s shape even under load” — Adrian W.

Finding a factory to replicate this construction proved a challenge. It’s a very involved process that’s hard to perfect, but we got there. 


The Vachetta leather that we settled on was not enough to pull off the upright shape alone. Hence each leather panel is reinforced with salpa, a type of bonded leather that makes the overall design more rigid.

Man in white jumper holds premium brown leather briefcase over his upper arm

2. Maximum capacity

Creating a bag with the aesthetic of a briefcase and the capacity of an overnighter presents obvious issues. After all, these two bag models are pretty much at odds.

To resolve this design conundrum we opted for a tapered profile. Being wider at the base than the top means Palissy 25-hour users can place a spare pair of shoes at the bottom and efficiently stack a day’s worth of items upwards from there. The tapered silhouette also avoids the pitfall of being clunky, similar to a traditional overnighter-style bag.

“Does what it promises in terms of space” — Max L.

Despite its capacity, Palissy 25-hour can still be comfortably transported in hand or over your shoulder. From meetings to post-work festivities and the late-night commute home, it has you covered. 

3. Organisation on the move

Functionality is a cornerstone of Carl Friedrik. Everything we release aims to make life easier for those who are always on the move.

This extends to Palissy 25-hour, which is fitted with a range of practical features designed to help compartmentalise your carry. Take the easy-access slip pocket on the side panel: essential for seamlessly retrieving passports and boarding documents while in the airport.

Or the carefully considered internal layout, comprising a padded laptop compartment and multiple zipped or open pockets for stowing away valuable smaller items. It’s important to note that wherever possible we try to retain an uncomplicated look and feel. Nothing inessential, nothing out of place.

The result is a well-ordered bag, guaranteed to set you up for a productive day.

Cropped image of a premium brown leather briefcase

The leather

The million-dollar question: which leather to use? After much research, we couldn’t look past Vachetta. This premium variety of full-grain, vegetable-tanned leather is produced mainly in Tuscany and has a rich Italian heritage. 


Due to its high-fat content, the leather has a soft and luxurious feel. It also excels on the durability front, as it’s produced from the toughest part of the cowhide. 


The natural tanning process and absence of leather treatment mean that all Palissy 25-hour bags get better with age. Over time they will develop a rich and unique patina: the hallmark of quality leather.

The tannery

With over 100 years of leather-making experience under their belt, we’re proud to source our Vachetta leather from distinguished Florentine tannery, Artigiano del Cuoio.

Artisanal craft is at the heart of everything they do, including mastering the ancient tanning technique of vegetable tanning. This method is natural, slow and labour-intensive, but the quality of the product speaks for itself.

Couple that with the tannery’s ethical, sustainability-minded approach and it was clear we were onto a winning partnership.

Man in white jumper and black trousers leans on a glass wall holding premium brown leather briefcase

Takeaway

If you're after a stylish office bag with the dual ability to function as an overnighter, look no further than Palissy 25-hour. Backed by a lifetime guarantee, you can expect it to be by your side for years to come. 

Shop Palissy 25-hour

Palissy 25-hour

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Shop Palissy 25-hour

Palissy 25-hour

Shop now

Why metal feet?

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To keep the base of Palissy 25-hour off the ground whenever you place it down, reducing wear and tear over time.

Why a symmetrical zipper?

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Not only does it look better, but the fact it glides both ways makes for a more seamless user experience.

Why nylon canvas lining?

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Most bags opt for a thin cotton or polyester lining, which tends to get dirty quickly. Nylon canvas is resilient, sturdy and easy to clean.

Why matte hardware?

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The first iteration of Palissy 25-hour actually had nickel-plated hardware, however, we soon switched to matte because it’s more visually understated.