20ltd

Special edition ‘Henk’ suitcase with purple leather interior by Henk


One snowy New York morning in 1991, a really very remarkable Dutchman by the name of Henk van de Meene landed with heavy luggage at a porter less LaGuardia airport at the height of the Christmas travel crunch and resolved to design himself a suitcase. Fourteen years later, with the help of Spark Design & Engineering and Frog Design (of Apple Mac fame) the ‘Henk’ was born – not so much a suitcase as a Mission Impossible 7 props department made real.

A Henk really is a quite extraordinary object. It has 500 separate component parts for a start – 22 of them moving - fashioned variously from red Italian burl, black Madagascar ebony, horse hair, magnesium, aluminum, titanium, parachute fabric and the finest leathers. At the heart of the invention and the key to its phenomenal strength (you can sit on it) and astonishing lightness is its carbon-fibre composite shell baked in an autoclave oven like the cockpit of a formula 1 car. Its mechanisms are particularly Bond-like, subtly positioned and with treacle-smooth actions. Depress an ebony button on the handle, pull up the handle, and two 6 1/4" diameter titanium wheels emerge noiselessly from louvered doors within the case, like landing gear emerging from an airplane. When fully deployed, these sit 10 1/4" off centerline, giving the case so fine a balance that, when pulled, it feels almost weightless. Even fully loaded it exerts only 25 grams of pressure on one's fingers. That means you can command its motions literally with a single finger-tip. Every feature of the case moreover can be operated by one hand, from a little keyboard of silver levers set alongside the handle. Some of these, when pressed, open hidden intuitively placed nacelles along the top of the case that could hold glasses or a cell phone. Other levers open two main compartments, set on either side of the case. One holds a spectacularly chic briefcase. (You could just as easily keep a laptop computer here.) The compartment on other side is empty; it's here you'd pack the bare essentials for an overnight and presumably highly-remunerative business trip – during which, if you want a well-deserved power-nap, you can attach yourself to your Henk with a Liquid Crystal Polymer anti-theft cable.

And we could (genuinely) go on…

Suffice to say that a Henk is the kind of the thing that you wouldn’t think anyone today had the time, ingenuity, manufacturing integrity or commercial courage to produce. We are very pleased that Mr. van de Meene did.

This special edition Henk with purple leather interior has been created exclusively for 20ltd.com and is limited to only 5 editions.

Details
  • No. of editions: 5
  • Delivery time: Immediate
  • Price: £19,620.00
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