E13 is a design workshop founded by Joseph Kinzelman, Ryan Ball and Travis Hope, a trio of Ohio natives who met at the University of Cincinnati's architecture program. Insofar as "the architectural design process is subject to great economic, political and time constraints, their "interest lies in the connection between the design process and the physical outcome of that process," where E13 is an outlet for "a design process driven by the act of making," with special focus on materiality as it constitutes both utility and beauty.
This approach is embodied by E13's latest design, the Day Bag. It's more or less a standard duffle with a removable shoulder strap that can be stored in a dedicated pocket when not in use, with the advantage of packability: "The day bag can be rolled up to cut down on space when it's not in use. The handle strap can be unhooked and strapped around the rolled up bag to keep a compact shape."
Of course, there's more to the Day Bag than meets the eye, lest its minimalist form factor and rugged functionality belie its humble provenance...
The Day Bag is made almost entirely from reclaimed materials, sourced from "cars in junkyards across Ohio": the shell is a driver side airbag, lined with the passenger side airbag; the straps are made from seatbelts. Its unassuming origin dictates its physical qualities—i.e. size, shape and material—while making a remarkably handsome finished product: "After being cleaned, organized, and disassembled they are cut and sewn into duffles at our workshop. The airbags are used because of the beauty of the material, which weathers with use and darkens over time."
The physical character of the material is essential to E13's design practice; the rich patina imparts a sense of history and personality to each piece.
Similarly, the airbag—a mundane object that most of us (hopefully) will never see in our lifetimes—is an unconventional object in itself, prompting further explanation for its inexplicably purposeful appearance: the material is clearly durable to the point of being a technical fabric, yet it remains invisible in everyday experience, evoking a kind of unfamiliar familiarity.