We make boxes without borders. You’d like an octagonal box? Sure. Want a lid that pops like a Jack-in-the-box to reveal an exploding concertina of colours? We’ve got just the thing. How about one that doubles as a tambourine? Not a problem.
The latest addition to the impressive line up, 29 has eight corners... but that's the only ordinary thing about it.
It’s a box of contradictions, at once both new and effortlessly timeless. The endearing packaging is designed to last so it's perfect for reusing once all your lovely products are gone for under-bed storage or as a cheery addition to the tops of wardrobes. It will also stand the test of time as an eye-catching room decoration. MinaLima, the designers behind firm favourites of the gift collection Happy Bathday and our vibrant Buying Map knot-wrap, were inspired by vintage travel when they were creating the design behind the classic looking red and gold trunk. ‘It needed a refined, boutique aesthetic. We looked at 1920s luxury luggage as reference.'
This combination of timeless expertise with fresh thinking is similarly replicated by the specialist box-making company that create them. In Essex, a 30 plus strong team have been refining handmade techniques for over 20 years, manufacturing unique, bespoke designs.
Noel Greenwood, Managing Director of the company said, ‘It’s an unusual box. It’s kind of pushed the boundaries a little; we’ve probably never done a job that’s got both handles and locks on it!' The newest offering features 100% recycled unlined grey board, paper from sustainable sources and water-based glue, making it the ideal combination of durable, bright and environmentally-conscious.
We took a trip to see the process in action.
Around the bustling room, each team member has their own area of expertise. On one station – guaranteed to give you flashbacks to days spent laminating homework diaries or attempts in the kitchen to perfectly shape a Swiss roll – the boxes are being wrapped and rubbed down with a tool dramatically named ‘the bone’ (thankfully, it's not a real bone). On another, Jade and Aggie tap intricate metal handles into place, the fiddly task taking astounding levels of dexterity to perform quickly. Aggie explains, ‘We are all trained on the job and those that have been here longer will typically have more skills. For example, I am one of only four people who can run the ‘staying up’ machine (a process that enables the box to keep its shape during the wrapping process), and I have recently been trained to run the ‘clicker press’ (a machine that punches shaped apertures in already assembled boxes).’
Overseeing this potentially chaotic environment are experienced supervisors – and surprisingly, sisters – Maria and Doris. The cheerful pair have been working together at the company for 15 years, and have been in the box-making business for even more. For them, no day is the same and they remained undaunted by the complexity of 29, ‘It’s something new. I like a challenge and this was a challenge!’
By the end of the day, the (unsurprisingly now a little cramped) room is packed high with the vintage style trunks. It resembles a scene from a 1920s dockside with luggage piled high ready to be packed and transported around the world. The only question that remains is: where will you take yours?