The luxury luggage brand Rimowa taps Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson to design suitcase stickers that may, momentarily, help you forget the misery that is modern travel.
Travel it’s one of the great pleasures of his life. But he finds the act of flying and moving through airports to be a dehumanizing experience. “I find that traveling creates a kind of numbness to the world,” he says. “Essentially, airports are all the same, the logistics of travel are always challenging, and it’s devoid of any meaningful interpersonal experiences.”
But there’s also a deeper message about the environment that undergirds this project. Air travel is a major source of carbon dioxide emissions. If you fly from New York to California, you are responsible for 0.9 metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is about 20% of what your car emits in one year. For the average person, flying makes up a significant portion of their overall carbon footprint, which comes to about 16.4 metric tons a year per capita.
All proceeds from the Rimowa sticker project will go the Little Sun Foundation, founded by Eliasson, and help realize its mission: delivering solar energy to the most vulnerable communities in the world. The stickers are designed to nudge people to think about the environmental impact of traveling, even as they travel. “I am not naive enough to think that my stickers will make people travel less,” Eliasson says. “But I am a strong believer in starting the conversation. And I think this is about reorganizing our values and being more focused on our planet.”