Making life easier for the increasingly mobile modern professional is the aim of Paul Barmes and his brainchild, the Freebase.
He bills the patent-pending Freebase, now on Kickstarter, as a world first, a combination of carry-on, mobile office, and personal/leisure gear storage.
Barmes first dreamed up the Freebase in 2009 around three concepts – live, work, move. These aspects form the basis to the Freebase:
Live: Including four soft bags to cater for everyday items within an expandable space, plus zipped pockets for easy storage
Work: The lower compartment will house a laptop, tablet, files, etc.
Move: With the press of a button, the top compartment provides access to travel documents, cards, phone, adapters, and other bits and pieces
Barmes, whose background is in commercial furniture, says the Freebase enables seamless movement, between the office to the gym to the airport.
The Freebase is designed to be accessible while upright as well as laid flat, and is approved as carry-on for all major airlines.
The two external opening compartments are intended to easily separate business from personal, he says.
Barmes says 'activity-based working', while revolves around mobility and flexibility, has emerged in the age of wireless internet amid the rising costs of real estate and travel.
"It's enabling people to be a lot more flexible about how they work and where they work.
"Wireless has helped to remove some of the boundaries that restrict our freedom, allowing us to operate from a 'Freebase'."
Why Kickstarter? There were a few reasons, according to Barmes.
There's obviously the funding aspect, for one. But more than that, it was about raising awareness and getting the word out to the world about what they were doing (and Kickstarter's audience was perfect for this kind of innovative design). Plus, they wanted to beat the big brands like Samsonite before they released similar luggage designs of their own.
"They're all looking to find the ultimate in a mobile case that's carry-on, that's more business like," he explains.
He sees a large target market in the corporate world, and also anticipates selling online once the Freebase is in production.
Living Edge will distribute the Freebase in Australia, and showcased the product in an 'activity based working' collection back in August as part of Sydney In Design.
There's an exclusive agreement in place with a Chinese manufacturer, for whom the Freebase will open up a whole new market, he says.
Production is on track for January/February with a scheduled delivery date in April.
Either way, the Freebase is just months away from market, though Barmes is of course hoping for Kickstarters to stump up and help get the project across the line.