Text: Kiriaki-Domenika Chandra
The first Freitag bag was made in 1993 by the brothers Daniel and Markus Freitag while they were still studying. The first design they came up with, had the shape of a messenger bag. The bag has now acclaimed international fame; included in exhibitions at MoMA in New York and the Museum für Gestaltung in Zurich.
As graphic design students and fanatics of bicycle or ‘velo’, as named in Swiss dialect, they needed a comfortable bag, easy to use and protective for their drawings from the often rains. As far as choice of materials is concerned, it happened while watching outside the window of their student apartment towards a busy motorway with many trucks. As a result the idea to use recycled materials from the streets and return them as something new, came to them. This specific concept is the basis of their originality. Freitag bags are made from used tarpaulin out of trucks, safety belts from retired cars, worn out bicycle tires and recycled Airbags and today it has become a brand that travels beyond Swiss borders. Every Freitag product is literally unique; there aren’t two identical bags, each made out of different tarpaulins with various colours and designs. Furthermore, the F-Cut online program gives the opportunity to create a bag of preference. Freitag’s trademark is the Hardbrücke station store located in the industrial part of Zurich and built out of 17 old shipping containers. When sat on top, at 26 meters height with view towards the centre of Zurich, the lake and the train station, one too gazes at the highway where the raw material for the bags comes from: the passing trucks. Freitag’s fabrication unit is situated a few meters next door; a friendly and particularly pleasant factory of 2,600 square meters. During our visit we met young and smiley staff, we saw timber recycling containers of all materials, knifes and numerous organised, archived and stored tarpaulin rolls ready to be cut. Sascha Koglmeier, brand manager, took us on a tour throughout the manufacturing line of all forty different Freitag products. And it is a fact that all two thousand pieces produced yearly, are cut there by hand!
Freitag products are available in Greece at SHOP, Ermou St. 112A.