Solid Gray \ Lijmbach, Leeuw & Vormgeving

• July 14, 2012

SolidGray walk 600x249 Solid Gray \ Lijmbach, Leeuw & Vormgeving

Courtesy Solid Gray

Dutch design studio Lijmbach, Leeuw & Vormgeving have released their prototype of a foldable armadillo backpack a while ago. Blogs and magazines started writing about the backpack, and readers started contacting the studio, asking whether the bag would become available. After continuous demand, the duo has decided to develop the prototype into a production model.

SolidGray dots 600x400 Solid Gray \ Lijmbach, Leeuw & Vormgeving

Courtesy Solid Gray

SG grafiti 2 600x400 Solid Gray \ Lijmbach, Leeuw & Vormgeving

Courtesy Solid Gray

The backpack has changed considerably since the prototype. It is larger, as to fit laptops up to 15.6 inches, and has new compartments for smartphones and small items. New details, like locks, buckles, and snaps are made using the same technique as the rest of the bag. The biggest change however, is the use of a totally different material. The backpack is made out of polypropene block-copolymer or PP-C for short. PP-C is a technical plastic that is extremely strong and light, though sheets of this material are not usually applied in consumer products. The first series comes in a glossy white finish.

SG grafiti 1 600x281 Solid Gray \ Lijmbach, Leeuw & Vormgeving

Courtesy Solid Gray

The design is named Solid Gray. The first run of 90 pieces was launched at the October 2011 Dutch Design Week, and has been sold out. The second series is available now. Each backpack is assembled by hand, has its own unique serial number, and can be ordered worldwide via for an price of 139 Euro.

SolidGray fold 600x400 Solid Gray \ Lijmbach, Leeuw & Vormgeving

Courtesy Solid Gray

SolidGray compartments 600x400 Solid Gray \ Lijmbach, Leeuw & Vormgeving

Courtesy Solid Gray

Product information from

Folding hardshell
Solid Gray is the perfect way to carry and protect your personal items. The strong, but lightweight hardshell offers maximum carrying comfort and protection.

Laptop and tablet
Protect your valuables against scratches and shocks. Solid Gray is lined with durable EPDM foam and features straps for your laptop/tablet.

Clever compartments
Easy access to small items and phone, safely stored in the backpack’s two clever compartments. Plus, enjoy maximum storage capability for all your belongings.

Multi clip
Keep your papers and documents within reach under this clip. The conveniently placed multi clip is padded with foam for holding multiple items simultaneously.

Smart snaps
Smart locks secure your possessions with an audible ‘snap’. The Solid Gray snaps are made from the same strong polypropene as the rest of the backpack.

Flexible fit
Solid Gray’s unique folding design gives the backpack a flexible fit. Your back will appreciate the comfort of the soft, comfortable nylon shoulder straps.

Air plain cabin baggage
Solid Gray will meet the dimension requirements for “cabin baggage” or “carry on” luggage on all airlines.
(Exterior Dimensions: 500 x 320 x 200 mm)

+ F.A.Q.

What is the maximum size laptop I can carry in my Solid Gray?

Carry and protect nearly all laptops of 15.6 inch or smaller. If in doubt, just click our site to check Solid Gray’s exact dimensions. Store your phone and any small items comfortably and safely in the inside compartment.

What makes Solid Gray sturdy and lightweight at the same time?

Solid Gray is made from – you asked for it – polypropene block copolymer. This is an extremely durable and lightweight polymer. In fact, it is so strong, that even after being bent millions of times it will not break or tear.

How does Solid Gray acquire its unique shape?

The Solid Gray backpack is cut from a single sheet of polypropene, an extremely durable and hard-wearing material. Up to now, such sheets were only used for industrial purposes. Solid Gray is the very first consumer product cut and made from such sheets. After cutting, grooves are made into the sheet for the folding lines. Using these lines, the polypropene sheet is then folded into it’s final shape.

Where is Solid Gray produced?

Quality is what matters. All our manufacturing is done in the Netherlands. This way, we can guarantee a high quality product.

+ Specifications

Weight: 1150 gr. | 2.535 lbs
Exterior Dimensions: 500 x 320 x 200 mm | 19.7 x 12.6 x 7.9 inch
Materials: Body: Polypropene block copolymer
Padding: Ethylene propylene diene monomer
Straps: Polypropene
Elastic: Natural latex rubber
Rivets: Aluminium
Volume: 1 5 litres
Laptop sizes: Main compartment fits most laptops up to 15.6 inch.
Cell phone sizes: Cell phone compartment fits all smart-phones.

+ Background

Solid Gray is the brainchild of Lijmbach, Leeuw & Vormgeving, a product design agency founded by Herman Lijmbach and Jasper de Leeuw.

Both Herman and Jasper graduated from the internationally acclaimed Design Academy Eindhoven, in the Netherlands in 2007 and started their collaboration soon after.

The Lijmbach, Leeuw & Vormgeving offices and workshop are located in one of the former Philips factories in Eindhoven. These factories are now a lively and bustling melting pot of businesses in the creative and design industry.

The idea behind Solid Gray stems from a project at the DAE. The starting point was to use a new structure to create a lightweight piece of protective luggage. Biomimicry is a common approach for our designs, as a lot of design principles and technical solutions already exist somewhere around us. Some of the structures that came to mind were crustaceans, armadillos and pill bugs. All of which use a clever combination of material, structure and repetition to create a stiff shell out of barely any material.

Even though we already have this rather hands-on approach to design, the technical complexity of the Solid Gray backpack has caused us to develop a staggering amount of prototypes. We were convinced all technical details could be integrated in the same material: locks, clasps and sliders are all cut and folded just like the rest of the backpack. We use drawings and cardboard models just as well as cnc prototypes in order to figure out the design and all its details.

Luckily, there is a huge number of industrial and technological partners based around Eindhoven. Besides this, we have our own workshop right next to our office. These things help us to create very flexible work flow: we can tinker at something new in the morning, then take a look at the prototype production after lunch.

+ All images courtesy Solid Gray


Category: Design, Fashion, Industrial

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