Phoresy Pack

Phoresy Pack is the outcome of my explorations in the field of customizable and generative product design. It embodies the idea that the objects we surround ourselves with, leave a distinct mark reciprocally, and that with time the user contributes to the appearance of his possessions as much as it’s initial designer, yet in a different fashion. With this project I aimed to take the idea to a new level and create a design that would be by default formed around it's user.


The outcome of this project is not just a backpack, but a system for their creation. The displayed prototype was built to demonstrate the feasibility of this system of manufacture and distribution of mass produced, yet custom tailored bags. Each Phoresy Pack is unique as it is created by the user himself through a simple online interface wrapped around a generative design platform. Apart from offering control over some purely aesthetic parameter, the software lets the customer choose backpack's shape, volume, strapping type and the overall positioning to the Pack on the body. This ensures that every Phoresy Pack fits it's wearer in terms of style, function and ergonomics.

Photographer: Renata Garipova

What allows this level of configurability is the unique material which is at the core of Phoresy Pack’s structure. In this sense I made use of a technique that I’ve developed based on CNC milled full grain cowhide leather folded into a triangular crease pattern deriving from a study of expandable structures. From the inside the leather shell is also covered with lycra textile which adds softness and elasticity to the backpack and makes it more adjustable to the volume of it’s contents and the wearer’s body. The rest of the bag is manufactured from thinner wet-formed leather in pieces layered over cork inserts.

Another key feature of the project is an interface for online distribution of backpacks. This interface goes beyond traditional slider and textbox based systems for pre-purchase product configuration. Instead the design of the product is generated on a digital representation of user's body. The representation could be acquired via 3d scanning or through the input of several parameters like gender, height and body type.


The project is titled by a term taken from the field of zoology to emphasize the way backpack relates to the user. By definition “Phoresy” is a non-parasitic relationship between two organisms in which one specie is carried around by another.