To mark its 125th anniversary, RIMOWA continues its touring exhibition SEIT 1898, which guides visitors through the rapid evolution of travel that’s defined the times since the maison’s founding in Cologne, Germany in 1898. SEIT 1898 features over 100 cases from its archives and friends of the brand that look back on the cultural and technological forces that shaped these resilient tools of transport.
Following its first stop in Tokyo (from June 9th to 18th), SEIT 1898 is now coming to New York (from September 8th to 17th), with other locations for 2024 still to be announced. With destinations finally returning to calendars after an unprecedented pause, the retrospective comes at a fitting time to reflect on what it means to move. As we look to the future, SEIT 1898 showcases how the many transformations in travel over the last 125 years have all left their unique mark on the luggage we carry today.
A careful selection from RIMOWA’s extensive archive tells this story. Presented in a series of evocative diorama displays — like a larger-than-life ‘exploded’ RIMOWA Cabin — elements of the brand’s past are expressively reconstructed to mark the materials, places, people, trends, and craft that defined its identity. Featured throughout the displays are experimental artistic partnerships, rarely- seen privately owned cases from public figures like Spike Lee, Martha Stewart, LeBron James, Lewis Hamilton, Takashi Murakami, Billie Eilish, and Patti Smith, as well as special purpose cases tailored for anything from poker sets to Stradivarius violins, and items that marked milestone advancements for the brand like the iconic grooves first introduced in 1950. Alongside these are coveted collaboration pieces with brands like Off-White and Dior, and pop culture artifacts like the briefcase from Mission Impossible IV. Cases fit for the archives will be continually added. To mark the newest addition — a collaboration with Tiffany & Co. set to be unveiled at the end of this month — visitors to the New York exhibition will find a dedicated space evoking the jeweler's signature blue box and hinting at the collaboration pieces soon to be released.
Together, the curation examines RIMOWA’s many noteworthy contributions to the material culture of travel from the end of the 19th century to the present.
“SEIT 1898 is a testament to RIMOWA’s commitment to its heritage,” says Emelie de Vitis, Senior Vice President Product & Marketing at RIMOWA. “It shares its pioneering design philosophy that’s endured for 125 years and continues today. And we couldn't be more pleased to bring that story to such a history rich travel hub like New York.”
RIMOWA was founded on the recognition that great ambitions demand resilient companions. For 125 years this legendary brand has been guided by that principle, dedicated to crafting tools with character and longevity in mind — a commitment visible in every new RIMOWA and the lifetime guarantee that now comes with it. SEIT 1898 shares generations of these tools made by RIMOWA’s hands, but defined by the discerning travelers that reached for them for 125 years and counting.
This latest installment will be held in the heart of Manhattan at Chelsea Factory, a site with its own rich cultural heritage – a fitting backdrop for the exhibition theme. Located at 547 W 26th St., the 14,000 square foot industrial space was built in 1914 as a garage to house New York City’s first fleet of taxi cabs. In the 1990s it became the loft apartment and studio for the photographer Annie Leibovitz, who remained there until 2005 when the Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet used it as a rehearsal and performance space until 2015.
SEIT 1898 will be on display and open to the public at Chelsea Factory from September 8th - 17th, 2023. RIMOWA will be partnering with Rocky's Matcha to offer all guests complimentary drinks during the exhibition’s opening weekend. Exhibition goers will also have the opportunity to collect gifted limited edition RIMOWA stickers designed to commemorate the landmark show.