A veritable treasure trove where the booty is in the trunk: this is 16 rue Louis Vuitton in the Paris suburb of Asnieres, Louis Vuitton's original workshop and a shrine to the art of travel. It's also a former family home to the suavely avuncular pipe-smoking Patrick-Louis Vuitton, great-great grandson of the malletier's founder. We meet in the log-fired art nouveau drawing room, where Patrick-Louis designs some of the company's special orders.
“One of my biggest challenges recently came from a Chinese client,” he says. “He wanted to be able to watch television and offer coffee to his friends wherever he travelled in the world, including the remotest desert. We sat at the dining table here for an hour and sketched the trunk of his dreams. We agreed to put two solar panels linked to a battery for the flat-screenTV and DVD player, two-way radio, tuner and coffee machine. But in the production stage we encountered a technical problem. While there was enough electricity for the TV, there wasn't enough to heat the water. This is something we had to sort out. A year on, our client is delighted.”