But the brand was never supposed to be just footwear. In fact, when the co-founders Messrs Peter Poopat (then a magazine art director) and Flavio Girolami (a consultant for Italian shoe brands) first dreamt up the idea for their company in the late 1990s over rather too many drinks in a now-shut bar beneath the Maritime Hotel in Chelsea, New York, they discussed plans to perfect the design of several everyday objects – a desk lamp, a chair, a wallet. It was always supposed to be Projects-plural. It’s just that their reinvention of the sneaker – which was among the first to bridge the gap between sports shoe and dress shoe – ended up being such a hit, they decided to concentrate on footwear for a while. With Mr Girolami’s contacts in Italian shoemaking, it made sense.
Twelve years later, the pair have finally released their next Projects – a range of pared-back leather goods including a backpack, a cardholder, a washbag and a wallet. It almost sounds like an oxymoron to say they are distinctively minimalistic, but any fans of Common Projects’ sleek, pared back aesthetic will know exactly what you mean.