Behind the Design: Leica x Native Union

Behind the Design: Leica x Native Union

Together with Leica, we've brought their latest innovation to life. Lending our expertise in tech solutions, we reimagined our Drop XL Wireless Charger for the Leica Q3, their first-ever camera to support wireless charging. And with a common ground as large as the one we’ve found with Leica – for starters, a shared dedication to premium quality, refined materials, and minimalist design – it was almost second nature to adapt our fan-favorite piece with both brands in mind. 
Designed for Life Reading Behind the Design: Leica x Native Union 4 minutes Next Concept Bank 01: A Quest to Minimalism

To have captured several milestones and turning points in time is testament to Leica’s high-end quality and innovative spirit. But Leica doesn’t just capture history – they have quite the legacy of their own.

On several occasions, the German-born brand has contributed to upheavals in photography. As a pioneer of the portable camera, they took photographers out of the four walls of the studio and popularized photojournalism and street photography as we know it today. Time and again, their cameras reshape the industry, reminding us why they’re the premier cameras coveted by professional and casual photographers alike.  

Yet, it doesn’t take a photographer to recognize Leica’s unparalleled standard of engineering. It’s apparent to anyone who gets their hands on a Leica camera that the build, the materials, the feel and finish, they all exude a sense of long-lasting luxury and rich heritage that’s hard to come by.  

For Leica’s latest innovation, we’re thrilled to have played a part in bringing their vision to life. The Leica Q3, the newest edition of the bestselling Leica Q, is a compact point-and-shoot for creatives on-the-go. It’s also their first camera ever to support wireless charging, and that’s where we came in. 

“When choosing partners for collaborations it’s important, that the product philosophy is in line with the strategy of Leica. While elaborating the market for a partner of wireless charging products, we have recognized that Native Union is one of the most reliable brands in this segment. Both companies share the same vision when it comes to ensuring unique design with high quality. We knew we could trust Native Union to develop a technical solution that reflected Leica's style and spirit.” says Jesko von Oeynhausen, Global Director Product Division Photo.

So we got to work on a made-for-Leica edition of Drop XL Wireless Charger. And with a common ground as large as the one we’ve found with Leica – for starters, a shared dedication to premium quality, refined materials, and minimalist design – it was almost second nature to adapt our fan-favorite piece with both brands in mind. 

Still, different iterations were sketched and considered. As we took more inspiration from the timeless style of the Leica Q3 itself, initial sketches of a leather-wrapped charging pad transformed into something else. We landed on a darkened aluminum frame to match the Q3’s metal housing, which was then contrasted with a cross-grained fabric tread that alludes to the camera’s textured detail. The frame, as well as the cable belt, are finished with Leica’s branding as a stamp of their renowned quality.  

To charge wirelessly, the Leica Q3 needs to be connected to the HG-DC1 Handgrip. Early mockups incorporated an outline of the handgrip that aligns the Q3 with that charging ‘sweet spot.’ In the end, we stripped down those indicators to two silicone dots as a guide not only for the handgrip but for anyone’s entire arsenal of everyday devices. After all, for two brands with an obsession with function and performance we thought – why limit ourselves to charging just one device?  

“As we more strongly commit to our new brand promise to ‘Design for Life,’ we’re excited that this collaboration gives us the chance to explore where we can extend our value beyond the realm of everyday devices, helping us navigate what ‘life’ can entail,” says Igor Duc, Co-founder and CEO of Native Union. “With mutual values in quality and durability and a shared philosophy of good design, this collaboration was a seamless fit.” 

The culmination of this partnership is a uniquely convenient solution that keeps your camera always shoot-ready and the rest of your tech prepared to hit the road. These visual updates reimagine Drop XL Wireless Charger with an homage to the distinctively sleek aesthetic of the Leica Q3, acting as an extension of the camera and bringing visual coherence to the overall charging experience of your Q3 and more. Subtle but impactful touches, truly Leica while also very much Native Union.