Milan Furniture Fair 2010: Indestructible Umbrella? Senz Uses Extreme Sports to Find Out (Video)


Photo via Senz

So we are pretty keen on finding a solution to disposable design, or objects conceived to break here at TreeHugger, and one of our favorites is the shoddily-designed umbrella, which we gave its due way back in 2006 with our Umbrella Inside Out competition.

During the Milan Furniture Fair, Salone Internazionale del Mobile 2010, at one of the hundreds of off-site events on via Tortona, I came across a wind tunnel demonstrating the muscle of the award-winning Senz Umbrella. Thanks to its aerodynamic design, Senz is able to withstand 100 mile per hour winds -- which the firm demonstrates with car races, sky diving, wake boarding, hurricane machines, weird Japanese monkeys, and former president George W. Bush.
Traditional umbrella frustrations. Video via Senz

You just have to look at the umbrella carcasses on the streets of New York after a rain shower to see the fault in umbrella design. Senz has a nice little video (above) demonstrating what can go wrong -- even to the likes of former president George W. Bush.


Skydiving with a Senz Umbrella. Video via YouTube

In a skydiving test, Senz withstands three jumps and 190 mile per hour winds. But that wasn't enough for the company: In this wakeboarding test (and note the monkey video on the same page), the umbrella helps the pro land gently on the water.


The Senz wind tunnel in Milan. Photo copyright Mairi Beautyman

Senz doesn't flip inside out or break easily while keeping you dry because it plays with the wind, instead of fighting it. But what I particularly liked about the design is that you can't get your eye poked out -- no deadly sharp metal spokes to stab passersby here, the umbrella has smooth rib tips.

Not enough proof for you? The Senz umbrella was named best invention by Time magazine in 2007, made Good Morning America, and picked up both a German Design award and a Red Dot award. It's available in the U.S. at Totoes Isotoner for $50-65, depending on size.

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Tags: Designers | Disposable | Exhibits | Italy

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