Title Reinventing the brolly Degree of recognition International Media name/outlet Sydney Morning Herald Media type Web Country/Territory Australia Date 1/05/05 Description Build a better umbrella and a world of opportunity will unfurl.
A Sydney design student's reinvention of the brolly has taken out an Australian Design Award and attracted the attention of wet-weather gear makers and retailers around the world.
Andy Wana's Lotus 23 umbrella opens like a blooming flower, is resistant to blow-outs and is made from half as many parts as a conventional brolly.
His design has attracted interest from the Boston Umbrella Group.
"The managing director emailed me and wanted to chat with me," Mr Wana, 24, said.
"He said it was a considerable improvement.
"There was definitely an expression of interest."
The Lotus 23, named for the flower it resembles and Mr Wana's age when he designed it, took out first prize in last weekend's Australian Design Award-Dyson Student Awards.
The competition is organised by Standards Australia.
When collapsed the new umbrella looks like a stick with a bulbous end.
When deployed by a spring action, nylon material and carbon fibre ribs emerge from a central storage cavity like a flower in bloom.
The fully extended umbrella features vents that stop gusts of wind from causing blow-outs.
As it is retracted the umbrella squeezes out the water on its surfaces, meaning users do not have to contend with drips.
Unlike conventional umbrellas, it can also be used half-unfurled in situations such as narrow footpaths.
Design award judges said the umbrella was lateral thinking at its best and would inspire other designers to question current popular designs.
Mr Wana finished the University of Technology, Sydney's Master of Design course last year and lives in the city.
He designed the product in 16 weeks after becoming fed up with regular brollies.
"I've been using umbrellas for a long time and I noticed there hadn't been any innovations or progress," he said. "Every time it rains you experience the same problems - umbrellas blowing out and the metal stays bending.
"There's also the issue of the points [of regular umbrellas] that can poke people in the eye."
The Lotus 23 features a blunt tip and, with about 25 parts, is half as complicated as regular brollies.
Mr Wana said he hoped to secure a deal with a manufacturer and have the umbrella in production within two years.
He hoped it would sell for between $30 and $40 - roughly the same as a quality conventional umbrella.
Persons Andy Wana