Dreamball by Unplug Design


Seoul design studio Unplug Design have designed an aid package that can be made into a football by children in developing countries. 

Called Dreamball, the object consists of a cylindrical container for the delivery of aid packages, which the children can roll to where it will be needed instead of having to carry it.

Paper around this container is printed with a pattern that can be used to make balls of different sizes.

Here's some text from the designers:


To the children in The Third World; Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, Congo and etc, who can't enjoy football freely because of poverty, war and natural disaster, having a football means a lot and can be a dream and hope to escape from their poor life.

However, the children are so poor that they can not buy a football. So, they play football with the ball made of plastic bag or a coconut palm leaves Therefore, giving them their own footballs which can give them hope, is our aim of this project.

We suggest this Dream Ball made of relief boxes delivered to those poor children by recycling.

A. Creat patterns that can help making a ball on the surface of an aid box.

B. Activities of giving aid boxes to children in The Third World.

C. The used aid boxes will be recycled as a football by children with the patterns on boxes.

D. By making Dream Ball with the children together, the aid organizations will get the chance to be friendly with them.

Aid box

If children take off the paper from an aid box by following the patterns on it, and assemble those parts with the attached instruction, they can get a football. We can apply those patterns on any type of boxes - a square type, a cyliner type. Now, when children get a cyliner type aid box filled with supply, they can move it by rolling that box.

The football

In the aspect of material, we considered children playing football with bare foot. So, we use paper that can be recycled and its thickness changes the intensity and elasticity of the Dream Ball.

Posted on Tuesday December 1st 2009 at 10:27 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Andrew Chow

    a design of inspires and love.

  • seb

    depending on how easy the balls are to assemble, thats one of the most awesome things ive seen in a while

  • I met the two designers @ Designersblock London 2009 where they exhibited the ‘Dreamball’. The ball was actually really stirdy and had a great bounce to it, it functioned really well. The designers were saying then they were finding it hard to make the project become a reality. Its such an iconic important design, please someone make the difference and make this happen!

  • Very nice idea, I like it.. How is it assembled?, do you need some extra tool?

    aehh! Please change that!
    else very cool project!

  • Agustín

    If the ball really is “sturdy and has great bounce,” then it’s a beautiful project.

  • mikaël

    Exploitating the potential of the life cycle of an object is always a great way to add value to it, here in the form of a ball, resulting in possible emotional connection and meaningfull human interaction. The box by itself is also well done, making it easyer for children to carry can have a big impact . But I still wonder, since they already made balls out of everything and anything, what do the usualy do with the boxes, if they use them for shelter or fuel or carrying things ; I’d be surprised of they just threw them away.

  • slater

    It seems like packageing is frequently a wasteful part of a product that sometimes can not be recycled or reused. What a great idea to make the packageing part of the product, and a totally unrelated one at that. This design really goes over the top to then be come an object that can create joy, excercise and promote friendship amoung people who need it the most (along with the aid supplies contained inside) This is just throughly though out design at it’s best, congrats! Product designers for the developed world should take note and think about this sort of integration into everyday objects/packageing.

  • Norskee

    Great!! cool idea

  • Tyler.


  • modular

    One of the coolest ideas I’ve seen here for a while. Great job guys!

  • Lady C

    What these ‘designers’ fail to grasp is that those targeted for the use of this ball will already be kicking about homemade balls or appropriated objects already. If delight is really to be brought to these young people then give them a REAL ball one that would be used by the masses in Korea, the U.K, Germany, ect. Do the designers truely believe middle class children in Soeul would be as excited to add this to their gym bag as they expect disadvantaged youngsters in Africa would be?

    This project represents what I detest about many designs of this nature: designers designing for those whom they have extreemly limited information about and in so doing, fail to cater to genuine needs.
    Secondly: designers putting their priorities above those of the people they’re designing for; example: 100 pairs of scissors to cut card instead of colouring pencils/ paint and pencils. Example: recycling a cardboard football in a place
    presumably without the infrastructure to do so.

    Lesson for the day is: design for who you know EXTENSIVLY, not who you know SLIGHTLY.

  • rek

    LadyC I think you’re being a bit harsh. (But this is Dezeen, so that’s to be expected…. sigh)

    First, these will supplement the homemade/appropriated balls, being available to those who may not be able to make their own, and possibly be of higher quality.

    Second, real balls are expensive, need to be inflated (or take up additional space if they’re already inflated before transit), and add to the weight of the care package, while these balls ARE the package. They also come in fixed sizes, while this project allows for multiple sizes of balls in the same shipment without additional packaging.

    Third, cardboard is biodegradable, real soccer balls aren’t, so even if the cardboard won’t be “recycled” it won’t sit in the dirt for thousands of years.

  • This design is brilliant in so many ways. Just as a bit of compelling trivia, the three way weave of sepak takraw balls inspired Buckminster Fuller (whose “Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Science” encouraged design for planetary stewardship) in his three way great circle grid that laid the foundation for his Dymaxion Map and geodesic dome. Bucky’s domes later inspired Drs. Smalley, Kroto and Curl to name the third form of carbon, “buckminsterfullerene.” This magnificent carbon molecule that the late Richard Smalley deemed the “Rosetta Stone of nanoscale architecture” was shaped like a truncated icosahedron, soccerball or …. sepak takraw ball. Nice full circle cycle of inspiration for stewardship on every scale here and kudos to Unplug Design!

  • Justine

    Great idea – fun, sustainable and intelligent all rolled into one ball. Reminds me of traditional Maori woven flax balls made for New Zealand children. I was sent some for my London-based son, who has many ‘high-tech’ toys a few years ago and he still loves them, so the idea of children in developing countries not appreciating them is unfounded, Lady C. In my experience, children will enjoy anything that is fun to play with and stimulates their imagination – cardboard boxes and balloons are classic examples of this.

  • This is great thinking!

  • Kieran Reddie

    …that’s justa kinda special!! suuuuupa thinking!

  • Where I can buy one ?

  • shouniez

    awesome concept…has it become a reality? would love to know the updates and progress

  • zanadu

    if this making a “ball” in any way ADD to the costs of making the boxes more expensive, forget it… die-cutting, designing, printing of instruction… it’s not cheap and all for a “ball”?

    coconut and whatever’s round are doing the ball’s job just fine.

    these people do not need a fancy designer paper ball.


  • Pch

    I would like to see that this ball actually works . did someone think of te materials and how easy it is to be smashed or broken?.
    It would be good to have a video showing that it bounce and its durable

  • Jadleff
  • kathw

    I stumbled across this after having made balls like these as craft projects – but with straight strips of card. I was a modelmaker and am fairly practical but these take some knack to put together – so I am doubtful as to the reality of this project. Prove me otherwise. Good Luck.

  • KIM

    Very creative idea!