Foldboat by Max Frommeld and Arno Mathies


Foldboat by Max Frommeld and Arno Mathies

London Design Festival 2011: designers Max Frommeld and Arno Mathies showed off their folding boat that's made from a single, standard-sized sheet of plastic at Multiplex at The Dock last week. 

Foldboat by Max Frommeld and Arno Mathies

The Foldboat comes in two versions that either collapse into a portable parcel or flatten for easy storage.

Foldboat by Max Frommeld and Arno Mathies

Each is equipped with a pair of oars made from ash with plastic blades, plus waterproof, floating cushions that can users can cling onto if the boat should capsize.

Foldboat by Max Frommeld and Arno Mathies

The boat was first presented at Show RCA this summer, where we also spotted Frommeld's Hose Clip Shelving.

Foldboat by Max Frommeld and Arno Mathies

See more stories about boats on Dezeen here and more coverage of the London Design Festival here.

Foldboat by Max Frommeld and Arno Mathies

The information below is from Frommeld and Mathies:

Foldboat is a rowing boat made from a standard sized sheet of plastic. By manipulating the material, we have created live hinges allowing you to fold and un-fold the plastic sheet into the shape of a boat.

Foldboat by Max Frommeld and Arno Mathies

Currently two versions of Foldboat exist, made using the live-hinge principle. Version one is designed to fold into a small parcel of 1m50 x 60cm, targeted at users who have limited storage space, particularly in urban environments. Version two does not fold into a transport pack and instead remains in a flat sheet of 2m50 x 1m50. Boat 2 is designed for boat renting companies or NGO's in the case of flood hazards. Both boats require 2 minutes to be assembled by two people.

Foldboat by Max Frommeld and Arno Mathies

For ‘Multiplex at The Dock’ event hosted by Tom Dixon, we have created 5 bespoke and exclusive boats named ‘The Dock Edition’ that uses Boat 2 as a base.

Foldboat by Max Frommeld and Arno Mathies

The boats are available for sale and are equipped with a pair of oars (ash + plastic used for boat) and a pair of waterproof pillows for comfort and safety purposes (pillows are water tight and float).

Foldboat by Max Frommeld and Arno Mathies

  • 組み立て式ボート。挑戦的だなぁー!

  • Greenish

    Ooooooh so want one! Light, easy to put in or on a car, easy to clean. This WILL be mine!

  • Peter

    Beautiful boats, beautiful idea! Only problem i see is the number of folds before the material breaks. I know, there are the air pillows to rescue me then, but i would prefer to keep dry…

  • I'd like to see a video of these in action :)

  • Chuong

    when I was a child, I used to make some thing like this by CokeCan. Now, when I see this design, my mind go back to my childhood.

  • Tiffany

    For someone like me who doesn't know how to swim, this boat sounds absolutely fantastic.

  • This is a nice idea. It's light, easy to carry around, but I agree with Peter. I'm also worried about it breaking due to too much folding/unfolding.

  • Yes, I will agree with Peter? The material must break once…

  • roman

    Stop using a plastic. What will happen with all these boats in next 10 years? Can designers tell us? Design is nice but material is wrong.

    • Roman, is plastic completely recycleable? Seems like the perfect material to me. Do you have a better one to use instead?_

  • bodkin

    i wonder how long the plastic around the rowlocks will survive, it doesn't look particuarly robust. i imagine if you pull hard on the oars they will just rip out. i also can't really imagine when something like this would be useful, any thoughts?

  • I think the concept is great, especially if it is affordable. As a single Mom, I would love a boat that is easy to transport, and could have my kids help me to fold it. Hopefully the type of plastic used is both earth-friendly and appropriate for the structure ( permanently malleable, and sufficiently strong). If not, the design is great, and it's simply a question of finding the right material. The Materials Library in NYC would be a good place to do so. Are these available in the USA yet?

  • Maki

    Well done!! gongrats! it´s nice to take in a jorney on Amsterdan canals…..

  • Hell yes! Please may I have one? :p

  • If they're reasonably priced and you accept that they will disintegrate eventually then fine, they're brilliant.

    If not; not.

  • Ata

    Do you have to be cool to have one? Is that the whole idea?

  • Dave

    The boat is made of coroplast, the same material used to make political signs, amongst other things. It can take 20,000 foldings/unfoldings (give or take) before it breaks. This particular design is actually a little easier on the folding than many other similar models. It isn’t meant for hard rowing in rough waters, but rather relaxed outings at a languid pace. It is a perfect design for what it is meant to do. Why make it out of coroplast? Because it can be folded down to a size that fits in the trunk of your car yet tough enough and rigid enough to be a good boat. No need to spend money on a trailer, or having to strap it to the roof of your car. And ultimately, compared to the average boat, very inexpensive. Btw, I am not associated with this project, I just have an avid interest in this type of boat, and thoroughly understand what it is all about.

  • Dave

    Sorry – meant to say that it COULD be made from coroplast in my last comment. Foldboat is not currently made with that particular type of material. My mistake.

    • davea0511

      I’ve done similar things with coroplast. Note that if you cut one side to make it easier to find you compromise the integrity by a huge factor, say 100, because you introduce stress points. Even when you don’t, a corner still gives you stress points, though the effect is nowhere near as bad.

      Additionally, the exposed points also become wear points, which seriously compounds the problem. Not insurmountable of course, but must be addressed for designs like this to get serious consideration especially when used for anything other than a pond and especially for the rescue purposes they recommend.

      This I believe would be true for most folding plastic materials, not just coroplast. I think the solution would be along the lines of rounded badges and corners to greatly mitigate the associated stresses.