Dezeen Magazine

"Drip-free" umbrella encloses wet canopy on the inside

This umbrella has a frame that turns its canopy inside out, keeping water droplets inside as well as allowing it to open and close in confined spaces (+ movie).

The KAZbrella was conceived by engineer and inventor Jenan Kazim, founder of UK-based KAZ Designs.

The KAZbrella drip-free umbrella by Riann Kazim

Kazim's aim was to tackle the main problems he identified with current designs, including wet floors caused by dripping water from a folded umbrella, entering and exiting cars while trying to open and close an umbrella, and using them in a crowd.

"It is in our nature as human beings to improve things," he says in a promotional video for his product. "When I see something wrong in design, I need to find a solution to try and fix it."

"This faulty umbrella design has been with us for 3,000 years, and I think we can do better," he adds.

The KAZbrella drip-free umbrella by Riann Kazim

The patented design includes a string and pulley mechanism that allows the frame to open the opposite way to a traditional umbrella, though the action of pushing the slider up until the upper latch is engaged remains the same.

It still looks and functions like a traditional umbrella when open, but when closed the spokes fold in so they point away from the handle and the outer surface is hidden inside.

The KAZbrella drip-free umbrella by Riann Kazim

"When the KAZbrella is closed the residue water is trapped on the inside and sealed with a wraparound strap," said Riann Kazim from KAZ Designs. "We have tested our production sample and this leaves the KAZbrella drip free."

The canopy is a double layer of thin woven cloth made from pongee polyester, while the shaft is formed from aluminium and the spokes are crafted from fibreglass.

The KAZbrella drip-free umbrella by Riann Kazim

KAZ Designs' system opens up over the user within a smaller space than a typical umbrella, helping to avoid poking people in close proximity.

The umbrella can also be closed through a small gap like a car door, keeping the user drier when getting in and out of vehicles.

The KAZbrella drip-free umbrella by Riann Kazim

As the water is kept inside the canopy, the product can be placed on a seat without wetting the upholstery or other items.

Additional spokes used for support aid the umbrella's ability to bounce back into shape in strong winds. If turned inside out, it flips back around with the push of a button.

The KAZbrella drip-free umbrella by Riann Kazim

"There has been a lot of interest in producing an inside-out umbrella worldwide," said Riann Kazim. "The first attempt that we have discovered dates back to 1904."

"Since then there have been many attempts but none have succeeded in producing a design that retains the looks and usability of a conventional umbrella," she continued. "We have been granted numerous patents for our technology. Where our design fundamentally differs from the rest, the crown of the KAZbrella slides along the shaft."

Following appearances on TV programmes Make Me A Millionaire Inventor and Dragons' Den last year, the design is set to launch on Kickstarter on 27 April with a funding target of £25,000.

The KAZbrella drip-free umbrella by Riann Kazim

Other suggestions for improvements to umbrellas include a design that replaces the traditional metal-framed canopy with a flexible origami-like structure, and a pop-up canopy made from just six parts.

Nendo has also had a go at upgrading umbrellas, creating a lightweight folding design that has a cover tucked into its handle and a version with a two-pronged handle that allows it to stand on its own when not in use.