Dezeen Magazine

Nendo designs build-your-own football for kids from impoverished communities

Japanese studio Nendo has developed a football that doesn't need to be inflated and can instead be assembled by hand from 54 interlocking plastic modules.

Called My Football Kit, the project was created for sports equipment company Molten and aims to make the game accessible to children around the world, who might not be able to buy and maintain a traditional ball.

DIY soccer kit by Nendo for Molten
The My Football Kit can be assembled by hand

"In impoverished communities of the world, aside from the difficulties in obtaining the regular soccer ball itself, its maintenance presents a barrier even once purchased, whether because of the unavailability of air pumps or the deterioration and damage of the tube inside the ball," said Nendo.

The studio's solution was to develop a simplified, non-inflatable ball that derives its structure not from air pressure but from its constituent materials.

Instructions for the My Football Kit by Nendo for Molten
Long white modules are combined to form a pinwheel shape

Recycled polypropylene and synthetic resin were used to create three different types of components that are interlaced much like bamboo in traditional Japanese crafts.

A set of 30 long white strips are clipped together to form 12 pinwheel shapes, which in turn are combined to form a skeletal sphere.

DIY soccer kit by Nendo for Molten
Black frames are used to fill the pinwheel shapes and plugged with a matching pentagonal piece

Each of these pinwheels is reinforced through adding a black frame to its centre and filled with a matching pentagonal plate.

According to Nendo, the structure is designed so that the ball will stay intact even if an individual piece falls off in the heat of the game.

"The soft, recycled polypropylene and elastomeric synthetic resin components won't hurt bare feet, and are unlikely even if broken to develop a sharply fractured surface that might cause injuries," the studio added.

My Football Kit by Nendo for Molten in construction
The piece is designed for easy maintenance

At the same time, the football's piecemeal construction allows broken parts to be easily replaced, simplifying maintenance and extending its lifespan.

The modules are available in a range of different colours to allow kids to personalise their ball, in a bid to help them build a greater attachment to their equipment and the game itself.

The full DIY kit also comes with a matching drawstring bag and picturebook-style instructions that are designed to be understood by children across different culture and language boundaries.

DIY soccer kit by Nendo for Molten
My Football Kit pieces are available in different colours to allow personalisation

Earlier this month, Nendo unveiled the logo for the Japan Association for University Athletics and Sport, which can be extruded from aluminium to form trophies or cut in slices to create medals.

The prolific studio, which is notorious for working on up to 400 projects at once, has previously taken its hand to a slew of household items from the umbrella stand to the humble ballpoint pen.