The makers of a recyclable umbrella, made entirely from PP, have secured the funding needed to bring the product into mass production. The Italian-designed Ginkgo umbrella, already the recipient of a James Dyson Award, a prize for design innovation offered by the British designer and entrepreneur, secured the investment through the crowdfunding platform, Indiegogo.
Gingko was the invention of product designer Federico Venturi and mechanical engineer Gianluca Savalli, along with management engineer Marco Righi. The team realised that umbrellas are frequently discarded but the multiple materials used in their construction – polyester, wood, metal, glue – made them difficult to recycle. The team estimate that all the umbrellas discarded in a year would contain enough metal to build 25 Eiffel Towers.
In order to reduce waste, Ginkgo is completely recyclable and lightweight (weighing just 250g). The designers reduced the number of parts it takes to produce an umbrella from 120 to just 20. The stretchers are each made from single injection-moulded pieces of PP with hinges and locks integrated in the design. The entire umbrella is assembled without the use of individual screws, hinges or glue. The parts simply snap together.
Every part of the Ginkgo umbrella is made from injection-moulded PP, apart from the canopy. Federico Venturi explains: “The canopy is made by traditional looms, but with PP yarns.”
The simplicity of construction makes it easier to personalise the umbrellas. Visitors to the website at ginkgoumbrella.com can use a widget that allows them to specify the colour of each and every component of the umbrella.
The first run of production, which will go to the Indiegogo investors, are expected to be delivered in November 2013.