A reinvention of the humble umbrella by a University of Technology Sydney (UTS) postgraduate design student has won the student category of the Australian Design Awards – the second year running the top prize has gone to a UTS student.
The judges called Andy Wana’s answer to most annoying faults of the traditional umbrella “an inspiration to all designers to continually question current systems and make things work better,” earning him the GOLD 2005 Australian Design Award-Dyson Student Award.
There was an additional accolade for Wana’s university – UTS was presented with the Australian Design Award-Dyson Student Award ‘Recognition of Excellence in Design Education’.
The Lotus 23, conceived by Wana as the final project of his Master of Design course, aims to eliminate the stormy-weather scene of bins full of broken umbrellas.
The Lotus 23 is made entirely of ABS plastic, which makes it much more flexible than the metal-ribbed standard. The canopy is vented to prevent the “parachute effect”, so with its flexible ribs, it won’t be mangled when the wind kicks up.
Wana said the name reflected one of the crucial innovations of the design – the canopy unfolds from the handle of the umbrella, much like a flower opening up.
“This feature provides two more solutions to the problems of traditional umbrellas,” Wana said. “Because the canopy retracts entirely inside the handle it squeezes out the water as you close it, meaning you don’t take a dripping umbrella into a building or onto a train or bus.
“You can also semi-retract the canopy to get past people in tight areas. Added to that there are no metal spikes or other sharp parts that can cause injury.”