About this project
Introducing the Sa™
The Sa™ is the umbrella reimagined. It does away with the traditional skeleton and mesh umbrella structure, for a much more modern and efficient design. Beyond it's completely new canopy design, the Sa™ also innovates with its environmentally conscious material choices, has a completely innovative internalized handle mechanism and magnetic closure system, and features many other groundbreaking new features.
Canopy and Functionality
Like origami, The Sa uses planar tension to generate its form. The inner and outer canopies expand and contract in unison to open and close the umbrella. This new design allows the umbrella to be lighter, since it does not need the added weight of an inner metal skeleton. Also, since there are no exposed, moving components, the umbrella is stronger and will last longer. Furthermore, since the material is flexible when not in tension, it can easily bounce back into shape, even when exposed to high winds.
To ensure structural rigidity and strength against wind, the six guide panels, which can be seen along the ridges of the canopy, will be made with a stronger version of the same material. These guide panels not only allow the umbrella to open and close, but also provide strong structural support from the very tip of the canopy to it's farthest edges.
With the innovative design of the Sa™, we are able to produce the canopy out of just one material. Thanks to this, we will be able to manufacture the entire umbrella with highly recyclable and easily repairable materials. In addition to this, since the umbrella canopy is unibody, it can be removed and replaced with another design or repaired easily. Or conversely, the handle and pole can be swapped for another design as well. For this reason, several variations and color combinations can be chosen.
In addition to this, another nice feature of the umbrella is that it has more headroom underneath the canopy, since there is no metal structure taking up space. Beyond that, we have designed the panels in such a way so that the very tips of the umbrella are less pointy, and therefore will be safer to walk around with.
Pole & Handle
In addition to the completely new canopy form, this umbrella is also the first umbrella to use an internalized mechanism. This is possible because the distance between the open and closed positions on the Sa can be shorter than with traditional umbrellas. Since this is the case, there is no need to have any exposed slider components.
To open the Sa, you simply need to rotate the bottom of the handle. The spring-loaded mechanism will open the umbrella automatically.
To close the Sa, pull on the handle, just like you would with a bicycle pump or pinball machine. The handle will retract.
Magnetic Closure System
To fully close the canopy, we have embedded magnets along the perimeter of the panels. This will allow of an effortless, consistently tight closure of the umbrella. Also, when opening the umbrella, the magnets will naturally release themselves as the outward force increases. Since the canopy panels are flexible when not in tension, we will be able to flex them in order achieve this closure.
All parts of the canopy, mechanism, and handle are made with highly recyclable, waterproof plastic. For this reason, it is very environmentally friendly. Although plastic is often thought of as a disposable material, its impermeability, lightness, strength, and long-lifespan make it ideal for an application such as this. All other components of the umbrella, such as magnets or springs, will also be implemented and sourced with the greatest care as to remain as recyclable and environmental friendly as possible.
Justin first came up with the basis for the Sa™ design years ago as he was frustrated by the fragile, cumbersome, and overcomplicated design of existing umbrellas. He sought to create an umbrella which was simpler, lighter, and more natural in form. Justin presented his concept to Matthew and together they transformed that into what is now the Sa™.
Since it finds its roots in origami, the name "Sa" was created from a combination of Japanese words: “kasa,” which means umbrella, “same,” which is a word for rain, and “sasu," which is the verb used to describe holding an umbrella.
The production process took several months and required many paper prototypes, sketches, 3D models, full-size mockups, and thinking outside the box before it came to fruition.
We will be offering the Sa™ in the following colors for this Kickstarter campaign: Cyan, Yellow, Magenta, Black, Grey, and White.
In the future we will expand the lineup to include various other colors, combinations of colors, and will also expand to patterns. For this campaign we wanted to ensure that we would be able to deliver the umbrellas by the estimated delivery date, without production delays, so we chose this simple, beautiful color palate for our first models.
Currently, we have designed and tested the umbrella and proven it is functional. Past that, we have a utility patent pending. We have also begun the process with our production manager and manufacturing facilities, and will begin taking the first steps towards production shortly. At this point we have had the manufacturing facility and our production manager verify that the structural soundness, mechanism, and form should all be obtainable.
We estimate delivery of the umbrella by February or March of 2015, only a few months away from now. As with any production process we may incur delays, but with Matthew’s years of experience and resources in the design industry, production should progress very smoothly. We will keep everyone updated on the status of the project as frequently as we can.
Once the umbrella is produced we will be able to use Matthew's office to manage customer support and follow up with umbrella production past Kickstarter.
Sa™ Compact: The Compact Umbrella Reimagined
While the Sa™ was created as a reimagination of the full size umbrella, the Sa™ Compact was created as a reimagination of the compact umbrella. Both Sa™ umbrellas were formed using the same design principles, language, and aesthetics, and also share the same origami-based architecture, however the Sa™ Compact was created from the ground up to be ideal for compact usage situations. Instead of shrinking or retrofitting the full size Sa™ into a smaller shape, the Sa™ Compact was designed from day one to best suit both compact spaces and scenarios.
Canopy and Functionality
Like the Sa™, the Sa™ Compact also uses a planar tension architecture to generate its form. Beyond this, it also shares the same strength, materials, environmental consideration, and design principles with the original Sa™. The major difference between the Sa™ and the Sa™ Compact stems from the foldable canopy panel shape. After extensive geometric model testing, Justin was able to create a hexagonal shape composed of smaller triangles, which could then be folded into itself while still allowing for structural support.
The Sa™ Compact’s shape allows each one of the twelve larger triangular panels to be folded into one third of it’s open size. This is possible because the lower two triangles can be folded and guided into and behind the upper triangle through the unique slider and panel mechanism. Once the panels have been folded into themselves, they can then be flexed around the center pole into a closed position. In this state, the umbrella panels, which have all layered upon one another, has shrunken into one thirty-sixth of its open size. Because of this, the Sa™ Compact is able to obtain a very thin, flat-packed form when closed. The completed design should be about the size and width of an A4 sheet of paper and as thick as a candy bar.
Pole and Handle
Once the umbrella canopy has been folded shut, the telescoping pole can be slid out of sight into the center of the umbrella structure. Then, the handle can be swiveled around from the bottom of the pole stem and slide onto the bottom of the layered umbrella panel triangles, where it acts as a fastening cap. This multi-functioning handle not only insures a tight and consistent, flat closure of the umbrella, but also takes up a very minimal footprint.
Beyond it’s function as a handle and as a cap, the handle also acts as the opening and closing mechanism for the umbrella. When swiveled off the layered triangular panels and pushed back into the pole stem, the handle will release a tension spring and the umbrella will spring open. To close the umbrella, simply pull the handle back out of the pole stem, then rotating the handle into a perpendicular position and using it for support, push the telescoping pole and panels back into a closed position and then slide the handle over them for a complete closure.
We will be offering the Sa™ Compact in the same great color spectrum as the original Sa™. We will definitely be adding more colors and patterns to the lineup in the future, but in order to keep production costs within range for the first batch of umbrellas, we are sticking with the original colors for this campaign.
We expect to have the Sa™ Compact ready for delivery by June 2015, just a few months after the original Sa™. Since the structure is more complex and contains more moving parts than the original Sa™, we expect the production process to take a bit longer. Of course, in the case that they are ready earlier, we will definitely be sure to deliver them sooner. We will keep everybody updated on the progress of both umbrellas as we move through the production process.
We will be offering the Sa™ Compact as a backer reward for the same pledge as any original Sa™. To keep things simple, please choose the standard Sa™ rewards and we will ask you at the end of the Kickstarter campaign which version of the umbrella you would like. However, please do keep in mind that the estimated delivery date for the Sa™ Compact is in June, while the original Sa™ is in March. We cannot alter the description for any of the backer rewards, so please bear with us. We will also be delivering the original Sa™ on schedule separately form the Sa™ Compact for backers who have chosen one of each. Please notify us if you would like them shipped together.
In addition, we will also be extending a special price for our original Sa™ Early Limited Special backers. For a total pledge of $149 (plus the $20 international shipping surcharge when applicable), we will be allowing the Sa™ Compact to be added onto any Early Limited Special reward.
Risks and challenges
Some potential risks may include delays due to unforeseen issues which can affect any manufacturing process, but Matthew's 20+ years of experience in design and production ensure that we can handle any challenges that we may face. Our production specialist has also worked in the manufacturing industry for well over 30 years and has worked with many large, well-known brands. His close relationships with multiple production facilities and knowhow of the industry will ensure that production continues to run as smoothly as possible.
While we are striving to keep the umbrella as similar to the prototype and original concept as possible, there is always the possibility that we may face some production hurdles and may inevitably have to alter the final product. That being said, based on the our prototypes and meetings with our production manager, everything should move along very smoothly. In the case that any significant changes may incur, we will be certain to come up with a design solution which stays as true to the ideals of the original concept as possible. Of course, if any changes are made, we will also be sure inform everyone as soon as possible.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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