Original Storm thumbnail 1
Original Storm thumbnail 2
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Not currently on display at the V&A

Original Storm

Umbrella
2014-2015 (manufactured), 2004-2005 (designed)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Umbrellas are ubiquitous in cities. The relative cheapness and disposability of mass-produced umbrellas has discouraged the production of more expensive, alternative designs, despite the fact yearly patents for ‘improved’ umbrella designs regularly number in the thousands. This aerodynamic alternative to a round umbrella, manufactured by Dutch company Senz°, is innovative, technologically-advanced and visually striking. It performs in the same way as a bicycle helmet, or aircraft's wing, channeling wind flow over its surface and reducing the chance of it inverting in strong winds.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Umbrella
  • Case
Additional TitleStealth Umbrella (popular title)
Materials and Techniques
Polyester, aluminium, fibreglass, steel, nylon, ABS, EVA
Brief Description
'Storm' umbrella and cover, Senz, Netherlands; designed 2004-05, manufactured 2014-15
Physical Description
Aerodynamic stick umbrella with cover.

Dimensions
  • Canopy length: 93cm (maximum) (Note: canopy maximum)
  • Canopy width: 89cm (maximum) (Note: maximum)
  • Height: 805mm (closed) (Note: Closed)
  • Weight: 435g
Measurements taken from product specs
Production typeMass produced
Object history
Storm umbrellas were first issued in 2006, the original production run of 10,000 sold out in only nine days. The design won numerous awards, including prizes from (2007) Red Dot, Dutch Design, (2008) IDEA (gold), Good Design, Gold International Design Excellence Award, (2009) ICSID Star of the Observeur, and iF Product Design award.



This example was purchased by the V&A in 2015 (RF 2015/83).

Historical context
Umbrellas and parasols have been in use for thousands of years, keeping their users respectively dry or shaded. However, the basic design for round umbrellas has remained essentially unchanged.



Senz° was founded in Delft in 2005 by industrial designer Gerwin Hoogendoorn and two of his classmates from Delft Technical University, Gerard Kool and Philip Hess. The name of the company is a phonetic misspelling of ‘sense’ because, according to their website, ‘they wanted their umbrellas to make sense!’. The Storm umbrella was originally developed in 2004. Hoogendoorn wanted to design an umbrella that would not invert in strong winds or endanger fellow pedestrians’ eyes, while keeping its users’ backs dry. The Storm umbrella acts like a bicycle helmet: channelling wind flow over its surface, the shape of the umbrella deflects wind force and prevents inversion. Senz°’s advertising states that the Storm is effective in gusts of up to 100kp/h (70mp/h); the threshold for inversion for a round umbrella can be as low as 21kp/h (13mp/h).



As well as the Original Storm umbrella, Senz° produces several variants on this design, including a foldable and extra-large version.
Subject depicted
Summary
Umbrellas are ubiquitous in cities. The relative cheapness and disposability of mass-produced umbrellas has discouraged the production of more expensive, alternative designs, despite the fact yearly patents for ‘improved’ umbrella designs regularly number in the thousands. This aerodynamic alternative to a round umbrella, manufactured by Dutch company Senz°, is innovative, technologically-advanced and visually striking. It performs in the same way as a bicycle helmet, or aircraft's wing, channeling wind flow over its surface and reducing the chance of it inverting in strong winds.
Collection
Accession Number
T.2:1, 2-2015

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record createdJanuary 28, 2015
Record URL