A handful of companies have the ever-shrinking umbrella game on lock, but what good is something small enough to stow in your bag if it’s soaked? Kazuyo Koike devised a genius solution: Make the fabric so water repellent that raindrops slide off with just one shake.
The Osaka-based designer collaborated with Japanese materials manufacturer Komatsu Seiren on the umbrella, which is made with an ultra high-density fabric. When open, it has a span of about 46 inches and folds down to 10 inches long when closed. The non-slip silicone handle helps maintain a solid grip.
With his product, Koike is tackling a design problem that has eluded many designers: the soggy umbrella. Some approached it by building a bizarre exoskeleton that folds the umbrella inward; others have approached the problem with an over-engineered case that collects water. Koike’s, refreshingly, doesn’t look that might different from your average Totes umbrella or emergency drugstore purchase. At $48 a pop, however, you won’t want to forget this one on the subway.