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Could The Ordinary Everyday Umbrella Be Improved?

Despite the fact that the umbrella has been around for over 3,000 years, there is the feeling among many that its design could be improved upon.

As most brollies are at the moment, they can easily poke someone in the eye, fly away in the wind or just collapse if conditions are too severe - but is there a way the everyday umbrella could be improved?

Some umbrellas claim to be “100% stormproof”, mostly from upmarket brands that retail their products with significant price tags. Your standard issue brolly however doesn’t have that much research and development behind it, so they are viewed by many as disposable.

Designers are looking at the way the umbrella functions in its current form, with many aiming to simplify its construction but boost performance. Doing this to a ordinary discount umbrella however could be challenging.

"There's much more development to be done," says Justin Nagelberg, the New York-based creator of the Sa, an umbrella based on origami, the Japanese art of paper folding. "In 20 years' time, I don't think people will be using the same umbrellas that we use today."

Recycling umbrellas is also at the forefront of many designs, with hundreds of thousands of umbrellas thrown away each year after limited use. Although there is ultimately limited scope for a complete redesign of the traditional umbrella, durability is surely due a significant amount of consideration.

The global market for umbrellas is huge - China accounts for almost three-quarters of it, making £1.53bn in 2010 from the combined trade of umbrellas, walking sticks and whips.

It’s likely that there will be no shortage of redesigns for the everyday umbrella, to try and improve both its performance and durability, but it’s unlikely we’ll see anything truly revolutionary.

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