WHY WE HATE UMBRELLAS
1999. Design engineer Greig Brebner stepped out of a doorway into the human rush hour of a London pavement, the blustery sky pockmarked with the first sprinkles of rain.
At 1.9m tall, the New Zealander could see over most of the crowd to his destination. But as the downpour gathered pace, his eyes were suddenly at the mercy of hundreds of bristling spikes: the ends of umbrellas being unfurled around him. Moments later the wind turned one of them inside out, it’s owner struggling to avoid taking Greig’s eye out.
THE UMBRELLA IS HISTORY
Until the moment Greig set to work on his kitchen table with a glue gun and some kite material, the basic design of the modern umbrella hadn’t changed since 1928.
They come in all sorts of colours, have little push buttons and lights, some even have holes in the top that let the wind out (and water in) to stop them turning inside out. But the basics are the same.
And they don’t really work.
This has led to a product that fails if there’s more than a breath of wind, breaks completely after a few months and then ends up in landfill.
POINTLESS TO BLUNT
So Greig started from scratch to redesign the entire idea of a personal weather protection canopy.
The engineer in him worked towards something that would outperform everything on the market, working flawlessly and effortlessly in conditions way beyond the capabilities of any umbrella in the world.
The designer in Greig demanded that it must also be elegant and stylish.
And the tall guy in him just wanted to make sure these damn things didn’t keep poking him in the face.
FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION:
THAT HAS BEEN MISUNDERSTOOD. FORM AND FUNCTION SHOULD BE ONE, JOINED IN A SPIRITUAL UNION
FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT
THE BLUNT IS BORN
When Greig got home he couldn’t wait to unpack his new ideas and test them out in blustery New Zealand.
He would take his prototype and walk up to Auckland’s One Tree Hill in the middle of a raging storm and see if the weather could break it.
When he and the Blunt kept surviving that, he reckoned he was on the right track. When a Blunt performed and functioned in winds at Force 12 (>117 km/h), the maximum setting of the test wind tunnel, he got quite excited.
REVOLUTION NOT EVOLUTION
The structural integrity of an umbrella is defined by its canopy. A canopy is only as strong as the tension applied to the fabric stretched across its ribs.
Taut equals Strong.
DISPOSABLE TO INDISPENSABLE
The Blunt aim is not just to redefine the umbrella itself, but the whole umbrella industry.
Each year millions upon millions of broken umbrellas are discarded. Very few are repaired or recycled, so the vast majority of them end up adding to the pollution buried in landfill sites.
This wastes your money and time, and all the time and resources that went into making products that simply weren’t up to the job in the first place.
A Blunt, on the other hand, is designed and built to withstand the toughest conditions and be a pleasure to use year after year. This means less waste, better value for money, and less swearing in the street every time it rains.