Jeonghye Hong & Eunsun Lee / Hongik University, Digital Media Design Dept.
For people who love birds and care for the environment.
Great wit and ingenuity are on full display in the Umbrella Cage. I often see umbrellas thrown away in sidewalk garbage cans in New York. Something feels wrong about seeing the many delicate parts of an umbrella deformed and intermingled with old sandwiches and dutifully wrapped baggies of dog droppings. Beyond recycling an umbrella this project makes an authentically fun and potable bird cage. It’s a designs that brings pleasure, and maybe some inspiration, to the bird, its owner, and all passer by. – Yury Gitman
Project “Umbrella Cage” is a DIY design project of making a portable birdcage out of a used umbrella. This project was first conceived during Design Hacking Workshop as a part of the Interactive Product Design Class at Hongik University in 2011. Design Hacking is about creating new purposes by altering original design of things. The team tried to come up with a new functional design with recycled items and came up with the new design solution by using a broken umbrella to create a birdcage. This DIY umbrella cage is as portable as an umbrella with a great design look.2. The Brief: Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the context for the project, and what was the challenge posed to you?
We’ve created a birdcage for people who love birds and environments with an umbrella that no longer functions as an umbrella. The objectivity of this project was to create a new value as a second life to an object that has lost its original value or functionality. We first wondered if we can create a new value by just giving a new functionality toward a broken object and we decided not to lose design quality while recreating a new value of the object. Through user research and experiments, we came up with a design that has a good aesthetic as well as a comfortable uses for the bird owner. It is common that one uses a beautiful product more often.3. The Intent: What is the personal backstory; why did you create your DIY project? What point of view did you bring to the project?
On a very windy day, my umbrella got flipped inside out therefore, I was walking with a half folded umbrella to avoid another flip. At that moment, I saw the metal structure of the umbrella frame. The shape of the half opened umbrella reminded me of a bird cage so I decided to create a bird cage out of a thrown umbrella.
Giving any broken or thrown products a new life by creating another functionality is an interesting idea. This project was meaningful in that sense where a newly given life can protect another life. Through this design we would like to show diversity of different applications of a product through design hacking process.4. The Process: Describe the rigor that informed your project. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) What stakeholder interests did you consider? (Audience, business, organization, labor, manufacturing, distribution, etc., as applicable)
First concept for Umbrella Cage had a linear approach toward umbrella frame bars instead of them being curvy. However, through two prototypes of the umbrella cage, we realised that curvy solution is better in design and space then we researched how to gather and hold umbrella frame bars naturally. Cutting, bending and holding together this hard metal bars of the umbrella frame was the most difficult. We have come to a solution by balancing between the height of the central pillar of the umbrella and the distance of each bent bars that wraps the cage. This process takes a careful consideration as it is a foundation of the cage. Making the umbrella cage is simple. Once the bars are fixed, the rest are to be tied with electrical wire. Only section one should be careful is the opening door part of the cage.
This product is for people who own birds. Some owners complained about small portable cages that offer tight space for their birds. This product gives a wider space for a bird while keeping portability as well as beautiful design. This cage can be hung anywhere an umbrella can be hung: such as an arm, park, tree branch, car, kitchen and etc! Also, this product can be used as an interior product by giving better spacial usage. The team plans to produce more of umbrella cages and distribute in future.5. The Value: How does your project earn its keep in the world? What is its value? What is its impact? (Social, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, environmental, cultural, gladdening, etc.)
There are tons of wastes of used products everyday. The umbrella cage is a product design that offers new opportunity for another use and it reminds users to care about our environment by showing that a recycled ordinary item can be transformed into a great new design. If people look at their products again with a care, they will be surprised to find out their new uses. This design sends a message to reduce wastes and reuse a used item into a new product.
The value of Umbrella Cage will shine more when it becomes more useful than mass produced products out there.
The Umbrella Cage project fits into the DIY category as broken umbrellas are easy to find around us and making process is simple. We are sharind the process of making of this umbrella cage. This project utilizes all the parts of broken umbrella with only wires and tape. Isn’t this mind for DIY?