A well resolved solution that brings aesthetics and design innovation to a niche product category.
Triton is a redesign of the current water polo cap. From a design standpoint, I realized the outdated aesthetic and function of the player's uniform. Triton is a conceptual piece of sports equipment to bring attention and excitement to water polo as well as comfort and simplicity to the players.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?
Innovation and endearment are two driving factors of sports. They are also what water polo is severely lacking. Innovation is born from creativity which draws the viewers. Without creativity, water polo is left behind in the realm of mainstream sports. The overwhelming majority of people who have watched water polo was during the Olympics, which unfortunately comes around only once every four years. Innovation also means more comfort, usability, and updated equipment for the athletes themselves. Endearment is the emotion the fans bring to the sport. Without the fans, a sport is nothing. There is no professional league in the United States and therefore no fan-base. How can a sport survive with nobody to watch it?3. The Intent: What point of view did you bring to the project, and were there additional criteria that you added to the brief?
My goal is to bring both innovation and endearment to water polo and help the sport grow through product evolution. As a long time player, I had a good view from both sides of the situation. As an athlete, I understand the issues and how this product could effect the game. As a design student, I know how to implement my skills to help solve these issues. What I focused on most was making player identification more prominent, secure the headgear to the players, and create a contemporary, aggressive aesthetic.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)
I began my project with basic market research, creating a library of equipment used by water polo teams. I then moved into interviews with college athletes, coaches, referees, and even Tony Azevado, the current captain of the USA Men's Olympic and National Water Polo Team. He gave me some fantastic insight and expressed a desire to see a redesign of the cap. Tony thought it would be a huge factor in bringing new fans to the sport, especially in the US. After talking with Tony, I broke down the issues of the current cap into two main categories: aesthetic and function. The aesthetic is extremely outdated. Caps, nor the majority of water polo equipment, has been updated since the 1980's. Functionally, the cap strings come untied very easily which results in the cap itself either being pulled off or falling off the players head. This forces the officials to stop play, which drastically effects the flow of the game. So I began sketching and ideating on these issues. I developed a solid function and aesthetic that I think projects the qualities of water polo that I love so much and can draw people to the sport. I then did material research to determine the fabrics and plastics that would work well with the function and comfort I had in mind. After exploring materials, I produced some physical mock-ups to insure my concepts would function correctly. After validating these concepts I finalized my CAD models and completed my renderings and looked into branding my project. I contacted many athletic companies, including Turbo, a Spanish company that produces water polo equipment and the unique fabric I used on the Triton. They were very enthusiastic about the Triton and allowed me to use their logo and brand to further this redesign.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.)
Triton looks to invigorate a sport. It projects the qualities that embody water polo. The sleekness of the ear guards express the elegance, intelligence, and motion while the sculptural mohawk shows physicality, toughness, and excitement. The value of Triton is not only how it represents a sport, but how means to capture an audience as well as improve the game through comfort and simple function for the athletes. It hopes to bring an emotional connection to a sport that has been otherwise forgotten in a culture that idolizes athletes. Athletes that express the same physical and mental characteristic that make water polo such a fascinating and enjoyable sport.