For their recent “My Football Kit” project, Japanese design company nendo designed a modular soccer ball made up of 54 interlocking pieces that aims to be more durable and portable than its inflatable cousins.
The project was developed for the Japanese sports equipment company Molten with the mission of lowering access barriers in communities where the maintenance of traditional soccer balls poses logistical or financial challenges. nendo was inspired by woven Japanese bamboo balls to create the structure, assembling three types of soft, recycled polypropylene and elastomeric synthetic resin to replicate the feel of a typical ball while providing greater resilience.
The ball is “inflated” by the internal air pressure created by the locking pieces, which maintains their structure even if part of the ball is damaged during use. Players can then replace these parts individually, increasing the economic efficiency of the equipment and extending its long-term lifespan. Parts are shipped disassembled and can be easily stored in this more compact condition when on the move or when the bale is not in use.
nendo has created several compatible color schemes for the components of the balls, so that players can mix and match to create a unique piece of equipment. The design firm said there would also be a way to produce team or company specific colourways and other brands.
Learn more about the process behind ‘My Football Kit’ via the nendo blog.
Find out more about nendo and other leaders in Japanese design in this introduction to the seven architects you should know.