Dossier SENZ umbrella

Umbrellas have been around for centuries but until very recently their design had hardly changed at all. As a result, the old-fashioned umbrella retained various design flaws – turning itself inside-out in strong winds, breaking easily, offering poor visibility and having dangerous metal tips.

The SENZ umbrella, designed by three TU Delft students – Gerwin Hoogendoorn, Philip Hess and Gerard Kool, addresses these design flaws. Its aerodynamic form means that the SENZ umbrella always finds the best position in the wind, making it more comfortable to use. The umbrella’s design means that it can withstand winds of up to force ten. The new shape also gives the user better visibility and the specially designed ‘eyesavers’ make it safer for others. Then there is the open and close mechanism, which is subtly integrated into the handle.

Asymmetrical design

The basic idea came from Gerwin Hoogendoorn in 2005, who was then a student of Industrial Design Engineering. He came up with the idea of using an asymmetrical design (see illustrations 1 and 2). The rear of the SENZ is longer than the front. When a conventional round umbrella is caught by the wind, it will immediately tip so that the wind turns it inside-out. With the SENZ, the shorter side always turns to face the wind, meaning that it will actually catch less wind. Another advantage is that the ribs are hinged at the tips, meaning that the ribs cannot break and the strength of the wind is distributed better.



The SENZ umbrella has already been a global success story, both commercially and within the design world, and various types are available. In addition to the SENZ Original, the SENZ Mini has also been introduced – a foldable version which fits easily into a bag. There is also now the SENZ XL, an extra large model. The SENZ XL won the American International Design Excellence Awards 2008.

Additional info

For more information and also the SENZ Umbrellas webshop:



Name author: M&C
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