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The Umbrella Built for Two: A Playful Rethinking of a Mundane Object

An umbrella that inspires camaraderie while keeping you dry.

How often does the kind gesture of sharing your umbrella with a companion end with the two of you awkwardly out of step, drenched instead of dry? Belgian designer Quentin de Coster sought to remedy this by creating a two handled or "BRANCH" umbrella for a sharing twosome. By taking second hand umbrellas and replacing them with a handle of his own design printed by the 3-D company Materialise, de Coster breathes new life into the mundane old umbrella.

De Coster originally created the BRANCH umbrella for the auction "Second Hand, Second Life" put on by the Belgian non-profit Les Petits Riens/Spullenhulp. His communal umbrella is both an invitation to share, but it also encourages you to walk in stride with your partner, and "to be less individualistic and take time," he says.

The impetus for the project goes back to a memory from de Coster's childhood, "When we went to church on Sunday, it was always raining and we had to share an umbrella with my sister. I was much taller than her and walked faster. She was never spared by the rain. So I had the idea to revisit this everyday life object by a poetic and playful way." There's something poetic about a utilitarian object that encourages two people to be so in synch with each other. Staying dry is an added bonus.

Photos courtesy of Quentin de Coster Design Studio

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