For its recent “My Football Kit” project, Japanese design firm nendo has designed a modular soccer ball comprised of 54 interlocking pieces which aims to be more durable and portable than its inflatable cousins.
The project was developed for Japanese sports equipment company Molten with the mission of lowering the barriers to access in communities where the maintenance of traditional soccer balls poses logistical or financial challenges. nendo drew inspiration from 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 but provide greater resiliency.
The ball is “inflated” by internal air pressure created by the interlocking pieces, which maintains their structure even if a piece of the ball is damaged in use. Players can then replace these pieces individually which increases the economic efficiency of the equipment and extends its long-term lifespan. The pieces are shipped disassembled and can be easily stowed in this more compact state when traveling or when the ball is out of use.
nendo has created multiple compatible color schemes for the balls’ components, so players can mix and match to create a unique piece of equipment. The design firm has stated there would also a means to produce team or company-specific colorways and other branding.
Read more about the process behind ‘My Football Kit’ via nendo’s blog.
Discover more about nendo and other leaders in Japanese design in this primer to the seven architects you should know.