Made of 54 plastic parts, the non-inflatable football can be assembled by hand
Japanese design firm Nendo has developed a non-inflatable football made up of 54 assemblable parts. Created for sports equipment company Molten, the ball is designed with soft, recycled polypropylene and elastomeric synthetic resin components and is inspired by the structure of the traditional Japanese woven bamboo ball.
As a more resilient football than normal inflatable ones – partly because it does not need re-inflating – the project, named My Football Kit, is intended as a way to make the sport of football more accessible for children. For many, ball maintenance presents a barrier to continued playing, whether because of the unavailability of air pumps or the deterioration and damage of the tube inside the ball.
The Nendo football is designed to give the same sense of kicking as a standard ball; instead of relying on internal air pressure, the design makes use of the resilience of the football’s surface material.
If a component comes off during play, the interlocking structure ensures the ball will not disassemble. Should a component somehow break, it can be replaced without having to purchase a brand new ball. The availability of multiple colours for the components is also intended to help children strengthen their attachment to the ball – and the sport – through the creation of their own colour scheme.
The instructions for assembly of the ball are designed like a picture book, depicted entirely in simple, accessible illustrations with no text. The act of assembling – almost like putting together a puzzle – also aims to introduce an additional element of fun for children.
Photography by Akihiro Yoshida