Art Center Summit 2010: Projects & Partnerships in Sustainable Design

Kam Leang

Product Design 2011

Kam Leang graduated from Art Center in 2011 with a degree in Product Design. He designs to “delight, inspire, surprise and lift up the world and friends around me.” Leang has held internships at NONOBJECT and Neutrogena, and cofounded and designed


Renkasa Umbrella System


Featured in Design In the Sustainable Era, Taschen 2010
Art Center Student Gallery

Product Description

The Renkasa Umbrella System was inspired by its initial goal of reducing the nearly 400,000 umbrellas discarded annually in Tokyo. Through consideration of all aspects of the umbrella—from raw material preparation and processing to the behaviors of consumers and landfill management—a system of automated renting in conjunction with a new easy-to-manufacture, recycle and reuse umbrella design was created.

In addition to the design, which minimizes the use of materials, a system of vending machines was created. The vending machines dispense and recover umbrellas, also collecting them for recycling at the end of their life cycle. The accessibility of the vending machines throughout Tokyo provide a great incentive for easy sharing of the product instead of owning.

Sustainable Goals & Strategies

The main goal of Renkasa was to reconsider the individual use of an umbrella and transform user behavior away from the discarding goods towards a collective shared use of an everyday object. Through its system, Renkasa promotes umbrella recycling and maintenance, and also initiates community economic improvement.