Parasols, despite their contemporary association with carefree beach holidays, have a long history, their earliest prototypes dating back to ancient Mesopotamia. The first collapsible parasols, were invented in China some 2000 years ago. Now, there is a wide range of sunshades featuring diverse materials and shapes that fall into this category.
Some parasols are faithful to tradition, such as Dougan Clarke’s ‘Mistral Pagoda’ for TUUCI, that features a central hardwood leg, a metal stand and a classically styled, canvas canopy. Tae Suzuki’s and Nakarin Kamsera’s ‘Nest Tree’ for Deesawat is an unusual reinterpretation of the parasol, where the fixed canopy is made of overlapping wooden bars to resemble twigs on a tree. Lieven Musschoot and Matthias Hennebel also take inspiration from nature in their ‘Paddo’ parasol for Sywawa, the underside of which features laps of fabric reminiscent of gills of a mushroom.
Another unique take on a parasol is Patrick Fre’s and Markus Boge’s ‘Cemarius’ for Skia, made to resemble an oversized flowerpot holding a plant with large leaves: a set of square sails mounted on stainless steel rods. StructureLab Arckitekten’s ‘S2 Q8’ is a collapsible parasol combining sharp-edges folded canvas with a high-tech look comprising stainless steel rods and wires. On the other hand, Peter Leleu designed a range of parasols for UMBROSA that combine a classic folding mechanism with a flexible arm support, such as the wall-mounted ‘Paraflex | Wallflex Round’ or the standing ‘Paraflex | Monoflex Round’. This parasol product line even includes ‘Paraflex | Multiflex Square’ where multiple collapsible sunshades are mounted on a single central support.
Paola Lenti’s ‘Mogambo’ parasol features an ottoman-like base and a fixed sunshade woven from high quality synthetic thread, whereas Dirk Wynants-designed ‘Inumbra’ for extremis features a round table with fixed benches that serve as a base for an elegant, pulley-operated parasol. Finally Studio Vertijet’s ‘Juri G’ for Skia resembles a spinning top and features illumination within its canvas body that ensures an unforgettable night-time experience as well.