Nendo’s Cubic Rubber Bands turn the utilitarian object into a 3-D sculpture.

Japanese Designers Give the Ordinary Rubber Band a Hip Makeover

Japanese Designers Give the Ordinary Rubber Band a Hip Makeover

The Eye
Slate’s design blog.
Oct. 24 2014 11:56 AM

Japanese Designers Give the Ordinary Rubber Band a Hip Makeover

Cubic Rubber Bands made from silicone by Japanese designers Nendo.

Photo by Akihiro Yoshida

The unexciting if useful rubber band has never aspired to be more than a utilitarian object. Unless stored on a rubber band ball, most rubber bands find themselves stranded at the bottom of drawers or, even worse, discarded after a single use.

Nendo's reimagined rubber bands are designed to be easily spotted in a drawer and picked up.

Photo by Akihiro Yoshida

As part of a new stationery collection, Japanese designers Nendo have come up with an eye-catching rubber band redesign called the Cubic Rubber Band. The designers call the geometric shape of the silicone rubber bands “assertively three-dimensional.” This diagram on Nendo's website shows how they work when securing a rounded scroll of paper through one of the stretchy square openings:


Courtesy of Nendo

But I wondered if the bands could be stretched wide to accommodate a stack of mail or a manuscript or if they are flexible enough to be doubled or tripled like a conventional rubber band.

“No,” the designers told me in an email, explaining that they had to balance the desire for rubber band–like elasticity with the firmness necessary to create a silicone structure that would hold its 3-D shape. “The geometrical shapes make the bands easy to find in a drawer and easy to pick up,” they added.

So while they look cool and are easy to find in a drawer, they're not as all-purpose as conventional rubber bands. But it's still exciting to see an innovative take on an everyday object.

Nendo’s Cubic Rubber Bands are available online.

Kristin Hohenadel's writing on design has appeared in publications including the New York Times, Fast Company, Vogue, Elle Decor, Lonny, and Apartment Therapy.