The Eye

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.