These days canoes or kayaks are used for recreational or sporting purposes but they have an early history of travel, trade and exploration. Onak is a Belgian startup that reintroduces the vessel as a means of travel with an unsinkable canoe that folds up into a portable suitcase. The design offers an efficient way to use the city waterways to get from point A to point B while reducing a commuter’s carbon footprint by limiting his or her time in public transport or a car.
The canoe is made from a recyclable composite material called Honeycomb – Curv™ Polypropylene. This is central to the design of the canoe, which is cut out from a single piece of the flexible but durable material. Fabricated with a honeycomb pattern, the material consists of natural air bubbles that give the vessel extra buoyancy so that it can stay afloat if it accidentally tips and gets flooded with water.
Inspired by origami, the designer of Onak spent a lot of time creating and testing paper models of the boat using various folding patterns. The result is sleek design that folds into a wheeled case and unfolds into a canoe in less that ten minutes.
Onak’s key attribute is its versatility. The canoe can be used in urban waterways or in the more untamed waters of the outdoors. As a means of daily transport, the canoe is just as easy to unpack as it is to store away, which means a user can get in and out of the water swiftly, and skip peak traffic hours on the busy road networks.