FAPA VARIO: SKI AND SNOWBOARD MAGNETIC HOLDER WITH AN EASY-LOCK SYSTEM

In 1995, the marketing manager of FAPA Spa put us in charge of designing two products: a Ski Rack and a Snowboard Rack, both with magnetic coupling, for the accessories segment. The briefing of the project requested to innovate the segment not only in terms of style but specially in what concerns the use of the system, facilitating loading and unloading the transported products.

A process of user-centered observation allowed us to identify the latent needs and problems that were common in the use of all products in the market. The main problem was related to the series of fixation hooks (elastic or mechanic) used to lock or unlock the ski from the rack. These hooks are hard to manipulate using gloves and, not only that, they tend to fill up with snow and to lock when frozen. Considering the use in thermal adverse conditions, the first problem to solve was to allow users to manipulate the holder without having to remove their gloves. The second was, consequently, to remove all small fixation hooks.

The solution was obtained through the inclination of the Rack, using gravity as a facilitator to position the object to be transported. It was decided to replace all the fixation elements by a specially designed compression chamber, able to lock at the same time skis and poles through its own deformation and adaptability to the content after closing the rack holder. The solution allowed to combine the former two racks in one unique single product, capable of accommodating two pairs of skis and its poles, or one pairs skis and its poles + one snowboard, or two pair of snowboard. All without adapters to each product, giving the user freedom to choose what to carry.
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The Vario model also gave origin to Taco, a bigger model, that can accommodate three pairs of skis or two snowboards.
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Vario is one of the projects done for FAPA, an Italian well-known brand in the European market of car accessories, founded in 1943 in Turin and historical leader in the Italian market.