Thomas Martin The Tight 5

  • School
    Victoria University of Wellington, School of Design

Rugby Union is the national sport of New Zealand. Like any other boy growing up as a rugby player in New Zealand, my goal is to make the All Blacks. My father was a professional rugby player and designer himself and I am beginning to follow in his footsteps, only leaving my own mark behind me. After 16 years of playing rugby, I am now entering my third season with the Waikato Rugby NPC team.

Preparation plays a huge part in performing effectively. The ‘pre-game’ environment is monumental in creating maximum output mentally and physically when stepping foot onto the field. What happens off the field, before and after games is often described as disorganised and chaotic, disrupting players' routines, there is a serious need for clarity and simplicity of important tasks that are often overlooked within the changing shed or on the sideline.

The Tight Five often known as the ‘engine room’ of a rugby union team, is represented in this case by a brawny, titanium 3D printed 5 in 1 tool specifically designed to aid rugby union players. Upfront stands two sprig wrench heads, essential for tightening and replacing all sprig types and sizes. In the second row, a strapping tape cutting safety blade and waterproof marker. Performing tasks in the most effective, robust, and safest way possible, epitomizes and embraces modern rugby development and how far it has come as a sport.

A sport of constant change and evolution, the dynamic form captures a moment in time of pure acceleration and growth of the game and a reflection of professional players’ impressive physical conditioning. The ergonomic form complements the functionality and fuses the pure velocity of the curves with sharp agile angles. A tool ready to solve many rugby players’ worst nightmares that happen behind the scenes of the game when it comes to gear or personal maintenance. Designed with practicality as a priority, to ensure it is suitable for any large or small rugby player's hand and fingers. Eliminating moving and mechanical parts provides single-hand use and allows the ability to be rigorously handled and chucked around the changing room.

The curvilinear form is inspired by the horizontal shape of FMG Stadium, Waikato’s main stand of my home field. Whakarite ki te Mahi, Maori for ‘Prepare to Perform’ printed on the pen not only summarises the product’s identity but also a message to players preparing to play or train. ‘The Tight 5’, a tool designed by a player for a player. It provides an intriguing form of an amalgamation of many conceptual and functional components, all working together to provide optimal performance off the field, so the player can perform on it.