AJ Kassenaar, designed the Zinnia Sun Screen to answer a client’s frustration—- “why do beach umbrellas have to be so bulky and inconvenient?”
AJ is an industrial designer, interior designer and professor at Wentworth Institute of Technology, who has designed everything from modular furniture for Crate&Barrel to a bestselling popcorn popper for Cuisinart. She knew that a new form of shade with function and style would have universal appeal.
Zinnia was refined over three years, in countless trips to the beach and the park. Inspired by the designs of Bill Moss, the founder of Moss Tent in Camden, Maine who is still revered for inventing the first pop-up tents in the 1950s, AJ designed a pattern of parabolic and hyperbolic arcs to form a canopy of stretch and woven fabrics. The tensile design supported by just two poles and made of all breathable materials creates an agile structure that is remarkably stable in the wind. Zinnia Sun Screens are uniquely portable, the canopy stuffs into a cross body bag that weighs less than three pounds.
The innovative combination of woven and stretch fabrics with UPF certification presented another idea— what if the canopy could become a cover up? The Zinnia Coat, a second product in the line, is a unique design that can be just that!
AJ Kassenaar designed Zinnia Sun Screen as a whole new category of shade.
Zinnia Sun Screen lets us enjoy the breeze and the view while sitting in “deep shade” as opposed to the shade offered by an umbrella. The difference is in the amount of reflected light that is blocked when you sit directly under the canopy. Adjustable curtains offer more privacy and further block exposure from the sides.