Carl Robertshaw

Carl Robertshaw

Carl studied graphic Design at the world-famous Central St Martins College of Art and Design in London. While traveling on an exchange course to Australia, he met and flew with some of the best kiters and teams of the time including Top of the Line and High Performance. Carlʼs final year thesis concentrated on the physical and conceptual design of sport kites, specifically color and pattern arrangement of panel graphics and how they affected the kitesʼ behavior.

He was also one of the founder members of Airkraft, who were the first non-US team to win the World Championships in 1995. Carl has won the only Individual Quad-Line World Championship, held in Dieppe France in 1998 (with the Rev 1) and recently won the World title in 2010 with Scratch Bunnies, the team he is now a member of. Carl has been making kites for over 20 years. He lives and works in London designing and consulting on fabric structures for events and architects using kites as his main inspiration.

Masterpiece Designs

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Form Follows Function (9′ wingspan)

Before a design looks good it has to function properly. The1920ʼs Bauhaus art movementʼs motto “Form Follows Function” is central to the panel layout of this new Rev 1. Like the woodcuts and drawings of the Bauhaus, the image, in this case the outline of the kite, is dissected and abstracted. The dilemma is: how do you make the graphics work coherently with the outline and the flight characteristics of the kite?

Over the past 5 years Iʼve explored the kites geometry and realised that the two halves of the kite dictate visual perspective. In order to illustrate this, a third line is drawn from the outside edges to the centre point. Adding another set of lines perpendicular to the vanishing point line dictates rotation, and a grid emerges to base a panel layout on. Mix this grid with the iconic Lee Sedgwick graphic and the composition starts to make sense.

I have always flown the Rev 1 as it is stable and you have more control in light and strong wind than the Rev 1.5. With an Icarex sail and tight bungees, the kiteis as fast and as responsive as a Rev 1.5. I have modified the sail in a couple of ways – extending the depth of the sail at the V so each half of the kite is more connected to the other, which helps reverse flight. The other modification is the increased and continuous curve in the Leading Edge, which helps control the Trailing Edge even more, with the added benefit of keeping the sail under tension in all orientations.

The grain direction in the panels is important and the correct layout in this design improves the stability of the sail. Iʼve used rolled seams as these are stronger than the fabric itself, and they provide stiffness to the sail, which again helps to support the trailing edge. Each kite is sewn with accuracy to within 2mm to ensure that each kite is true to the design.

Each colour scheme is unique. Iʼvedesigned over 150 colour variations. There are various groups of colour schemes that are based on Op Art, Stereograms or Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack colour mixers. I just hope you like the colours! The Revolution logo on all the kites is dark grey.

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