Drawing on the heritage and foundational stories of the legendary sports brand we created a collection of brand installations for the new Nike office in Beijing. The pieces were designed under the concept ‘Changing Perspectives’.
The project involved translating core Nike stories, materials and techniques into new scales and contexts. Focus was placed on materiality and finding interpretative ways to represent the universe of Nike innovation. The challenge was to create pieces that not only tell stories, but also have an impact on the audience and working environment.
The nature of the art pieces varies from framed photo prints and interpretations of the iconic Nike logo to a ten meter long lamella wall creating a magical illusionary effect. Find a detailed description of five selected pieces below.
Bill Bowerman’s magical lamella tribute
In the reception area the Magical Lamella Wall surprises employees and guests with its optical illusion of movement evoked by a three-dimensional wave inspired by the Nike swoosh. The colours change from grey to orange to blue depending on the observer’s position. The front view reveals a print of Nike’s co-founder Bill Bowerman’s famous quote “If you have a body you are an athlete” mounted in the background. To create the illusionary effect, lamellas were individually cut out of wood panels according to the protruding organic shape of the wave, and then painted in three different colours on each side.
A wall inspired by one of the world’s most iconic sneakers
Paying tribute to the best-selling shoe in Nike’s history, Airforce 1, we have translated the distinctive design features of the iconic athletic shoe into a large branding element. The design includes inspirations taken from different parts of the shoe, such as the texture of the upper and the traditional white colour. The logo AF-1 is milled into a white-painted wooden box with the year of the shoe’s first production added next to it. Behind the cut-out of the logo we placed wooden panels representing the texture of the sneaker’s sole.
Nike Flyknit meets Beijing’s Bird’s Nest
The concept of this element is based upon the idea of flight, connecting the so-called Bird’s Nest – a stadium and local landmark of Beijing – with the intricate pattern of Nike’s Flyknit technology. We interweaved the architectural patterns of the stadium with the fabric of Flyknit sneakers using actual Nike fabric. Mounted on foamed pieces, the installation provides acoustic insulation. The bright colours are representative of the well-known colourful athletic shoes.
A sole with a soul – tribute to the Cortez shoe
In this art piece we honour another iconic Nike sneaker, the Cortez shoe, designed by Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman in 1972. We interpreted the Cortez shoe’s well-known herringbone sole pattern on a larger scale. A panelled wall piece made out of bent sheet metal displays different graphic folio prints as the viewer walks by. It contains two stories in one: a graphic of the Cortez shoe depicted on one side, and an image of Bowerman on the other.
“Greatness is not in one special place, and it’s not in one special person. Greatness is wherever somebody is trying to find it. Find your greatness.” Based on this inspirational Nike campaign, the studio turned the central message into a typographic art installation. A three-dimensional effect was created by mounting four layers of CNC-cut boards on the wall that are reminiscent of stairs in an exercise context. In the background, a Nike pattern printed as a graphic folio is displayed. The piece is designed to motivate Nike employees to work hard and be passionate about their work.