It’s no secret that Nike has an eye for design. From advertising to athletic wear to sports equipment and more, the company’s signature style has mass appeal and is easy to spot, but it's easy to forget the company's knack for creating serious interior design. Nike’s new New York headquarters, completed last year by its Workplace Design + Connectivity team in collaboration with Studios Architecture, got global attention for its slick look, but the brand’s newly built-out basketball space in Chicago is just as impressive. The Just Do It HQ, a basketball facility set inside a church dating to 1885, is quite glorious. Nike transformed the Church of Epiphany in Chicago’s West Loop into a state-of-the-art cultural hub and a home for a youth summer training program. Throughout August, Nike will host camps for young athletes and offer interactive youth workshops, pro athlete appearances, and skills clinics. The space itself is a modern and bold design outfitted with a basketball court, sports gym, and locker room. Nike added a color scheme of blue, orange, and white that runs throughout the three programs and created stained glass windows with basketballs carved into the center. Arched, metal frames were also placed in front of windows in certain places, diffusing the light and further connecting the gritty theme found throughout the aged church. The stained glass basketball design is also painted at the center of the court. Other contextual elements kept throughout the facility include the open, vaulted ceilings as well as the arched doorways and shelves. Nike’s Just Do it HQ is open Monday through Saturday throughout the end of this month. Kids can sign up to participate in the camps by registering online.
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Thanks to a partnership between government, a local artist, and a global athletic brand, basketball players on Manhattan's Lower East Side can now enjoy colorful courts and high-style hoops that highlight the energy of the sport. The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks) teamed up with Nike and KAWS, the Brooklyn-based artist and toy designer, to transform Sara D. Roosevelt Park's two basketball courts into vibrant permanent installations. The four vividly-hued backboards and their matching asphalt playing surfaces—painted with bright character silhouettes against kaleidoscopic backdrops—were unveiled in a ceremony last week. “The newly installed pop-art design, conceived by Nike and KAWS, is an exciting new add to these refurbished Sara D. Roosevelt Park basketball courts. The collaborative work here not only make these courts a destination for recreation, but also for viewing creative, culturally relevant, pop-art,” said NYC Parks commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, in a statement. “Thanks to Nike for funding the stunning facelift of such a great Lower East Side amenity that is at the intersection of multiple Lower East Side neighborhoods and districts.” Nike, which recently collaborated with Portland, Oregon on its bike share program, committed $300,000 to the basketball courts for the KAWS installation and general spruce-up. The park, which opened in 1934, last received a major overhaul twenty years ago. Although this collaboration was public-private, over the past several years the Parks Department has launched three major public initiatives to refurbish parks citywide. The Parks Without Borders project asks New Yorkers to nominate parks that could be better knit into the existing urban fabric through edge-condition design interventions, while this summer, Mayor Bill de Blasio committed $150 million to reinvigorating anchor parks, the largest and best-loved parks in the five boroughs. The older but ongoing $285 million Community Parks Initiative (CPI), started in 2014, added nine new sites to its improvement list in September. CPI targets parks in low-income, historically disinvested neighborhoods with growing populations.
The City of Portland’s Bureau of Transportation, Nike, and bike share operator Motivate have partnered to bring an innovative, $10-million, 1,000 cycle bike share system to Portland’s central city. The bike share program, named “Biketown,” originally was to only encompass 600 bicycles and a compact service area. However, Nike’s involvement (a Citi Bike-style branding effort) increased the program's visibility and enabled the expansion of the number of bicycles by 66 percent. This allowed the system to expand into several downtown-adjacent neighborhoods as well. According to a joint press release issued earlier this year, the sports and apparel multi-national, based in nearby Beaverton, Oregon, will provide the initial $10-million in funding for the program and maintain a five-year contract over the system’s branding, including the production of 400 limited edition and yet-to-be-released specialty wrapped bicycles every year. Nike’s contribution, combined with projected ridership revenues, will make the program cost-free for the city. The network’s aluminum frame bicycles were produced by Brooklyn, New York-based Social Bicycles, a transportation technology company that has revolutionized bike share infrastructure by pioneering a “smart-bike” containing integrated communications and locking technologies. These features relieved some the need for the expensive docking systems other bike share systems use. Bicycle docks were not eliminated entirely, and are still utilized as a highly-visible form of urban infrastructure, but the bicycles were designed with integrated slots for U-Lock bicycle locks so they can be locked to and checked out from traditional bicycle rack systems as well as branded bike docks. The bicycles’ on-board digital communications and payment displays are also solar powered, as opposed to being located on the bicycle docks, as is common in other locales, making the type of free-flowing movement described above possible. The 45-pound, chain-less shaft-drive, 8-speed models will be managed by Motivate, the New York City-based bike share management and coordination services provider that also runs programs in New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, and the Boston metropolitan area. With new bike share systems making their debut in Los Angeles, West Hollywood, California, Cleveland, Ohio, Las Vegas, Nevada, and Vancouver, Canada, Portland’s system is the latest in a rapid increase in bicycle systems in North America.
Tomorrow, Saturday, March 28, is the last day to enjoy Nike's Air Max Box pop up at 735 East 3rd Street in LA's Arts District. The installation, inspired by one of the company's shoe boxes and designed to show off the brand's Air Max Zero, is covered with an array of LED displays, projecting kinetic Nike-related graphics. You can even walk inside if you make a reservation, checking out shoes (some viewable under a glass floor, others suspended in what look like pneumatic tubes), and getting a look at working sketches from some of the company's top designers. (Video courtesy Joey Shimoda)
Sneaker and/or design aficionados take note: Nike released a new high-top model, called 'Dazzle,' on December 13, with snowboarding footwear to follow. While the shoes will definitely stand out in a crowd, that was not the original purpose of the Dazzle graphic. Developed by designers to foil World War I naval surveillance systems, the patterns were meant to confuse, not camouflage. Wikipedia explains the Dazzle camouflage concept:
Dazzle camouflage, also known as razzle dazzle or dazzle painting, was a family of ship camouflage used extensively in World War I and to a lesser extent in World War II and afterwards. Credited to artist Norman Wilkinson, though with a prior claim by the zoologist John Graham Kerr, it consisted of complex patterns of geometric shapes in contrasting colours, interrupting and intersecting each other. Unlike some other forms of camouflage, dazzle works not by offering concealment but by making it difficult to estimate a target's range, speed and heading. Norman Wilkinson explained in 1919 that dazzle was intended more to mislead the enemy as to the correct position to take up than actually to miss his shot when firing.More recently, the high seas have been graced by a contemporary version of the high-contrast optics. In 2013, industrialist and art collector Dakis Joannou commissioned Jeff Koons to detail his 115-foot yacht, Guilty. Perhaps Nike's next collectible shoe will dazzle in color.
Nike has covered a basketball court in Shanghai with LED sensors and the result looks like a live-action video game. The court is called the “House of Mamba”—not to be confused with the new “House of Vans” in London—and it's topped with reactive sensors that track players' every move. The House is part of Nike’s “Rise Campaign,” which the company described as “the first social basketball documentary drama in Greater China to inspire young people with a passion for basketball.” The House opened this summer with an appearance by Kobe Bryant, for whom the stadium gets its named—“House of Mamba” plays off Bryant’s nickname “Black Mamba.” Gizmag has a helpful breakdown of how exactly this court works: “It has a wooden base layer platform to provide a natural bounce, followed by a layer of over a thousand 2 x 2 ft (0.6 x 0.6 m) interlaced LED screens, a layer of thick glass on top of the screens and an adhesive basketball surface that provides bounce and grip covering the glass layer.”
A cross-section of postdigital design work illustrates the role of parametrics in the built environment.Spawned from his 2011 show on Patrick Jouin, Museum of Arts & Design (MAD) curator Ronald Labaco conceived Out of Hand as a more comprehensive show that clarified the role of digital design, from its capabilities to its significance in our daily lives. “People just didn’t get it,” said Labaco of Jouin’s 2011 MAD show. “Unless you’re immersed in it, it can be hard to understand so I thought if we showed something like this in the galleries again, we needed to provide information that can be digested more clearly.” Staged across three floors of the museum, with two exterior sculptures, Labaco said the show is an important program for MAD among other New York art institutions like MoMA, Cooper Hewitt, and the New Museum. The goal to raise awareness of 3D printing is timely, by chance. “Paolo Antonelli’s Design and the Elastic Mind, and two shows from Material Connection were complements to my show for the uninitiated,” Labaco explained. Out of Hand’s broad scope includes digital designing and fabrication processes like CNC milling, digital weaving and knitting, laser cutting, and 3D printing to display how these technologies influence the built environment. “It’s a historical look at the last 8 years and works from as early as 2005 are incorporated because, in my mind, that was when the major shift between rapid prototyping and 3D printing really occurred,” said Labaco. Organized in six themes, a cross-section of traditional methods and new design capabilities are illustrated by architects crafting art, artists doing design, and photographers making sculpture. Approximately half a dozen pieces were commissioned for the show while others were an extension of existing works: For example, a chair by Jan Habraken evolved into the more comprehensive Charigenics. Placards for each piece call out production methods, from 3D printing (10 materials are featured) to digital knitting, underscoring the multi-step creation process to make the point that digital design isn’t only press-and-print. And many of the show’s pieces are a combination of old-world handcrafting and newer digital geometries and computations. Pieces like Rapid Racer, Bosch’s 3D-printed vehicle fabricated over 10 days and weighing just 29 pounds, and Zaha Hadid’s Liquid Glacial "Smoke", a coffee table CNC-milled from polished plexiglass, illustrate the functional role of digital design. Data input is actively incorporated through two interactive pieces from Francios Brument, for which he developed his own scripting, as well as a Shapeways workshop that is open to the public. Traditional forms are realized by new methods in Nendo’s 3D-printed paper boxes that are lacquered with traditional urushi for a ringed faux bois. Other featured artists, architects, and designers include Richard DuPont, Greg Lynn, Anish Kapoor, Marc Newson, Frank Stella, Daniel Libeskind, and Maya Lin. Just as dynamic as the digital disciplines themselves, new pieces are being added throughout the show’s run. Look for a new piece from Iris Van Herpen by mid-November. Out of Hand will remain on view through July 6, 2014.