Creative Review: The Nike78 Project

Nike78 is a design project initiated by soon-to-be LCC graduate Paul Jenkins, who has given 78 pairs of Nike shoes out to designers and creatives internationally and asked them to “challenge the function of a pair of Nike shoes”. The results are now up in an online gallery.


The project came about after the LCC was offered a selection of shoes by Nike that were leftover from its 1948 concept store, for a student to use in a project. Jenkins came up with the idea to use the shoes to encourage new design ideas. In devising the list of collaborators, he drew on the knowledge he attained while interning in Berlin as part of the LCC ‘year in industry’ that selected students on the BA Graphic and Media Design take part in. “Whilst I was interning in Berlin, my night job was sourcing creative talent worldwide,” says Jenkins. “I didn’t want Nike78 to be just another creative project with the same people and the same styles of work produced. Instead I invited people who from their style/work/projects I could see had a touch of conceptual excellence.”


A selection of the resulting concepts are shown here. Shown top is Wieden + Kennedy TokyoLAB’s contribution, which sees a Nike shoe reconfigured as a fish tank. A film of the shoe-tank in action is shown above. “The shoes we received were Nike Air Max 360, which emphasises the air in the soles more than any other Nike shoe,” say W+K TokyoLAB. “So we decided to create something based on the concept of air. What we did was keep the soles filled with air as is, but take off the upper part of the shoe and use it to mould a clear material into that shape. This became an aquarium for goldfish.”


Adrian Newell used his shoe to create a typeface that could be used to represent Nike. “I used the soles of the shoe to create prints and based the typeface on the digital timer seen at the end of the 100m track,” he says.


Erica Dorn and This Is Studio took a more homely approach, creating a cake and a pair of knitted Nike shoes respectively. Dorn describes her ‘Marathon Cake’ as “the edible negative calorific equivalent of a full-length marathon”. Yum.


Niek Eijsbouts of KesselsKramer ad agency in Amsterdam wrote a number of poems inspired by his shoes, one of which is shown above.


Dan Mather, by contrast, transformed his Nikes into cycling shoes compatible with clipless/SPD pedals.


Matthew Dent used the materials and textures of his Nike shoe to create a book filled with characters running the marathon.


Riitta Ikonen and Ian Wright collaborated for the project, using their Nike shoes to create these fashionable masks. “An athletically challenged and visually impaired pair, we went for sporting the face rather than the body,” they say.


The rest of the outcomes of the project can be viewed online at Jenkins will also be exhibiting many of them at a showcase of the project at this year’s London Design Festival in September.

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