Ree-design: Wallpaper* & Reebok
Working with Wallpaper* magazine last week meant that we could finally get hold of the official information and imagery for Ree-design, the magazine's recent sneaker-art exhibition with Reebok. The project saw Wallpaper* collaborating with five European artists to produce unique works inspired by Reebok’s innovative ZigTech, EasyTone, RunTone and RealFlex footwear and apparel technologies...
Reebok has been going through somewhat of a technological rejuvenation lately, especially with the pioneering new ZigTech shoe range, whose graphic sole both reduces muscle fatigue as well as transferring energy back into the runner’s stride (ZigTech was also a winner at the 2011 Wallpaper* Design Awards). Then there's RealFlex, with a sole effectively comprising 76 mini-soles, apparently making it one of the most responsive trainers on the market.
These shoes and more served as inspiration for the Wallpaper* & Reebok Pop-Up Exhibition at the Great Room in London on July 28. Spanish modernist architects A-Cero, French artist Ora Ito, UK film production house Partizan, Italian designer Fabio Novembre and German founder of SolarLab Christoph Behling, were all selected to interpret Reebok’s design and functionality with their own creative vision.
Detailed below is information on all five of the participants, including the ideas and concepts behind their work for the project:
For Ora Ito, the sole is the most beautiful part of a sneaker, and it’s the sense of movement and the graphic power of the sole that informed his piece. Realised in a pop art-inspired bas-relief, Ito's work was a sculptural painting that echoed the 76 independent sensors on the RealFlex sole (in mid-twist). The piece, which was produced by Candido Hermida, was made from Hi-Macs - a cuttable, thermo-formable, stone-like bauxite/acrylic mix.
Represented by production company Partizan, designers Alex Griffin and Richard Pearce work within the company's newest division, Partizan Darkroom. The duo’s concept was to represent the kinetic energy that is core to the ZigTech technology by creating an interactive installation that responds to people’s movement. A (static) grid of natural water reeds was suspended from the ceiling, and by tracking visitor movement via an infra-red camera, the installation translated the energy created through a series of fans which gave motion to the reeds - emulating the effect of wind blowing through the reeds' natural environment.
Italian designer Fabio Novembre was inspired by the form of the ZigTech sole, using it as his starting point for the creation of his life-size black horse sculpture. Made of polyurethane, the artwork references movement and power, as well as the process of abstraction.
Spanish architects A-cero took Reebok’s Easytone shoe as inspiration in order to create their sculptural piece - part artwork and partly a display stand. Comprising of layers that aimed to reflect the comfort of the Easytone’s air cushions, the wooden sculpture was covered with matt rubber paint to mimic the sole of the shoe.
Christoph Behling is known for working in two fields; solar energy and the small-scale mechanics of watch-making (with Tag Heuer). Inspired by the ZigTech sole, he sought to combine both his specialities with an idea for a futuristic running experience. Depicted through a projected animation, the central theme to the idea was the use of the piezoelectric effect - a two-way system where mechanical energy can be converted into electricity (and vice versa) - to create an intelligent suspension that would use the impact of a running shoe hitting the ground to create energy. The energy created could be used to power the suspension in the shoe (dubbed the Reecharge PS), constantly adjusting the stiffness of the sole at 12 pressure points to suit the athlete’s running style or health needs. This could also be adjusted using a digital stopwatch-type device.
Photography by Jamie McGregor Smith