Nike & Tom Sachs
This intricate and artisan collaboration between Nike and New York-based sculptor Tom Sachs was inspired by an ongoing fascination (Sach's has previously constructed replicas of both the Apollo 11 Lunar Excursion Module and the bridge of the USS Enterprise) with the technical ingenuity and romance of space travel…
As Nike point out, astronauts must be as fit as an elite athlete to withstand the rigors of exiting the earth’s atmosphere. Their daily tasks require substantial effort and endurance and, equally, the equipment they use must be up to the task of performing under the most unforgiving conditions. With this in mind, it was the physical journey of space travel that ended up inspiring the Tom Sachs: NikeCraft project – a five-piece collection which includes the Mars Yard Shoe, the Trench, The Marsfly Jacket, and the Lightweight Tote.
Nike design and Sachs have applied materials that have never been used in sportswear previously; fabrics taken from car air bags, boat mainsails and, of course, actual space suits. Each piece is also crammed with functionality that would be useful in a voyage through space; zip-pulls which double as storage containers, paracord that can be fashioned as a tourniquet, and embellishments such as the periodic table of elements screen-printed onto the inside of a jacket.
Despite the impressive level of detail in the collection, this project isn’t simply a clothing line. Running alongside the sneaker/apparel release is Space Program: Mars, a ‘demonstration of all that is necessary for survival, scientific exploration, and colonization in extraterrestrial environs: from food delivery systems and entertainment to agriculture and human waste disposal.’
The simulated four-week mission to Mars utilises 55,000 square feet of the Wade Thompson Drill Hall at the Park Avenue Armory, New York, for an installation of carefully crafted sculptures. Sachs and his studio team of thirteen (wearing the NikeCraft collection of course) man the installation and regularly demonstrate the many procedures, rituals, and tasks of their mission (related vidoes of which can be seen below).
The Tom Sachs: NikeCraft collection is available now through select retailers including 1948 (where there is also an excellent NikeCraft installation), with the Mars Yard shoe priced at £325
The Tom Sachs Space Program: Mars installation is open to the public at the Park Avenue Armory, from 16 May until 17 June 2012.