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Natural Motion

Nike Design advances the potential of the human body through a synergy of form, function and motion. Its obsession with Natural Motion persists and with each innovation the gap between product and body lessens.

For the occasion of Milano Design Week 2016, 10 progressive contemporary designers joined Nike to explore Natural Motion through various mediums. Some works are conceptual – foreshadowing future technologies – and others practical. In many cases, materials unique to Nike, such as Flyknit, have been applied.

Prominent among the works on display included Dutch designer Bertjan Pot’s work propelled by impulsive curiosity – about materials, techniques, structures, patterns and colors – that leads him to push conventional manufacturing boundaries and experiment with textile and weaving techniques.

Pot’s series of resting pods takes the wheel, a symbol of momentum and movement, as a structural starting point. By upholstering the inner tubes of a car, wheelbarrow, truck and tractor with ropes, Nike laces and belts, he initiates an unexpected but effective meeting of artisanal hand-weaving techniques and high-performance materials.

Alongside these designs, 3D experiments were also on display. In order to create for the future, Nike designers must be both conceptual and practical, a mandate that requires prototyping, and playing. At The Nature of Motion, these elements are front and center – not least of all in the exhibition’s Sensation Room and through its 3D Experiments in Natural Motion. The overall theme of the project draws from the original inspiration for the first Nike Free shoe: running on grass as grass is a lot more forgiving than concrete.

Each of the six designers who worked on this project explored their own interpretation of grass using a 3D printout to create an all-day, everyday comfort concept. In one, the grass is bent over. One features cut grass, while another is like a putting green.