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October 20, 2013 marks the 10-year anniversary of the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco, CA. The Nike X Collection was created in celebration of that milestone, and the brand asked artist Kate McCullough to design a one-of-a-kind showcase trunk for the shoes, apparel, and a couple marathon-specific extras.
Whitewall got the chance to ask McCullough a few questions about the trunk and how it’s design is all about “decadence and unwavering confidence that meets practicality.”
WHITEWALL: What materials did you choose to create the trunk?
KATE McCULLOUGH: When choosing materials, I looked to classic luxury steamer trunks to dictate the palette: leather straps, brass hardware, lacquered interiors, silk faille lining, and grosgrain ribbon. It was important to use materials that evoke a sort of old-world richness. We mixed elements with some slicker materials like custom printed Plexiglas and LED lighting to modernize the aesthetic.
WW: When designing for a woman, are their different things you consider?
KM: We wanted to create something beautiful and luxurious for the female runner out of the things she both desires and needs. We had a lot of fun inventing a character who might own these trunks. She is a woman who spares no expense in the name of both luxury and fitness – a Nike+ Fuelband for every day of the week, gym socks pristinely arranged in lacquered drawers, a sleek assortment of apparel and footwear for running, training and lunching.
WW: Did the new line of apparel and footwear influence any of your design?
KM: Absolutely. The entire project was built around the Nike X Collection. The pattern on the exteriors of the trunks features luxe leather in matte and patent finishes with a subtle pattern found on the collection’s Studio Wrap. The pattern highlights the triangle, the Ancient Greek symbol for the number 10 and a nod to Nike being the Greek Goddess of Victory.
WW: Any personal favorites from the collection?
KM: I love the Studio Wraps! I’m constantly slipping in a yoga class when I can, so I look forward to giving them a try.
WW: The trunk has compartments for all the gear a runner needs on race day. Anyone who is a marathon runner or knows marathon runners knows that a huge part of preparing for success on race day is making sure you have everything you need in your pack. Was that the idea behind these compartments?
KM: Indeed. She is a runner with a maniacal sense of order when it comes to her running gear and accessories. Once unlocked, the X Collection Trunk becomes its own collection of sculptures with 10 interior components giving each piece of the X Collection a place to live. Each opens to reveal everything a woman needs to get ready for race day.
WW: Are you a runner?
KM: When my schedule permits it!
WW: Also in the trunk are stories of past winners, medals from past races, a vintage record player playing “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” Why add these elements in?
WW: We wanted to include race memorabilia and discovery elements to showcase past and present. One of the 10 interior trunks has 10 drawers, dedicated to each year of the race from 2004-2013. Nine race bibs and finishers’ necklaces from each previous year are hung inside, the tenth will be filled with this year’s finisher’s necklace to be revealed on race weekend. Additional elements in the trunks include stories of past race winners and fundraisers, training tools including the Nike+ SportWatch and Nike+ FuelBand, Tiffany’s boxes, Golden Gate Bridge replicas, chocolate bars representing the chocolate mile and champagne to symbolize the celebration at the finish.
WW: Had you designed something like this previously in your set design and installation work?
KM: I actually design a lot of displays for retail environments, so creating an installation that needed to function with footwear and apparel was not necessarily new to me. That said, the design process was so fun. I got to channel my inner industrial designer, which was super satisfying. I’d like to do projects in the future creating more functional objects.