This week I decided to share a little more of my sketchbook, but instead of sketches this time I will be showing some items that have inspired me lately. While I do use my sketchbook for sketching, I also use it for building stories and organizing inspiration. Story and inspiration are an integral part of design for me because without them I would not be solving any problems and if I am not solving any problems then I am just cluttering the market with an uninspired product. Continue reading Design Insight With Brett Golliff: (Sketchbook) Inspiration…
So here are a few of the inspiring images that I have been looking at for the past couple of months.
The Bufa Chair from Mono Studio
Inspired by detail found in tailoring: the puff and pleat. The Bufa Chair is an attempt to find a “pattern” for furniture pieces. Featuring strings on each side of the chair that with a pull transforms the tailored pattern and the two-dimensional felt into a spatial shape.
What intrigues me about this chair is how the designers did so much with one piece of material. There is form, function and detail all in one simple piece; that could not have been an easy task to accomplish. They met the challenge of taking a material that is rarely used to create complex surfacing and they applied techniques found in fashion to create a beautiful and intricate chair. It makes me think about the footwear I am designing. If this multifaceted chair can be created from a minimal amount of parts and still function then why do we need so many overlaying materials on a shoe? Why can’t a shoe be more simple?
Animal Fractal by Nicolas Barreau
“Straight white lines which create curves. A mathematic game that makes the space between the trees useful: we re-discover the nature’s dimensions through a technologic eye.”
This is instillation art at its finest. What I enjoy about it is that Nicolas is looking at the forgotten, the negative space. By connecting the trees with lines he has created an inspiring way to make use out of something that generally is known to have no use. The lines can be used in an infinite way; they could become a road for insects, a way for zoning off an area or amongst other things a resting spot for people. This piece really caused me to think, what is being forgotten in a shoe? How can that area be reapplied to help and support the overall design?
Alexander McQueen & Maison Martin Margiela
Both of these shoes are more than $800 and are for women so they really do not apply to me but they are beautiful pieces of art which greatly inspire my design. They both capture an extreme amount of emotion in their shape. The Alexander McQueen (Black & Yellow) achieves a bold graphic by overlaying leather. What I love about this shoe is that in my industry, this look would be created out of subpar leathers and use screen-prints to create the graphic, which would lose the essence of the bold look. The Maison Martin Margiela (Brown) is awe-inspiring to me. I tend to be attracted to clean, sculptural pieces that describe form in an elegant way. This shoe captures that exact feel for me but still being aggressive in its stance but elegant in its form. This shoe could have easily looked very flat in its construction but the way the material is cut, pulled and shaped around the form is beautiful. Another inspiring aspect is the way it features a double lasted (an internal midsole) look on the lateral side, which is rarely seen in a heel.
Viral Paper by Charles Clary
When I found the work of Charles Clary it instantly made me think differently because he thinks differently. While I use paper to sketch, he uses paper to create form, “I use paper to create a world of fiction that challenges the viewer to suspend disbelief and venture into my fabricated reality. By layering the paper I am able to build intriguing land formations that support both mechanical and organic life forms. These strange landmasses contaminate the surfaces they inhabit with their viral growth, transforming the space into a suitable living environment.” What I love about his work is how much depth it has and how it adds dimension to a normally two-dimensional plane. A shoe is created out of layers, not just leather but also foam, lining materials and, amongst other things, glue, but what if all those pieces could be beautiful? Every layer of Charles Clary’s work is designed and aesthetically interacts with the layers that are under and above them. Why can’t a shoe be that way?
U.K. Seed Cathedral At the Shanghai Expo by Heatherwick Studio
This building is crazy to me because it took me a very long time to believe that it is real. The designers at Heatherwick Studio set out to meet three goals when designing the building, “The first aim was to design a pavilion whose architecture was a direct demonstration of what it was exhibiting. The second aim was to ensure a significant area of open public space around it so visitors could relax and choose either to enter the pavilion building, or see it clearly from a calm, non-queuing vantage point. And thirdly, it would be unique among the hundreds of other competing pavilions, events and programs.” The building is formed from 60,000 slender transparent fiber optic rods, during the day they draw daylight in to emit light in the interior and at night each rod lights up allowing the entire structure to glow. That has to be an amazing building to experience. The designers seem to have met the goals they set out to accomplish and should leave every visitor inspired. While I have yet to figure out exactly how this piece will show up in my footwear designs (but at some point it will) I am inspired simply by how bold it is and how the piece is a reality and not just a great idea.
BanQ by Office dA
This piece of architecture is similar to Nicolas Barreau’s Animal Fractal in that they both highlight the negative space. The interior was designed around featuring the structure above it. Created from three-quarter-inch birch plywood ribs that are variably placed; they visually compress and release to create visual depth from all angles. In between the ribs they reveal the underlying mechanics of the building; the drainage, the lighting and the acoustics. The ribs create an almost never ending aesthetic by blending the ceiling with the floor. I believe a shoe should feature the same qualities. It should not just be a composition of parts it should be a hybrid of functioning pieces that become one. Not only can this interior provide a unique way to create a shoe but it also provides a stunning visual that is both bold and intricate.
The Photography of Solve Sundsbo
Since every shoe sketch I create belongs to New Balance I cannot legally show them; that is why you see the “banned” (circa ’85) across a few images on the page but I was not going to let that stop me from sharing with you the beautiful photography of Solve Sundsbo and how it has inspired me.
Solve is a Norwegian fashion photographer who manipulates his images with light. His work really captures the form of the models and the beauty of their pose but also balances a dominant graphic that makes the viewer determine what the focal point is. Is it the graphic that the light is portraying or is it the model? The way the light creates a geometric shape that wraps around the form is bold and iconic but yet soft and organic. It really makes me think about how I can highlight the form of the foot in the shoe. How can the underlying elements of the shoe become highlighted in a clean and dominant way?
The image on the left is an illustration by Gary Fernandez. I thought it complemented a lot of what Solve Sundsbo was capturing in his photographs. The main difference is that Gary’s work is strictly with two-dimensional forms. His work is a much more dominant use of geometric shapes and really directs the eye to the focal point of his work. I can see his work really directing me in how I create subdominant and dominant pieces on a shoe. For instance it could provide a strong visual in how I highlight the focal point of a shoe.
Brett Golliff is a Designer 1 at New Balance
Check out previous “Design Insight With Brett Golliff” posts: