Brett Golliff covers the 27th Air Jordan flagship release…
Today at the Teterboro Airport in New Jersey was the official media launch of an unbelievably crafted piece of footwear, the Air Jordan 2012. I had the pleasure to be on hand at the launch and even the opportunity to speak with designers Tinker Hatfield and Tom Luedecke about the new Air Jordan game shoe.
The event started with media writers being ushered into a private jet hanger where the Jordan Brand had setup a beautiful staging and proving ground (more on that later) for the unveiling of the product. As soon as we were checked into our “flight” we took our seats and began hearing what was a most unique take on an Air Jordan. The Air Jordan 2012 is the perfect blend of art and science, which in return created a true collaboration between Tom Luedecke and Tinker Hatfield.
Tinker provided the art and creative direction for the shoe. He was inspired by a project that he had been working on with the city of Portland, Oregon that takes place around the “JumpTown” region of the city which was a major area of Jazz culture in the 1920’s. The aesthetic of that culture was very bold, vibrant, youthful and confident and led to Tinker creating a look that was a blend of Zoot suits and beautifully crafted wingtip footwear.
In came Tom, who provided a project that he has been working on for the past four years and is an expansion on the interchangeable midsoles of last year’s Air Jordan 2011. This time Tom focused on creating a fully customizable game shoe that allows you to completely choose your flight. It features two inner-booties that encompass the foot in either a traditional low standpoint or in a high-top that wraps the entire ankle. You then have three sole units to select from: full-length Air, Zoom Air, or a combination of the two.
Their presentation was quite impressive and in-depth. They did an excellent job of breaking down what was challenging and unique about the product. One of my favorite comments that came from the two designers is how they developed the look of the midsole, which happens to be the most appealing portion of a great design to me. Tom really stressed how Tinker wanted the midsole to look “muscular,” which I believe they accomplished. If you break down the form vocabulary of it, the Air Jordan 2012 midsole has a stance that is not massive but organic in the way it wraps over itself like muscle or tendon and it also speaks to the supportive function that the piece is intended to do. Very well done!
At the end of their presentation they opened it up to a Q&A session and surprisingly I was somehow brought up in one of Tinker’s answers. During a question that was about balancing aesthetics and engineering, Tinker referenced that I was in the building and that I was an automotive designer with amazing talent that would have a lot to say about the battle of beauty with the functionality of engineering. And then pointed me out to everyone. To say the least it was quite the surreal moment, but an amazing feeling. Thanks Tinker!
I had the opportunity to speak with the tandem privately which I will be breaking down for a much more in-depth piece in my “Design Insight” series this coming weekend. For now enjoy the photos from the Air Jordan 2012 media event.
And buy the shoe tonight when it releases, you won’t regret it!
Brett Golliff is a Lead Designer at General Motors and former Designer at New Balance.