NIKE & RISD research project
“We’re inter-ested in the ways design grows from people and places, in a generative process loosely led by needs and instinct and only later, shaped and into legible circumscribed solutions”
read here an intro essay to the project
Beginning in late 2014, six faculty and 38 students from across RISD's 16 undergraduate and graduate disciplines entered the word of skin: as mask, filter, metaphor, mediator, narrator, protector, generator and much more. The collaborative team considered skin to be a lens through which to imagine how the unique and diverse capacities of dermis might attain entirely new meaning and relevance in a speculative future that is both advanced and richly encumbered. Beginning with a workshop, in which a diverse group of Nike's specialists shared their expertise in materials, color, culture and user experience;opening venues for students to consider cocepts of skin, while offering platforms from which to jump. The groups came together weekly to share their developing propositions and exchange reactions and insights. Mid-way though the project, the faculty and representatives from each research group travelled to NIke's Oregon headquarter to witness the synchrony of Nike's history, products, facilities and creative culture. Offered as an experimental research model, and operating outside of the traditional academic calendar, students gathered bi-weekly in small groups to loosen their own understanding and preconceptions of skin and imagine seven speculative scenarios in which skin may assume a new range of applications and relevance. The scenarios created are frames through which we rediscover skin as we confront our future selves in a world where energy generation is personal, surface narrative is transactional, signs of age are currency and environmental exposure is a deadly constant. Each scenario gave birth to a series of objects, or concepts, able to carry the idea of "future of skin". The proposals didn't want to provide solutions or solve short-term problems, but their aim is to highlight criticisms and opportunities we could potentially confront in the future.