CHINA///ROADTRIPPING///LOST IN BEIJING FOR THE LAUNCH OF NIKE SPORTSWEAR…

May 19, 2008  |  art, Art & Commerce, China, Fashion, News

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Nigel Sylvester in the clouds by artist Robert Wilson...

Just returned from China where ardent Supertouch supporters/footwear-to-the-gods giant NIKE have had their hands full for the past several months preparing for some incredible pre-Olympics events including the launch of the new Nike Sportswear division, the Nike technology retrospective "House of Innovation" exhibit, and the big (and seemingly impossible) takeover of the legendary and historical Forbidden City for a nite. Along for the ride was a veritable who's-who of international tastemakers and shakers who transformed the massive trek into a traveling party & impromptu meeting of the minds. Under massive preparation for the upcoming Olympic games that launch on 08.08.2008, Beijing is a city in transition, undergoing a series of monumental building projects (Rem Koolhaas' CCTV tower is a standout) and sweeping social changes that mark its slow, but obvious westernization—a fact made apparent by the ubiquitous presence of American and European shops and restaurants that dot the city's cluttered urban landscape. HAVE A LOOK (and lots more to come):

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Heading out from the Nike Hangar in Portland. Whoever cleans this floor deserves a bonus...

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The real Nike Air...

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Floating...

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Head in the clouds...

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Nothing beats sitting in the cockpit for landing...

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These buildings actually transform into robots...

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You know you're in China when...

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The colossal architecture of Beijing as seen from the hotel...

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When in Rome...

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Food in Beijing can be sketchy (more on that to come). A pumpkin filled with fish soup was a scary jump-off to the week's culinary adventures...

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After eating the soup, Nike's Christian Parkes couldn't shake his Tron-like glow...

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Or maybe it was the Coke...

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In Beijing hoops rule and Kobe is King...

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The local kids got ups...

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Buildings in Beijing are either massive cubes, or incredible design showcases. The Olympic "Nest" stadium is of the latter...

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And workers still struggle to finish it in time for the opening ceremonies...

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The adjacent "Water Cube" building is equally bananas, especially when lit from within at night...

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WTF?...

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Rem Koolhaas' CCTV building rushes to meet completion...

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And the scariest cranes ever live on the roof...

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Tiananmen Square is home to some massive & heroic Communist propaganda art...

THE 798 ARTS DISTRICT:
Located in the Dashanzi area of Beijing, the 798 Arts District is the city's art hotbed, filled with international art galleries (Western galleries are scrambling to rent spaces here) fanning the flames of the already overheated Chinese art world. It's also the site of some of the city's most visible graffiti and curious scenes of construction and general weirdness...

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Nike's Christian Parkes, Beautiful Loser Aaron Rose, and Undefeated's Eddie Cruz...

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The cleanest Benz in Beijing...

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Watching the watchers...

HOUSE OF INNOVATION:
Held in the 798 arts district, Nike's "House of Innovation" retrospective highlighted 100 of the company's most iconic pieces of sporting innovation and the oftentimes unlikely stories of the initial sparks that ignited the concepts (the foam filling in a teddy bear being added to a shoe's midsole being a prime example)...

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The building's facade was made of constantly shifting louvers that turned the structure into a constantly shifting art exhibit...

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The louver effect was even added to the exhibition's ceiling, adding a constant "fluttering" soundtrack to the otherwise quiet space...

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Pre x Bowerman. Epic...

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The waffle iron that launched a revolution...

FORBIDDEN CITY:
In Beijing's epic and immortal Forbidden City, Nike announced its dedication to China and its unique culture with a series of incredible athletic displays, traditional musical and martial arts performances and a special presentation by brand honcho and the company's creative heart & soul, Mark Parker...

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The Forbidden City by night as only Nike could do it...

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Wu Tang soldiers in effect...

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One of the city's original residents...

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Technique for days...

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Mark Parker on the incredible LCD stage...

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Undefeated's Eddie Cruz shares some limelight...

NSW:
Announcing Nike's newest and most promising new footwear & apparel division, Nike Sportswear, the company brought in legendary theater art director, photographer, and video portrait artist Robert Wilson to create a series of custom video portraits of Nike athletes like BMX rider Nigel Sylvester, dancer Sofia Boutella, and skater Shingo Iwasaki which were showcased in a huge custom-tailored environment that also included a Kubrick-esque video "Brain Room" that featured a massive and all-encompassing bank of video screens flashing imagery from some of the company's greatest moments...

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Hoop dreams...

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The masses...

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Ghosting...

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Nigel Sylvester by Robert Wilson...

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Eddie Cruz in the brown bomber...

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The new hybrid Air Max Current by Robert Wilson...

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Stüssy's Paul Mittleman with Nike's Dermott Cleary...

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"Nest" AF-1s...

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In the spotlight...

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Lance in the brain room...

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Sofia Boutella by Robert Wilson...

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Gearing up...

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Back in black...

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Sofia Boutella by Robert Wilson...

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Olympic steez...

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Dot matrix...

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Icons by Robert Wilson...

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Artist Robert Wilson talks process with Nike's Mark Parker...


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