Nike Genealogy of Speed
Project Information


This installation reflects 40 years of Nike's efforts to make athletes go faster. The challenge was to communicate the varied lineages of Nike product development, while evoking the intangible goal of speed. The resulting environment is shaped by three factors: speed (the cause), the artifacts being exhibited (the effect), and the developmental timeline that relates the two through the years. Rather than trying literally to build speed in a static construction, L/E/D examined the secondary effects of speed, such as the Doppler and Bernoulli Effects, sonic booms and Lorentz transformations, in search of the physical shape of speed. New computational and fabrication techniques were used to produce an environment which embodies the characteristics of the exhibited design artifacts - innovative use of materials, minimal weight, integration of different systems in a unified whole. A family tree of Nike's design lineage became the graphic generator of three-dimensional form, as chronological vectors are translated into the language innate to the topology of bent steel. The result is a flowing, three-dimensional surface, simultaneously light, tactile, emotive and informative. A time-line stretches across the surface, registering the highlights of Nike design, the products of which are displayed set into an opposing steel plane. Iconic shoes rest in brightly lit niches, laser-cut into the flat steel surface which reflects and contrasts with the movement across the room. As suggested by the red shift (Doppler Effect), the geometry of the niches gives a wholly different impression when coming or going. On entering the space, or examining the shoes from early in the genealogy, one sees only the glowing fins projecting from the intakes housing later products. When looking back from the recent products toward the past, however, all the designs which have led to this place in time are visible.






Nike Inc.


New York, NY




1,100 sq ft


Metropolis Magazine

Communication Arts Design Annual 45

SPA-DE Space & Design - International review of Design

Exhibit Design: High Impact Solutions

bob: International Magazine of Space Design

Oculus Magazine

Project Team

Christopher Connock

Michael Gibson

Metal Fabricator

Desu Design

Graphics + Communication

Tender Creative

Metal Fabricator

Milgo Bufkin