Nike's amazing kinetic motion sculpture

Nike is no stranger to eye-catching window display design, and for a recent shop installation in its flagship Beijing store, designer Queenie Yehenala really went to town. Along with fellow creative Mike Delaney, she designed and created a mesmerising, motor-powered spinning sculpture featuring the company’s trainers, which attracted hundreds of curious viewers.

"We knew that we wanted a kinetic installation as soon as we nailed the concept 'freedom of motion'," Yehenala explains. "We did some research on kinetic artists, and found the amazing sculpture work from Anthony Howe. So we approached him for collaboration and advice."

Yehenala tested the design using 3D animation and rendering

Unfortunately, time constraints prevented Howe from working on the project full-time, so, liaising with local retail agency One Second Design Studio, Yehenala tested a design using 3D animation and rendering with the exact size of each shoe.

"Once the render looked right, we built the physical framework and tested the power and weight support," she says.

The window display became a big tourist attraction

Despite their planning, there were inevitably snags with the real device: "The shoes arrived in different sizes. We engineered it for men’s size 9 shoes only, but it turned out some colours we wanted only had women’s sizes," explains Yehenala.

"So we had to alter the angle of each shoe so that they wouldn’t crash into each other. We also needed a worker to stay in the store every day to oil the machine, so it didn’t create a loud mechanical noise."

  • This interview was originally published in Computer Arts issue 208.

Now read: