Nike - Destroy to Create

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    “Whoever must be a creator always annihilates.” This somewhat
    anarchistic quote by Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was the main,
    somewhat unlikely, concept for the promotional campaign around
    the launch of a new varsity jacket by Nike Sportswear.

    The idea was that in order to move forward and radically change
    things (with the help of a revolutionary new product!) they would
    have to destroy their past and leave behind a shattered market.

    With this in mind they approached me to come up with an idea
    along those lines. In stead of playing it safe and making what
    they were hinting towards, something out of concrete, I opted to
    really make something completely new. I presented and eventually
    created something that I had never done before, of which I wasn’t
    sure was possible, within the shortest possible time frame.

    A burnt wooden replica of the Destroyer jacket.


  • The short promo film for the project featured clips of the production process that I shot in between the madness of it all. It was directed by Niall O'Brien.


    Less than a month before the product launch event in London
    I received an e-mail from Nike Sportswear whether I would be
    interested in making something for them. They gave me the
    background information and told me about the “Destroy to
    Create” concept. Naturally I was intrigued. For such a large
    company with a crispy clean image to come up with an idea
    like that and push it through is quite remarkable.

    The only issue was to come up with an idea, produce it and get it
    to London in time for the event. Opting to not pursue something
    with concrete I presented the idea of a burnt wooden jacket, which
    was approved after a few days of decicion making processes and
    fine tuning of the presentation.

    When the example jacket arrived in the mail it left me with two
    weeks to finish the work. In the mean time I had been busy
    sourcing companies able to assist in the production. It proved to be
    impossible to find anyone willing and able to take a project of this
    scale on on such short notice with such a tight deadline.
  • Painting the black jacket white. First with spray cans, then with a roller. Then scanning the painted jacket with an optical 3D scanner and turning it into a 3D computer model.

  • Fortunately the company, Booiz Metal, who had worked with
    me on several other projects was able to help me out. This meant
    that they had to rebuild and completely reprogram their old metal
    CNC router to work with a block of wood of this size. New tools
    were constructed overnight and routing could start as soon as the
    computer jacket model was ready. Of course this wasn’t a challenge
    free process, but eventually a full jacket model was constructed.

    The routing was done in four stages. First the front of the jacket
    was done roughly to remove most of the wood and to create a basic
    shape. After that a small router head created the smaller details.
    The block of wood was then turned over and aligned precisly, so
    the rough and detailed routing would continue there.

    With three days to go before the event I burnt the jacket with
    a flame torch. At first I tried a gentle yellow flame, but quickly
    learned that it requires a blue steel cutting flame to set fire to a
    compact block of wood that size. Finally it was preserved with a
    clear coating also used on wooden basketball courts.
  • Gluing two big blocks of linden wood together to form a massive block. Creating the first outline of the jacket with the CNC router. The finer details of the jacket were created by using a smaller router head. The final details in the jacket were hand carved and later sanded for the finishing.
  • I drove the jacket out to London from Amsterdam early on a friday
    morning, the day before the deadline. The 5 hour drive went
    relatively smooth and by mid afternoon I dropped the Jacket off at
    the 1948 location in Shoreditch in London. Well in time to get it

    On saturday the event was held. The jacket was hung by two metal
    chains from the top and bottom and lit from the bottom by two
    lamps. People told me it looked great. The jacket was exhibited
    for 4 weeks after which it was transported to New York for an
    exhibition there.
  • Setting fire to the wooden jacket with a flame torch.