In an effort to reinvent retail space and foster a community connection, athletic brand Nike started unveiling Nike Stadium locations in 2010. The locations in New York, Berlin, London, Milan, Tokyo and Paris “refresh” every few months, offering a mix of space for live performances and art exhibits, as well as a platform to increase retail awareness (Nike will, of course, find a way to push products). The ever-evolvinglocations provide an adaptive presentation space for design, architecture, and retail marketing.
Originally designed by architect Rafael de Cardenas, the Bowery Stadium location in New York City provides plenty of “DIY aesthetic,” de Cardenas tells Dwell. “We certainly looked at other stadiums, but this was thought of as a stand-alone project.” In the original design, de Cardenas says he used triangular boxes (some seen in the background) that stacked to become stadium seats, displays for shoes, or places to lounge during parties—a true example of the users making the space their own.
It's common for Nike Stadium locations, such as this one in London, to invite basketball or soccer athletes to speak directly with customers. Retailers hope that providing a theater-like space for community performances or Nike-sponsored chats will engage visitors more effectively than a conventional retail space.
Rafael de Cardenas says the concept of design and social interaction as a retail trend has caught on as brands try to establish “cultural relevance.” He says that retail spaces that include collaborative design and instill an attitude without “force-feeding cool,” prove the most successful. Here in Paris (not designed by de Cardenas), the ever-changing space looks much less like retail and more like a downtown experience. Courtesy of .
Nike Stadium space offers a series of programming set in tandem with the sporting calendar as shown in the Milan location. Merging the idea of creating products and viewing sport, all with bolts of color, plays out well in this location. Courtesy of .
For a stadium space to be successful, the community must get involved. “Rather than thinking of the stadium's store zone as a retail apparel space, we looked at typologies that spoke more to socialization,” de Cardenas says. Using a material palette of pegboard, gaffers tape, and plywood made it easy to convert the space from event to event. Bowery Stadium has taken on a variety of new permutations since de Cardenas first touched it—which was exactly the intention. Fast Company covered the space when it opened in 2010. Read their story here.
The bare-bones framework of many of the stadium spaces, like the white- and black-clad London location, gives each “refresh” the ability to create a specific look for a specific time, without requiring major overhauls.
Creative workshops allow youngsters a chance to explore art and gives Nike a way to market product. Nike allows visitors to the locations to customize products in a way not otherwise possible. By offering a different set of materials than what's available to the greater public, visitors feel they have ownership in the retail experience, as seen here in Milan. Courtesy of .
Bowery Stadium’s current “refresh” includes a push of Nike’s Flyknit running shoe. Over the summer of 2012, the New York City site will host three community workshops with local architect and Cornell University researcher Jenny Sabin to explore the artistry of Flyknit products. By harnessing the bright, neon colors popular in today’s footwear, the space was reinvented to familiarize potential customers with the materials' performance aspects.