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Out on the Open Road with NIKE for the 2015 SLS Tour

The multinational sports goods and apparel company NIKE has been counting on us to build things like displays, shelves and other fittings that grace its flagship stores for years now. These custom builds not only have to look sharp and ooze quality; they also have to stand up to the daily wear and tear of heavy use. The same goes for furnishings for events, sports meetings and the like. Of course, utility becomes a matter of necessity rather than a luxury on the road, so these items also have to be engineered for speedy assembly. A crew that’s out on the circuit needs gear that can be set up and torn down on the double.

The design brief for a roadshow is even more demanding. Everything that gets assembled and dissembled at every stop has to be made to fit on trucks or in containers. Designers and builders also have to factor the window of opportunity for setup and take-down into the equation. It’s often tiny so as to avoid inconveniencing the public. And this is not just any roadshow; it’s the world’s premier street skateboarding event.

As the title sponsor of this touring competition, NIKE affords kids the opportunity to discover new footwear and apparel before and after the pros compete. They can try out this gear straightaway on a specially designed skate park. This proved to be a particularly tricky l ogistical challenge, seeing as how all this was to take place outside the competition venue, mostly on public thoroughfares that had been cordoned off. Keen to get the show on the road posthaste, the authorities cut it very close with the schedule. With just 48 hours before the event to piece everything together and 24 hours afterwards to dismantle and stow it all in three large containers, the pressure was on the satis&fy LLC team. The crew passed that test with a remarkable demonstration of efficiency in action and economy in motion.

There were two sections, the product engage zone and the shoe demo area. The former looked like a jumbo shipping container fitted with purposebuilt platforms and showcases presenting NIKE’s latest SB shoes. Its most captivating feature was a digital interactive zone, installed by our crew, where visitors could trigger and manipulate the video action with their bodies.

NIKE’s ‘Skate every damn day!’ tagline sounded like an invitation to the kids who signed out NIKE models from the check-in counters for a test run on a specially designed course in the shoe demo area’s mobile skate park. The bar-style counters and stylish shoe racks were bespoke builds crafted by satis&fy LLC.

One would expect to have seen haggard faces and bleary eyes among the satis&fy staff and assistants, but there wasn’t a trace of fatigue in sight. Swept up in the contagiously competitive spirit of the event, the crew took up the gauntlet and staged a little contest of its own. “Sticking to the schedules was no less challenging and just as much fun for the 15 staff on site,” says Joe Russell, project coordinator at satis&fy LLC. “And the best part is we won every time.”

Logging some 6,700 miles to be in Los Angeles on 7/11, Newark on 8/23, and Chicago on 10/4, the crew and equipment even managed to squeeze in a rigorous cross-country endurance trial.

Photos: Ben Draper

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