The signature space in Nike’s NYC Garage is the courtyard, which is equipped for basketball, handball and futsal and features asphalt paving, cobblestone elements and Nike’s artist-commissioned murals.
On the surface, an announcement of 1,900 new parking spots — covered or not — reads little more than a functional upgrade. However, at Nike, serving basic need becomes an opportunity to deliver beyond the expected. Thus, the new NYC Garage fosters community and collaboration through the incorporation of engaging and unexpected spaces.
True to its name, the garage draws inspiration from the sporting heritage of NYC.
To wit, the structure features the following:
1. Six parking levels. Each one celebrates one of New York City’s professional sports franchises.
2. Basketball, futsal and handball courts. These fill the massive central courtyard.
Facing west inside the NYC Garage courtyard
3. Seventeen brilliant murals. International artists Stash, SP One, CHINO BYI, FAUST, Grotesk, Felipe Pantone, GOREY, DAIM, Tones One, Gary Stranger, Yoon Hyup, SPETO, Claw Money, Nardstar*, Paola Delfin, Hueman and Ashley Montague represent 10 countries and serve to highlight the global reach of one of New York’s great cultural exports: graffiti.
Stash (New York, USA): Pivotal to the East Village scene of the early 1980s, Stash is considered one of New York’s graffiti legends.
Grotesk (New York, USA): Kimou Meyer has worked with almost all the key players in New York’s brand underground. He's balanced a classical art training with an an outsider's perspective to develop an iconic graphic language and style all his own.
Hueman (California, USA): Allison Torneros, known as Hueman, is an Oakland-based graffiti artist whose best-known works include "Ritual," a nine-day, free-styled, floor-to-ceiling mural installation in a 5,000-square-foot warehouse space.
NardStar* (South Africa): 28-year-old NardStar* is one of the up and coming female street artists from Cape Town.
CHINO BYI (New York, USA): David “Chino” Villorente is a historian of classic New York graffiti culture around the world.
Claw Money (New York, USA): Claudia Gold, known as Claw Money, is a New York-based graffiti writer turned fashion designer.
GOREY (France): Seb Gorey blurs the line between graffiti and fine art.
Felipe Pantone (Argentina): Pantone’s work fuses bold graphic elements with highly evolved geometric shapes to create an ultra-modern aesthetic that complements the stark modernity of cityscapes.
FAUST (New York, USA): FAUST has become recognized worldwide by incorporating classic design sensibilities with a contemporary urban aesthetic.
SEPTO (Brazil): One of Brazil’s graffiti pioneers, SEPTO is influenced by “Cordel literature,” D.I.Y. books sold by street vendors.
Paola Delfin (Mexico): Delfin is influenced by organic forms and mixing unusual materials.
Tones One (Switzerland): Born in Geneva and immersed in the graffiti scene since 2000, Tones is directly inspired by what he views as the traditional New York style.
SP One (New York, USA): Greg Lamarche, known as SP One, grew up on the streets of New York, and began writing graffiti in 1981 on the streets and subways.
DAIM (Germany): DAIM is known for his large-scale 3D-style.
Gary Stranger (England): Gary focuses chiefly on freehand typography.
Ashley Montague (Oregon, USA): Montague is a Portland native.
Yoon Hyup (South Korea): Yoon concentrates on a unique pattern created traditional Korean traditional colors and the patterns
“Art is often a great way to bring soul into a building,” explains Todd Van Horne, VP and Creative Director, Nike Special Projects. “With these murals, we want to celebrate New York City’s sport culture —with street basketball and hip-hop culture as inspiration.”
The artists commissioned for the garage present a range of styles. There are some, like Stash, who play with pattern, while others, including Chino BYI, explore the creative potential of lettering. Of course, several also share unmistakable illustrative styles, and at the NYC Garage, these examples all serve to capture the spirit and energy of basketball. Many of the assembled artists have also contributed to Nike’s history — notably through product collaboration — and extend not only a reminder of NYC’s influence on the brand, but the brand’s regular interaction with the global street art community as well.
“It’s diversity at its best,” says Van Horne. “There’s no one artist who paints the same way. One of my favorites is Paola [Delfin] from Mexico City, [who] painted these amazing basketball players on the wall with a very distinctive style.”
Ed. Note: Another mural, by Mad C, will be painted in the coming weeks.
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