Day 7 at PENSOLE

Friday, May 6, 2011…..Day 7 at PENSOLE. By Leonardo Ochoa

Every morning we start the day by reading a quote from Bruce Lee’s “Striking Thoughts” philosophy book. This is a great way to create positive energy in the work environment while we get our creative spirit going. Today, day 7 it was my turn to pick a quote to read to the class. Since we are approaching our midterm tomorrow, I wanted to pick a quote that would remind everyone to use their energy wisely. The quote for today was “Don’t choose to waste energy – Never waste energy, on worries or negative thoughts. All problems are brought into existence – drop them.” – Bruce Lee

We are narrowing down our design from 10 strong ideas down to 8, to find the best possible design solution to our problem. While Dwayne and Matt are going around the room giving feedback to everyone individually, the rest of the group is sketching ideas and making revisions to the upper and the outsole design.

Jeff Henderson (on the right), the design director for Cole Haan was the first guest designer to come in and give feedback today. Here Kristina is getting feed back from Jeff and Grant, who is an Art Center instructor and the owner of the innovative company Urshuz.com

The Pensole environment encourages everyone to have a voice and give feedback individually and as group. Meline and Yuta are discussing inspirational images for their boards.

At midmorning, Grant Delgatty gave the group a great presentation on entrepreneurship and his path to creating the very radical shoe company Urshuz.com. The entire group was very inspired by Grant’s work to create this company of recycled customizable shoes that will hit the shelf early June of this year. Before this presentation I had no idea that Art Center had this great talent of footwear within our campus. Make me want to start my own company now.

I’m still amazed that some of the best footwear designers from Nike are willing to come down and review our work one on one with use. Talking to them and picking their brains, you get to see why they are some of the best. Here, Cici is presenting to Ashley Payne – Footwear designer from Nike and Chris is presenting to Jeff – Design director from Cole Haan.

Chris is part of my group, team Umbro and he is designing footwear for Badminton athletes for the 2012 Olympics. On the right is Rob Bruce, Innovation designer for Nike who had great ideas on how we could make our designs better.

Although all of our sketching is done with just a #2 pencil and a pad of whit paper, we also consider color, texture, and materials when we are designing. Part of being a designer is to be able to imagine and envision what your sketch will look like in color with materials. Michelle (right) and Meline (left) are getting color and material advise from Emily who is a color designer at Nike’s (center).

Today and for the last couple of days, our studio has been visited by many Nike footwear designers and design directors from different levels of experience. It is great to get a mix of designers who have a few years of experience and designers who have been doing footwear for over 30 years. Wilson Smith (right) is a design legend at Nike, being one of the first footwear designers and having designed some of the earliest Jordan shoes. Since I have met Wilson years ago, he has always been an inspiration to me when it comes to footwear and design as a whole.

There was even some Adidas representation. Here Seth who is designing a shoe for Pingpong under the Converse brand is presenting to Ian Cobb (right), one of Adidas footwear designers. It was good to have both Nike and Adidas in the same room.

Tiffany who is designing footwear for Trampoline gymnastics is demonstrating to Rob Bruce (Nike’s Innovative Designer) how the foot moves when performing on a trampoline. What Tiffany is wearing on her hand is currently what is used on trampolines today.

Jason Mayden who worked for the Jordan brand was able to stop by and view our work. We were very lucky that the former Jordan designer was in town.

Rob Bruce discussing fit with Mel on a pair of shoes she designed by hand.

Carolina is also part of my group Team Umbro. She is designing a cleated shoe for Ruby. Jason Mayden made some great points on how to better connect the story of the shoe with the user’s experience. He pointed out the importance of considering the business side of design at every step of the creation process.

[Leo] I complete the Umbro team, and I’m designing a shoe for the sport of Field Hockey. This sport is new to me, so I had to do an incredible amount of research to fully understand how the sport is played and the user’s movements of their feet. Once I identified the three main functional problems I began to sketch solutions on how to best address those issues. From 10 possible ways to address the problems I narrowed it down to 8 and then to 6. As you can see, I still have a lot of editing to do. The next step is to narrow it down to 3.

Sailing as an Olympic sport for the Jordan Brand – Kevin’s project.

Footwear for Tug of War by Nike – Joel’s project.

Footwear for boxing by Cole Haan – Vlad’s project.

Cheresse Thornhill, a visiting Nike basketball footwear designer gave the group individual feedback on performance and functionality behind our footwear designs.