myThread Pavilion

Excerpt from press release - How do you knit and braid a building? Could a building be as lightweight as air? How can sport influence both design and fabrication and inspire the next generation of buildings? What if we could form-fit and enhance architecture with bio-architecture and performance of our own bodies? Turning performance into structure for the Nike Flyknit Collective, Jenny Sabin is an innovator who works at the intersection of art, architecture, design and science. There are instant similarities in her approach to the work of Nike’s Innovation Kitchen, where disciplines from different fields are brought together with a view to re-thinking basic principles and approaches to design challenges. Sabin often starts from a molecular point-of-view where the singularity of a single unit such as a zip-tie becomes the building block for structures of great complexity. Like Nike Flyknit, which uses simple threads to create a complex formfitting structure on a performance-enhancing shoe, Sabin’s fusions of science, art and technology open the door to new ways of thinking about structure and the relationship of the body to technology. Bio architecture and digital architecture deliver solutions, new understandings, new forms and a way for maths and generative systems to investigate the complexities of natural form and internal geometries. “I’m very interested in probing the human body as a bio-dynamic model that can give us new ways of thinking about issues of performance and adaptation at an architectural scale,” says Sabin. “Performance, lightness, formfitting, sustainability become immediately relevant in terms of what we are doing.” The body, or more specifically the body in motion — pure performance itself — is the starting point of Sabin’s New York collaboration for this project. Using Nike+ FuelBand technology to collect motion data from a community of runners during an earlier Nike Flyknit workshop, Sabin — in collaboration with the runners — transformed the patterns of this biological data into the geometry and material of knitted structure, based on prototypes developed during the previous workshop sessions. The surface patterns are generated by dynamic body data via 3D modeling environments to form a material construct for a unique response to the formfitting question delivered in the original Nike Flyknit Collective brief. The myThread Pavilion is the result of this collaboration, with a harder outside construction and softer, organic inner material. Composed of adaptive knitted, solar active, reflective photo luminescent threads and a steel cable net holding hundreds of aluminum rings, the simplicity of knitted geometries meets the complexity of a body in motion. An inner structure of soft textile based whole garment knit elements absorbs, collects and delivers light as the materials react to the presence of people. The material's response to sunlight as well as physical participation is an integral part of Sabin's exploratory approach to the subjects of performance and sustainability that Nike Flyknit addresses. This interaction amplifies the hidden qualities of the pavilion, embodying the learnings of each workshop as well as the story of Nike Flyknit. Linking biology and innovation, technology and tradition, this is an analog representation of not just the benefits of Nike Flyknit, but also the activities and performance of the individuals that went into its making. This installation's adaptable sensitivity and flexibility mirrors the human form. It is its own environment, its own community and its own energy.