Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer has created a collection of sneakers and slip-ons for American shoe company Converse, featuring a handwritten poem celebrating the "sensual curve" for which his architecture is famous (+ slideshow).
Above: Chuck Taylor All Star Chukka Boot
The 104-year-old modernist architect, whose iconic buildings include the spiky Cathedral of Brasilia, reworked five classic styles for Converse, which also reached its 104th birthday this year.
Above: Chuck Taylor All Star Hi
Each design is inspired by a famous poem by Niemeyer: "It is not the right angle that attracts me, nor the straight line, hard and inflexible, created by man. What attracts me is the free and sensual curve — the curve that I find in the mountains of my country, in the sinuous course of its rivers, in the body of the beloved woman."
Above: Chuck Taylor All Star Oxford
The poem, written in Niemeyer's handwriting, adorns the canvas upper of the Chuck Taylor All Star Hi sneaker, which also has a red tongue that references the entrance of his Ibirapuera Auditorium in São Paulo.
Above: Jack Purcell
The black edging of the Chuck Taylor All Star Chukka Boot is inspired by a monument against torture designed by Niemeyer, while the lining includes an architectural illustration referencing the Landless Worker's Movement in Brazil.
Above: Skid Grip Oxford
A red curve outlines the edge of the Chuck Taylor All Star Oxford, while the unusual rounded toe of the Jack Purcell sneaker also ties in with Niemeyer’s curved architecture.
The Skid Grip Oxford slip-on has a red curve on its upper and an extract from the poem wrapped around the right toe.
Earlier this year we featured a series of anaglyphic 3D photographs of Niemeyer's most iconic buildings, while in 2011 we reported on the Centro Niemeyer arts centre in the Spanish city of Avilés, which was open for just six months before closing down amid claims of financial irregularities.
Here's more information from Converse:
Converse Inc. announces the launch of the Converse x Oscar Niemeyer collection. Created inspiring by Oscar Niemeyer’s artwork, world-renowned architect, visionary and creative ambassador, the limited edition collection features five Converse silhouettes, each interpreted through Niemeyer’s outspoken architectural vision.
Born out of a shared passion for creative expression, the new footwear collection launches in Brazil on October 23, 2012 as part of a collaborative effort between Converse and the Oscar Niemeyer Foundation. Inspired by Niemeyer’s motto "It is not the right angle that attracts me...", the exclusive range celebrates the Brazilian architect’s non-linear design ethos that is present in all of his works.
"Converse footwear includes some of the most iconic, original and modern designs in history," says Penny Ericson, Vice President, Converse Jack Purcell and Premium. "As one of the great artistic visionaries of our time, Oscar Niemeyer's work represents those same qualities and we’re excited to help bring that to life with this new collection."
Born in 1907, Niemeyer’s career spans over eight decades, having established himself as one of Modernism's greatest pioneers. Through his contemporary use of concrete and bold approach to design, Niemeyer introduced a new way to build 'curved' architecture, which has since become his signature, recognised throughout the world. Niemeyer’s bold design approach and outspoken voice revolutionized the way the world looks at architecture and design.
About the Collection
The Converse x Oscar Niemeyer collection features five new iterations of Converse silhouettes, each with a nod to Niemeyer’s legendary curve and his creative, rebellious point of view:
The collection includes a Chuck Taylor All Star Hi sneaker with an all-over canvas print featuring the architect’s famous handwritten poem about curves. Featured in a bold red, the tongue creates an unmistakable reference to the dramatic entrance of São Paulo’s Ibirapuera Auditorium.
The Chuck Taylor All Star Oxford model continues the use of the red curve, this time outlining the edge of the upper, creating a bold contrast to the sneaker’s white canvas. Natural leather accents on the toe bumper, tongue and midsole complete the look of this casual sneaker.
The collection also includes a Chuck Taylor All Star Chukka Boot rendered in a rich, natural suede, was inspired by the monument “Torture Never More”, designed by Niemeyer in 1986. The lining in leather features the architectural illustration referencing the social movement “Landless,” further reinforcing Niemeyer’s beliefs.
A Converse Skid Grip Oxford slip-on features the signature curve as a red outline of the upper and an additional reference to the poem of Curves on the right shoe’s toe. Red stitching and natural colored leather patches on the heel give the overall design a textured look and feel.
Rounding out the collection, a stylish Jack Purcell sneaker features a red and white lace option and the signature Jack “smile” as a playful representation of Niemeyer’s curve.
The Converse x Oscar Niemeyer collection will launch at exclusive retailers across Brazil on October 23. The sneaker range will retail for R$170 – R$270 (85 – 135 USD) and is available in unisex sizing 3.5 – 11.5.