Dezeen Magazine

Ora-Ïto's Nikeames shoe is an "homage to Charles and Ray"

French designer Ora-Ïto has developed a conceptual trainer with curved veneer sections to reference the work of Modernist furniture designers Charles and Ray Eames.

Ora-Ïto pays tribute to the late American couple with the Nikeames shoe design, which he imagines could be produced by sports brand Nike.

The wooden sections designed to wrap around the shoe take influence from the moulded plywood shell of the Eames Lounge 670 armchair, designed for Herman Miller in 1956.

"It's an an homage to Charles and Ray Eames' Lounge chair – the most famous one with the wooden shell," Ïto told Dezeen.

Ora-Ïto Nikeames trainer

"The idea was to make a Nike Eames, like the Nike Air but playing with the Eames, translating the language and the forms and the aesthetic of the Eames armchair into a trainer."

The shoe would be formed from two layers, with the dark wooden panels on the base, upper and heel curving around a black Goretex slipper. Rubber would form a thin sole on the bottom.

The colours would echo the original rosewood veneer and leather of the original chair, which is formed from three plywood shells and modelled on an English club chair.

Ora-Ïto Nikeames trainer

Charles and Ray Eames – who died in 1978 and 1988 respectively – are best remembered for their Modernist furniture designs, which include the moulded plastic DSW dining chair and moulded plywood Lounge Chair Wood. Many of their designs have recently been put back into production in new variations.

"Their work is still very modern," Ïto said. "I was at [Milan's] Salone Internazionale del Mobile [in April] because I present furniture there every year, and it was the year of Charles and Ray Eames – they were everywhere."

"Even if they're dead, they're still the most productive designers, which is quite funny," he added.

Although Ïto has only created a quick render to demonstrate the idea, he believes that it is enough to spark discussion and possibly provoke Nike into producing the shoe.

Lounge Chair by Charles and Ray Eames
Lounge Chair and Ottoman by Charles and Ray Eames

"This could be a very nice limited-edition product, maybe in relation with the Eames Foundation doing a special pack," he said. "If Nike wanted to do it, I would go deeper into the study. This is a first thought, a quick project."

Ïto, who has previously designed a spaceship and a sedan chair for car manufacturer Citroën, told Dezeen that he enjoys these speculative projects and the potential they create for future commissioned work.

"I started exactly like this, creating products that don't exist for brands since 1988," said Ïto. "When I have something in mind and I have free time – not very often – I like to have some fun."

"It's nice to provoke stuff with ideas that can provide a direction, even if the idea doesn't come as a real product."