Paulina Lenoir's Excessively Long Shoes force wearers to slow their pace
Graduate shows 2015: Central Saint Martins graduate Paulina Lenoir has designed a pair of comically long shoes that force wearers to reconsider their daily routes and pace (+ movie).
The Excessively Long Shoes were created by Lenoir while studying Product Design at London art college CSM. For her graduation project, she considered how architecture dictates the pace of urban living, masking inhabitants' "individual rhythm".
The pointed lace-up shoes are twice the length of a foot and have a weighty silicone insert, causing the wearer to take exaggerated steps and introducing "uncertainty, surprise and discovery" into daily routine.
The length and weight of the shoes are intended to be proportionately increased compared to the size of the wearer. Each of the prototype shoes weighs one kilogram.
While the heel and the arch of the foot are snuggly enclosed within the stitched calf leather shoe, the toe box extends far beyond the reach of the extremities before tapering to a point.
The opening and laces have been elongated in keeping with the with the stretched proportions of the shoe.
"The excessively long shoes are a way of consciously imposing a slower pace on oneself," said Lenoir. "Their weight and length make it difficult to keep up with the pace of the city."
"Efficiency has taken over most of the daily interactions, architecture and objects in an urban context," she continued. "We have lost control over determining our individual pace and interpretation of time; the diversity in our rhythmic patterns has become diffused."
In a video demonstrating the effect of the elongated shoes, a businessman slowly negotiates the crowded concourse and staircases of Liverpool Street Station – one of London's busiest rail terminals.
The unusual gait caused by the footwear is intended to heighten the wearer's awareness of the rhythms of movement imposed by architecture.
"Every person has an individual rhythm which is often concealed, contained and limited by these external structures, systems and timetables within an urban environment," said the designer.
"The familiarity of urban routines, spaces and objects make it difficult to be aware of how we conform our diverse rhythms in our daily lives," the designer added.
By breaking theses existing patterns of movement, Lenoir hopes wearers will introduce unfamiliarity and establish less rigid ways of negotiating the city.
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"The urban environment becomes unfamiliar and ridiculous as one is able to start to see and analyse the monotonous behaviours that its objects and architecture provoke," she said.
The Excessively Long Shoes were on display at the Central Saint Martins' end of year degree show at the university's Granary Square campus in Kings Cross from 24 to 28 June 2015. Lenoir is currently setting up a theatre company to further investigate the relationship between design and performance.
Fellow University of the Arts London graduate Marc Mok created a pair of shoes from speckled sponge to complete his fashion collection, following on from the unusual use of porcelain, maple wood and moulded plastic in footwear by students from previous years.