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NikeLab by Virgil Abloh

Virgil Abloh opens NikeLab pop-up in Chicago

Nike and designer Virgil Abloh have opened a temporary NikeLab space in Chicago where architects and designers can host workshops with the local community.

The Re-Creation Center pop-up opens today at 673 North Michigan Ave. It offers the local youth mentoring and workshops, as well as access to exclusive Nike products.

NikeLab by Virgil Abloh

Abloh, the founder of fashion brand Off-White, has hand-picked creatives to lead the educational programmes.

These include Ann Lui and Craig Reschke, founders of local architecture firm Future Firm; Thomas Kelley and Carrie Norman, founders of US firm Norman Kelley; fashion designer Alyx Harch; graphic designer Chuck Anderson; and photographer Paul Octavious.

NikeLab by Virgil Abloh

Ten Chicago creatives will get to work with Abloh and the selected mentors for eight weeks, starting today and ending 28 July. It will culminate in the presentation of a final project by the students.

Sign-ups for additional workshops will also be available via Nike's Snkrs applications.

NikeLab by Virgil Abloh

Billed as a "power plant of a different kind", the temporary space is designed with a simple, industrial aesthetic.

It is divided into separate areas, including one for the store and the other for the workshops. A marbled grey flooring and industrial metallic shelves run throughout. The cabinets are used to store design materials and the exclusive Nike product, which will be made available to NikePlus members on the application.

NikeLab by Virgil Abloh

The entrance to the space is wrapped by a wrinkled, papery material and translucent screens. One of these is inscribed with the space's slogan "A Power Plant of a 'Different Kind'".

In other areas, the see-through walls are packed with material that looks like old Nike products.

Large metal desks with glass tops provide space for working in the design studio. Additional materials such as threads and rolls of paper are held in storage cabinets below.

NikeLab by Virgil Abloh

Black speckled stools made from Nike Grind, a material that recycles old Nike products, form the seating. This provides a nod to the Reuse-a-Shoe initiative and installation in the space, where worn-out athletic shoes are turned into Nike Grind material.

The recycled material will later be used to build a community basketball court in Chicago for the National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star in February 2020.

NikeLab by Virgil Abloh

The NikeLab Chicago Re-Creation Center c/o Virgil Abloh will be open until 28 July.

The space marks the latest collaboration between Abloh and Nike. The duo previously worked together to produce tennis player Serena Williams' kit for the 2018 US Open and recreate 10 of Nike's most iconic sneakers in 2017.

NikeLab by Virgil Abloh

Abloh has become one of the hottest names in design, having first gained recognition as a longtime collaborator of rapper Kanye West.

Recent successes include being named artistic director of Louis Vuitton's menswear, with the first collection debuting last year, and collaborations with IKEA.