In the early 1990s, adidas introduced a new philosophy, captured in the slogan ‘Everything that is essential. Nothing that is not’. The first product launched under the new slogan, the EQT, marked a turn for the then economically shaken brand. Rooted in its history and stripped down to its true basics, the philosophy has guided adidas Equipment’s path throughout the decades until the present day.
With the goal of showcasing the philosophy in an intuitive way, this exhibition takes a close look from the revolutionary first EQT sneaker to now, by opening the EQT archives and presenting unique cultural contents to enhance the modes of experience provided by the EQT.
Uniting experiences from different times, the Media Room showcased diverse contents. Videos presented on Braun tube TV sets and 8mm film, and typographic displays represented the past and existed hand in hand with visual contents about the EQT’s development streamed on more recent technologies like beam projectors.
The Archive Tower in the centre space symbolised the continuity of the EQT philosophy, standing solid like a rock in the flow of ever-changing times. The 11 meters high, transparent tower was built of glass and acrylic, and only contained one bold EQT print, only visible in total from a specific angle. The tower was divided into two sections and respectively showcased EQT shoes from the 90s, and the 2000s. The overall experience was emboldened by a lighting installation featuring the main colours of their times, the traditional ‘sub green’ and the contemporary ‘turbo red’, gradually shifting into each other, thus representing the flow of time from past to present.
The tables at the foot of the tower provided EQT catalogues and commercials from the 90s. In order to contextualise the experience, iconic items of that era like walkmans, game consoles and CDPs were on display. Additionally videos streamed on beam projectors show the latest EQT products and dive deeper into product details, further connecting the dots between the EQT now and then.
Past & Present photo exhibition
In the photo exhibition, the works of two iconic photographers of their times highlighted the fundamental values and meaning of the EQT. While Lawrence Watson’s photos provided a lively insight into the cultural sensitivities of the 90s when the EQT was born, contemporary visuals were represented by works of Juergen Teller. The presentation of the photographs in white frames and hanging wires referenced the white cube of a photo gallery.
Behind EQT’s evolution fuelled by trends of the respective times, and today’s challenges of innovating the EQT is a deeper philosophy that remains unchanged. In the Sequence Room, this philosophy was broken down into three parts, ‘The Birth of the EQT’, ‘Changing Times’, ‘EQT’s New Challenge’ and presented in three spatially separated stage sets. A fourth room visualised the overarching theme of connecting past and present with a presentation of Seoul in the past and present. This space experience was enhanced by a lighting installation featuring the complimentary colours ‘sub green’ and ‘turbo red’ to symbolise the EQT’s philosophy which was conceived in the past, and today’s technologies which helped boosting the EQT into the present.
In order to complete the journey for the visitors and deepen the narrative of the exhibition, works were created in collaboration with Korean artists. DJ Soulscape curated and exhibited classic hip hop albums from the 90s, and visitors could mix tracks on a large scale turntable installation. In addition to an exhibition of paintings by Young Jin Kim’s older works, visitors could take photos at the photo wall featuring the painter’s newer works as backdrop.
A mobile pop-up store featured the latest EQT sneakers to give visitors a chance to get their hands on the complete collection and purchase items. Inside, diverse services like a section for custom-ordered sneakers and a shoe cleaning booth made sure visitors’ needs around everything EQT were satisfied.
Photography: Young Kim_Indiphos