Tinker Hatfield, Architect / by Daniel North

I've been a fan of Tinker Hatfield since he designed the Nike Mag for the film Back to the Future Part II and I had known him as Nike's star shoe designer. What I recently learnt watching Abstract was that Hatfield studied and graduated with a degree in Architecture from the University Of Oregon and applied architectural references to the design of the Nike Air Max. 

Engineering a new running shoe design using a relatively intricate air bag, he was strongly influenced by the exposed services, structure and inside out, industrial character of Renzo Piano and Richard Roger's controversial Pompidou Centre. The Pompidou celebrates what other buildings attempt to hide, going so far as to finish the mechanical elements of the building in bold colours that can be seen from a distance across Paris.

The Georges Pompidou Centre, completed 1977. Hatfield even borrowed the vibrant red for the first model of the Nike Air Max.

The Georges Pompidou Centre, completed 1977. Hatfield even borrowed the vibrant red for the first model of the Nike Air Max.

Exposing the internal structure of a running shoe had never been done before and was initially frowned upon by Nike. First released in 1987, the shoe would go on to become one of their most enduring designs. Sneakers inspired by architecture.