Core77.com is an industrial design content and community web site in operation since 1995. The site serves an audience of designers around the world who follow product design, object culture, technology, trends and events. Through the years we've created a variety of branded items like t-shirts, stickers, posters, books and promotional tchotchkes. We've also curated exhibits, hosted parties and events, and organized design competitions as well.
2006 marked our eleventh year, and the BluFom shoe project was done to celebrate our anniversary. The previous year, Fila had expressed interest in reaching out to the design community, and in the fall of 2005 we met and talked about various ways to work together.
As we started planning our celebrations, it seemed a perfect opportunity to connect the two organizations. Fila really supports the work that we do at Core77 and they saw this project as a way to show their support for the global design community. We saw it as a way to try our hand at something we’ve never done before. And with footwear culture being so popular with our audience, creating a shoe was a natural fit.
The design process was very collaborative. Several members of our staff, along with designers from Fila, created initial sketches that we kicked around for a while. We were looking for an idea that captured the essence of what we’re about, and resonated with our audience.
We looked at a number of concepts, but felt the BluFom really hit the nail on the head. Phil Russo, Fila’s creative director for footwear, puts it well when he said “The BluFom shoe itself serves as a tribute to one of the most exciting steps in design and product creation process, the phase in which an idea is modeled in 3D. To celebrate the design process is also to celebrate the fun that ideally we are all having in the design industry.”
The blufom sneaker references the color and texture of blue styrofoam, which is the block modeling material designers use when making initial sculptures. It is the material used in a crucial phase of realizing a design, and has a unique texture, color and feel. To industrial designers the idea of blufom harkens back to long days and nights in the studio, carving and sanding foam blocks searching for that perfect form. The final design was a joint effort between Fila and Core77, as they helped source the material and oversaw a lot of the details.
We’ve been selling the shoes exclusively through our site. When people buy the shoes they often write in about how happy they are to get them, and include photos of the shoes in various places around the world. We’ve been publishing these items on our blog as a way to keep the feedback loop going, which has been really great.