Responses by Pum Lefebure, chief creative officer and cofounder, Design Army.
Background: Our goal with the House of Speed experience was to create buzz and hype around shoe brand Saucony’s latest product, the Endorphin Pro 3, and its launch in Europe that would precede the shoe’s global launch. It’s a high-energy space centered around movement and endorphins; every detail and touchpoint ladders back to speed and feeling. The House of Speed invited guests to experience the fun feeling of going fast—and the new Endorphin Pro 3 that would get them there. Speed and high-performance shoes aren’t just for a certain caliber of runner: Whatever level you’re at in your running journey, know that speed is subjective. Just have fun with it.
Design thinking: The House of Speed had to be interactive and educational. It needed to be bold and provocative. It needed to be a place for retail and community. The final design is a complete 360-degree experience that spans digital, retail and experiential. Guests experience “endorphins” and “speed” through activations that connect back to going fast or to the endorphin-boosting power of movement.
Playing on the idea of houses, we transformed a multilevel gallery into an Endorphin-themed townhouse, complete with a treadmill room for in-person demonstrations, an Endorphin “bar” with refreshments, and upstairs living quarters that doubled as spaces for socializing.
Taking place during Paris Fashion Week Men’s Collections, we knew there would be a lot of clutter we’d need to break through and disrupt. So, the House of Speed concept leaned heavily on bold visual cues, guerrilla marketing and the experiential that would stand out among a sea of events and reinforce Saucony’s heritage and authority in the running world.
Challenges: We were responsible for the installation’s design, look and feel, and we worked with the brand’s production agency to bring it to life. Working with multiple partners can always be challenging, especially when you’re in a different country than where the activation is being hosted. It meant we couldn’t physically pop into the space if we needed to, or we weren’t seeing final fixtures until just before the event, and we were juggling a host of different timelines.
The most challenging part was being limited with what we could do in the actual space due to what was permitted and the time allotted to load in and out. How could we create this bold pink exterior and interior when we weren’t permitted to physically change, paint or hang anything on the walls? The production agency had solutions for all of this, and in the end, the result was executed just as we’d planned, thanks to the amazing spirit of teamwork.
Visual influences: We were inspired by Prospect Pink, the shoe’s colorway, as well as by taking a modern gallery approach to displaying the shoes. We leaned on pink as a color to represent self-expression rooted in disruption. It blankets the entire “house” through endorphin-themed activations and artistic displays of the shoe using LED lights and glowing effects.
Favorite details: On the first level, the treadmill room has a real “wow” factor when you walk in. You walk into an alcove space plastered with phrases like “Speed is Art.” There are just two treadmills with screens in front of them, inviting guests to run, go fast and have an emotional experience. If running is an art form, Saucony’s Endorphin Pro 3 is the paintbrush, and the road is your canvas to create your art.
We are proud of the upstairs living quarters designed for interactive content opportunities. We’re seeing some of these selfie moments go viral: A four-poster bed with a mirror on top and a decal that reads “go faster.” A hot pink bathtub with “feet” wearing the Endorphin Pro 3, which guests are hopping into either solo or in groups, taking pictures with their branded hot-pink coffee cups and reading the Runner Times newspaper, a souvenir handed out at the House of Speed.
The Runner Times actually began as a prop for the Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 campaign film we shot in New York. The paper blows into the face of one of the runners in the spot, slowing him down for a moment. We thought the House of Speed was the perfect opportunity to bring it to life. It’s a propaganda piece all about the world of Saucony, its history of speed and celebrity tabloid–style coverage of the Saucony Pro Athletes wearing the shoes, among other features.