design studio tin&ed take on adidas

Reinterpreting the Pharrell Williams Supercolour with a pool noodle and a still life.

by Britt McCamey
19 May 2015, 4:05am

Tin Nguyen and Ed Cutting are a creative team who, for the past decade have run a multi-disciplinary design studio in Melbourne, Australia. With projects ranging from producing award-winning album artwork to inspiring their very own bespoke ice-cream flavour, it's evident that their clients and projects are diverse. It's a distinctive Tin&Ed quality that connects all their work however that continues to make them one of the most sought-after design teams in town. 

Recently commissioned by Adidas to help celebrate the launch of the Pharrell Supercolor range, Tin&Ed were tasked with the challenge of creating an artwork with a pair of Supercolors and in true form their solution had a sense a humour and a simplicity which was beautifully executed. We spoke to Tin about the process.

You guys were recently asked, along with a number of other Australian artists, to reinterpret one colour from the Pharrell Williams Supercolor range. With the final works ranging from blue paper lobsters by Benja Harney to your pool noodle still life, it's hard to imagine what brief Adidas gave you. Can you tell us a bit about it?
The brief was really open which was great! It was simply to show a pair of supercolors through our chosen medium and to take into consideration the colour we've been given. We wanted to embed Pharrell's ethos of individuality, togetherness and creativity into our work. Each of the photos in our series touches on one of these ideas. The open brief also allowed us to explore what we're interested in at the moment, disrupting the narrative of everyday objects through still life photography.

And what inspired the pool noodle? What made you look at that shoe and think 'pool'?
In our past work with Adidas we used blonde wigs to bring a pair of Adidas Stan Smiths to life. We wanted to continue this idea of bringing the shoes to life by introducing a single object. We'd just come back from a beach holiday in Jervis Bay so the pool noodle made perfect sense.

The Superstar started off as a basketball shoe and now soles musicians to lads, hoods, hipsters. My Dad even used to own a pair! What is your own personal relationship with the shoe and how did that influence your design?
The superstar is such a classic design item, something that we've grown up with! It was awesome to see it re-envisioned by Pharrell and then to be able to re-interpret that is pretty cool. Reinterpreting a re-envisioning of a design classic, mind bending!

How is Adidas's heritage within basketball and sport reflected in your piece?
Even though we made a series of still lifes, we wanted to create something that was dynamic and had a sense movement, this is definitely inspired by the shoe's sporting origins but also its adoption into music and dance culture.

You and Ed have been collaborating for over a decade. Can you tell us about about your creative process? Does one person come up with the idea for the project and run it or do you collaborate on projects?
We take a very collaborative approach to everything we do, working closely from idea to execution. It is very yin and yang you could say. We sometimes bring really different things to a project but we have a very strong, unified vision - a united eye!

What makes a great collaboration?
When people come to you for what you do and there is trust and respect both ways, it's really hard to go wrong.

What's the best and worst project you've ever worked on?
I think our worst projects would be some of the group projects we did at uni! Our latest projects are always our favourites, so this one is right up there, any project where we are able to explore what it is we're interested is always a winner.

What's next for you guys?
We'd definitely love to work on more photographic projects like this one, where we can bring everyday objects to life.


Text Britt McCamey

pharrell williams