In a groundbreaking collaboration, Phaidon, the esteemed publishing house, Converse, and London’s renowned Design Museum have joined forces to introduce “Skateboard,” an immersive multimedia project delving into the rich history of skateboard design from the 1950s to the present day. Spearheaded by American industrial designer Jonathan Olivares, this innovative venture encompasses a compelling book and an enlightening exhibition. Both the book and the exhibition, held in partnership with the iconic brand Converse, aim to shed light on the intricate evolution of skateboarding, transcending mere sport to become a social symbol and an artistic phenomenon.
The heart of the project lies in its meticulous curation, featuring an in-depth analysis of over 100 significant skateboard decks. These decks serve as tangible artefacts, offering a glimpse into the cultural peaks of skateboarding. The project critically examines the design changes and historical milestones that have shaped the skateboard into the emblematic object it is today. Organized chronologically by decade, “Skateboard” explores six distinct themes, unveiling the material innovations, design revolutions, and pivotal events that have defined skateboarding as both a sport and a subculture.
From the humble beginnings of the 1963 Skee-Skate to the cutting-edge designs of contemporary decks, the skateboard has undergone a dramatic metamorphosis. Throughout the years, new shapes and technical advancements have continually reshaped the sport, reflecting the innovative spirit of the skateboard community.
Drawing on a legacy spanning over 75 years, Converse, a brand synonymous with skateboarding, actively contributed to this project. Leveraging the expertise of its global skate team and honoring its heritage, Converse played a vital role in the creation and support of both the book and the exhibition. This initiative serves as a unique intersection of creativity and skateboarding, amplifying voices within this realm and bridging diverse audiences.
The project captures the essence of skateboarding’s evolution, from the early days of sidewalk surfing in the 1950s to the global stage of professional skateboarding witnessed at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. “Skateboard” stands as a testament to the enduring impact and influence of this beloved sport, showcasing its journey from a subversive pastime to a global cultural phenomenon.
For enthusiasts and curious minds alike, the “Skateboard” book is available through Phaidon. Additionally, the exhibition will be on display at the Design Museum from October 20, 2023, to June 2, 2024. Explore the captivating narrative of skateboarding’s evolution, celebrating the creativity, resilience, and cultural significance that define this extraordinary sport.