Nike and Virgil Abloh unveil creative summer residency in Chicago

NikeLab Re-Creation Center Chicago interior
(Image credit: press)

The onslaught of summer typically brings with it a mushrooming of pop-up stores, bars and other fun short-term concepts, but few can hold a candle to Nike’s newly launched temporary initiative in Chicago: the opening of the NikeLab Re-Creation Center, in partnership with the ultimate polymath and Chicago native, Virgil Abloh. Now running through 28 July, the space has been designed to empower the local youth and community by tapping into the cultural pulse and heritage of Chicago, and hence help nurture the next generation of homegrown creativity.

Backed by a robust line of programming, such as workshops, giveback programs and of course, exclusive merchandise, the Re-Creation Center most notably involves a roster of influential, Chicago-based creative forces – selected by Abloh himself – who will not only host and lead sessions, but also serve as mentors for a specially curated mentorship program as well. These figures include graphic designer Chuck Anderson, photographer Paul Octavious, fabric designer/artist Alyx Harch, architects/designers Thomas Kelly and Carrie Norman for brand identity, and architects Ann Lui and Craig Reschke of Future Firm.

NikeLab Re-Creation Center Chicago display

(Image credit: press)

The mentorship program will welcome ten Chicagoan creatives for an eight week long immersive experience with Abloh and the mentors, which will enable them to not only refine their area of expertise, but also open themselves up to other complementary areas to their practice.

Although this enviable opportunity for career development is only available to a lucky few, all visitors to the NikeLab Chicago Re-Creation Center will be able to access the Reuse-a-Shoe initiative – a unique installation that recycles worn-out trainers by turning them into Nike Grind, the sports powerhouse’s proprietary material that transforms recycled footwear and surplus manufacturing material into premium sport surfaces like running tacks, gym floors, courts, playgrounds and turf fields. This material will ultimately be used in the building of a community basketball court in Chicago, also designed by Abloh, that’s currently set to open ahead of NBA All-Star 2020.

NikeLab Re-Creation Center Chicago Reuse-a-Shoe installation

(Image credit: press)

NikeLab Re-Creation Center Virgil Abloh quote

(Image credit: press)

Display stands at NikeLab Re-Creation Center Chicago

(Image credit: press)

NikeLab Re-Creation Center Chicago exclusive merchandise

(Image credit: press)


NikeLab Chicago Re-Creation Center is open until 28 July. For more information, visit the Nike website


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Pei-Ru Keh is a former US Editor at Wallpaper*. Born and raised in Singapore, she has been a New Yorker since 2013. Pei-Ru held various titles at Wallpaper* between 2007 and 2023. She reports on design, tech, art, architecture, fashion, beauty and lifestyle happenings in the United States, both in print and digitally. Pei-Ru took a key role in championing diversity and representation within Wallpaper's content pillars, actively seeking out stories that reflect a wide range of perspectives. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, and is currently learning how to drive.