雖然設計常參考雕塑和繪畫作為有形、表面或平面的靈感，也參考社會科學做為與人合作和研究人類的協議，如果我們有興趣將設計的焦點「從世界現在的樣子設計，轉移到為世界可能的樣子設計」，我們需要訴諸推測的文化，猶如文學理論家 Lubomír Doležel 所說：「打造世界這番事業的實驗室。」
如今隨著整個環境的變革，設計師與藝術家們也隨著社會、文化等層面，展現不受侷限的想像力，為我們構築出一個尚未成形卻具啟發性的未來。就像在流行領域，去年底法國奢侈品牌 Balmain 首席鞋類設計師 Safa Sahin（日前也宣布加入 Bottega Veneta 團隊）便親自揭露為品牌設計的全新「Unicorn」鞋款系列，不同於傳統的嶄新輪廓和極其前衛的個性組裝，甚至還以此與 Jeff Cole 展開合作，直到現在仍然是令人津津樂道的話題。
Unicorn 鞋款系列塊狀拼合的船型鞋身來自神話世界中的「獨角獸」，力與美的型態兼容在既存球鞋領域帶來未知異彩，其添識一眼即可辨認的「金屬獅首」，更是象徵著 Balmain 在設計上勇敢嘗試的野性呼喚。
為呈現此個非凡設計，組建 Unicorn 的前衛感鞋底是以 8 款模具塑造，採用品牌新一代減震系統，在符合邏輯的條件下完成空氣動力學，3 條亮眼的半透明鞋束從鞋履空腔位置穿過，與兩側 PPU 材質相連，達致與足部的完美貼合，並提供寬窄高低的有效調節，風馳電掣的流線造型底下，呈現技術創新。
很難想像的是，Unicorn 鞋款系列如此充滿野性的形塑在商業性的角度來看，通常需要耗費大量的試驗與開發，光所花費的任何成本皆是難以估計。不過 Balmain 作為從始至終打造自己潮流的奢侈品牌，其創意總監 Olivier Rousteing 與 Safa Sahin 都是同樣富有遠見，Olivier Rousteing 亦在 Balmain x KITH 巴黎概念店曾言：「Balmain 是現代性、專業知識和未來的一部分」，側面解讀便是意味著不甘現在傳統設計太過節制的規模，不盲從的打破普遍狹隘的審美觀點，致力扮演現代化領導者。
不過相對於 Olivier Rousteing 為 Balmain 在社交平台上的精神核心，其品牌首席鞋類設計師 Safa Sahin 反而較少露面，可以說十分神祕。但是這位具有前瞻性的創意人士，事實上經常誕生出與目前鞋類行業「殊異」的設計世界觀，希望為新一代敞開美學大門。
Safa Sahin 是一位來自土耳其的設計師，在真正進入 Balmain 以前是個自由設計師，2007 年從 Tasev Shoe Institute 畢業及 Nursace 完成工作實習，並在 2009 年進入美術學院培養美感，含參加了土耳其、義大利、美國、荷蘭等不同地方的各種展覽，更曾在 Detay 和 Trendsetter 組織以“Celebration”為主題的設計比賽中得獎，以及於 Portland Fashion and Style Awards 獲得「最佳鞋類設計師」的殊榮。
然而，在為我們端出 Balmain 的 Unicorn 鞋款系列前，Safa Sahin 於設計上有著別具一格的旅程。從其個人的設計頁面來看，以往便展示出多樣的鞋款異變，當中不乏有 Nike、Y-3 QASA 既視感的現成物，經由他一番自由美學探索後加以變更的概念作品。
值得一提的是，借用原有格式在相當程度上提出探究構思的設計中，Safa Sahin 裡也含有不少為女性設計的高跟鞋樣式，從幾何圖形到扭曲的變體，甚至是各類自然界的仿生元素，都讓原本既定印象的高跟鞋有了嶄新面貌，賦予其「生命感」的造型特質，彷彿讓人真正進入《愛麗絲夢遊奇境 Alice in Wonderland》那般的獨特世界。
倘若要讓筆者來舉例，這也令我想起藝術家 Eduardo Kac 《謎的自然史 Natural History of the Enigma》的「Edunia」基因轉殖作品。藝術家將自己的 DNA 分離出來結合在花瓣的葉脈上，從中創造出全新的基因，帶動了人們在腦海中思索美學的不同發展，而透過 Safa Sahin 官網貼圖的 Moon Board，也能感受到各種微妙的意義和聯想，加附在物體本身的衝擊力和戲劇性。
Safa Sahin 在創作上的「基因轉殖藝術」足夠特別，自然也吸引了一些合作上的工作邀約，比如 Nike 便留意到 Safa Sahin 在創意上的輸出邀請加入，雙方合作期間 Louis Vuitton、Versace、Giorgio Armani、Marc Jacobs、Jimmy Choo 等公司也相繼拋出橄欖枝，特別的是，在 Nike 工作的日子裡，YEEZY 更曾試圖聯繫他 3 次。
可是這對於學習過美術，力求想像力自由流動的 Safa Sahin 來說，儘管有如此多的公司前來詢問，但在創意層面上或許與他的理念始終背道而馳。直到與 Olivier Rousteing 面談時，給出不同於其他公司「創意發揮」的自由，才讓他願意點頭效力 Balmain。
也許 Olivier Rousteing 真正看見在 Safa Sahin 在創作上是積極的「想像者」，以及理解必須從不受拘束的構想中找尋出能夠實現的可能，才能誕生出一次又一次別於典型設計環境裡，Unicorn、BBOLD、 B-It-Puffy 這類相當特殊的具體設計表現。
為更了解更多關於 Safa Sahin 在創造上的投入，筆者這次也很榮幸邀請到 Safa Sahin 進行對談。各位不僅可以從以下採訪了解到 Safa Sahin 個人的工作過往，亦可以從他的角度思考和現存設計截然不同於未來設計上的新可能。
1.Hi ！Safa Sahin 請先跟大家介紹一下自己
過去一般我是設計高跟鞋和典型鞋款。當山本耀司 Yohji Yamamoto 和 Adidas 合作出這個影響我最深的作品時，就引領我進入運動鞋設計。
3.你在進入 Balmain 擔任鞋類設計主管之前，曾經在 Nike 擔任設計師，他們是如何找上你的
當時我和幾個小公司合作但進行得不順利，所以我就開始每天在 Instagram 上貼新鞋子設計讓自己保持忙碌。幾乎一整年每天都不停地在 Instagram 上貼新設計，然後有一晚就收到了 Nike 人頭獵人的電子郵件，問我「要不要來 Nike 當運動鞋設計師」，我就說好然後就工作了兩年半。
因為我朋友說讓我們為 Balmain 創造出運動鞋部門然後我們一起管理。在與 Olivier 和 Balmain 的總裁見面後我覺得很好，所有的人都很好而且心胸開放。我很高興能接受他們的提議。
5.體育品牌和奢侈品牌畢竟市場定位不同，請問你認為在 Nike 和 Balmain 之間工作的最大區別是什麼
兩家公司最大的差異在於，Nike 注重輕量，易穿著和彈性的表現，而 Balmain 注重外觀和風格，並不在意輕量或最佳表現。
6.Balmain 新出的 Unicorn 鞋款，充滿著未來主義，你們在製造過程中有遇到最難克服的地方嗎
7.有些人認為 Balmain 的 Unicorn 鞋款，是 BBOLD 更為激進的延伸版本，你如何看待這項說法
沒錯，我的確參考了 BBOLD 的基因。預先查看運動鞋和帶來更多未來感和新輪廓。但我們總是會與過去的鞋類連結。
8.近年越來越多品牌開始釋出「一體化」無縫結構鞋款設計，從 YEEZY 到 Givenchy，甚至是實驗室品牌 SCRY 都在持續產出這類的產品，你怎麼看待這個趨勢
9.也想問問 Air Jordan 1 這些經典的傳統鞋款，未來會慢慢被輪廓更獨特的設計取代嗎
10.回歸到第 6 題，Balmain 的 Unicorn 如此前衛的鞋款，可能會讓有些人在搭配上有所膽怯，你會建議大家怎麼搭配它？
事實上，它完全適合 Balmain 的客戶。
（Safa Sahin / English version）
While design often refers to sculptures and paintings as inspiration for tangible, surface or flat, it also refers to social science as the agreement for cooperation and the study of human being. If we are to transfer the focus of design “from what the world looks like today to what the world may be”, we shall resort to speculative culture, just as the literary theorist Lumbomír Doležel said, “The laboratory that crafts the world as the business.”
Along with the change of the entire environment, designers and artists also follow the level of the society and culture to display unlimited imagination, constructing a future that’s yet taken form but is already inspiring. Such as in the fashion field, French luxury brand Balmain Chief Designer Safa Sahin (who recently also announced to have joined the Bottega Veneta Group) personally unveiled the whole new “Unicorn” shoe style series of the brand last year. The brand new contour and extreme avant-garde personalized assemble that are different from traditional; and even collaborate with Jeff Cole with this. It has been a topic that people still talk about now.
Block piecing of the boat shape shoe body of Unicorn series comes from the mythical creature “unicorn”, of which the strength and beauty are compatible in the existing sneakers field and brings the unknown splendor. The identifiable metal lion head also symbolizes the call of the wild in Balmain’s brave attempt at design.
In order to present this extraordinary design, 8 types of molds were used for shaping the avant-garde shoe bottom of Unicorn, adopting the new generation damping system of the brand to comply with the logical criteria to complete the aerodynamics. 3 stripes of dazzling semi-transparent shoe bundles passed through the cavity of the shoe to connect with the PPU material on the sides for the perfect fit with the heel of the foot. With the effective adjustment for width and height, the technology innovation was revealed underneath the streamline shape.
It’s hard to imagine that, from the commercial point of view to see such a wild shape of Unicorn shoe series, it normally would require massive amount of testing and development and that the cost would be hard to evaluate. However, Balmain as a luxury brand has been setting its own trend from the beginning; and the Creativity Director Olivier Rousteing and Safa Sahin were both visionaries. Olivier Rousteing once said in the Balmain x KITH Paris conceptual store that, “Balmin is the part of modernity, professional knowledge and future”, which means that they are not content with the current over restrictive scale of the traditional design and want to break the blindly followed common and narrow aesthetic point of view and endeavor to be the leader of modernization.
Contrast to Olivier Rousteing for being the spiritual core of Balmain on social platforms, Chief Shoe Designer of the brand Safa Sahin did not show up very often and could say that he’s very mysterious. But this forward-looking innovative person actually gave birth to a design world view that was entirely different from the current shoe industry, hoping to open the gate of aesthetics for the new generation.
Safa Sahin is a designer from Turkey. Before joining Balmin, he was a freelance designer. After graduated from Tasev Shoe Institute in 2007 and completed internship in Nursace, he entered an art school to cultivate his sense of beauty and participated in various exhibitions in Turkey, Italy, USA and The Netherlands et al places. He also won award in the designing competition held by Detay and Trendsetter organization under the theme of “Celebration”, and the Best Shoe Designer title in the Portland Fashion and Style Awards.
However, before presenting Unicorn shoe series for Balmain, Safa Sahin already had his unique journey in design. From his personal designing page, we could see the display of multiple shoe styles change. Among which, there were déjà vu ready-mades of Nike and Y-3 QASA, the conceptual works that he explored with his own free aesthetics and changed.
What’s worth mentioning is that, among the designs that borrowed the existing style and raising the explorative idea to a certain degree, Safa Sahin included quite a number of high heel styles designed for women. From geometric to distorted formation or even all sorts of biomimetic elements from Nature, he gave the existing image of high heel a brand new look and rending it with sense of life style quality as if entering the unique world of Alice in Wonderland.
If I were to give an example, this reminded me of the artist Eduardo Kac’s transgenic work “Edunia” from “Natural History of the Enigma”. In which the artist separated his gene to connect with the vein of the petals and created whole new gene, leading people to ponder the different development of aesthetic. With the sticker of Moon Board on Safa Sahin’s official website, we could also sense the impact and drama of different delicate meanings and associations attached to the object itself.
Transgenic art in Safa Sahin’s creation was special enough to attract some collaborative work invitation, such as Nike noticed Safa Sahin’s creativity and invited him to join. During their collaboration, Louis Vuitton, Versace, Giorgio Armani, Marc Jacobs, and Jimmy Choo et al companies also extended an olive branch; especially, YEEZY tried to get in touch with him three times during his working for Nike.
But for Safa Sahin who learned art and endeavored for imagination flow freely, despite the many offers, the level of creativity tended to go against his idea. It’s not until the interview with Olivier Rousteing whom offered him the freedom for being creative that were different from other companies that he agreed to join Balmain.
“If you select us, I will keep you totally free. And you can do exactly what you show on your portfolio.” He keeps me free and has been true to his word. I have more freedom here to make crazy sneakers.－Olivier Rousteing
Perhaps Olivier Rousteing truly saw the passion of Safa Sahin in creation, and understood that the possibility for realization must come from unlimited ideas to give birth to special designs such as Unicorn, BBOLD, and B-It-Putty that were different from the typical design environment.
To understand more about Safa Sahin’s dedication to creativity, I am honored to invite Safa Sahin for interview. Not only could we understand his personal history of work from the following interview, we could also ponder from his angle the new possibility of future design that is entirely different from the current design.
1.Hi, Safa Sahin, please introduce yourself to friends in Taiwan.
I was graffiti artist at high school. After study 2 different university and department (fine arts paintings and shoe design), my career started. During by university life it meant when I was a student I was working also cheap shoe companies to learn more details about shoe designing and manufacture details. I was thinking of getting myself ready to work in industry after graduating.
2.Which designer or work affected you the most that brought you into shoe design?
For shoe design actually most affected guys was my brothers roommate, he was studying shoe design. When I was study at high school I visit my brother and I meet with him. I wanted to study same school and I did it.
Normally I was designing high heels and classic shoes . When yohji Yamamoto and Adidas did collaboration this work affected you the most that brought me into sneaker design.
3.Before you joined Balmain as the Chief of Shoe Design, you had been a designer for Nike; how did they approach you?
Was working with some small companies and it wasn’t going well and I started post everyday new shoe design for instagram to keep myself busy . Almost 1 year unstopped I post new design at instagram almost everyday and one night I got email from Nike talent hunter and he ask me that “ would you like to work with nike as sneakers designer” and I said yes and I work 2 two and half years.
4.Why did you join Balmain?
Because of my friend he said lets create a sneakers department for Balmain and let manage together. I idea was really nice after meet with Olivier and ceo of there company all people nice and open mind . I was happy and I accept the offer.
5.Market positioning for sports brand and luxury brand are different; what do you think is the biggest difference between working for Nike and for Balmain?
Biggest difference of those 2 companies.
Nike care first best performance light ,easy wear, flexible vs….
Balmain cares first look and style . doest care light or best performance.
6.The latest Unicorn style of Balmain is full of Futurism, have you encountered any difficulties during production?
For production we always challenge with factories if we are bringing new silhouette.
If our ideas doest work we are trying to go another way to find best solution.
7.Some consider Unicorn of Balmain to be the more radical extended version of BBOLD, what do you think of this?
That’s right its Dna of the bbold I got same reference From our. Previews sneakers and bringing more futuristic and new silhouette . But always we are connected our past shoes.
8.More and more brands start to release all-in-one seamless structure design for shoes in recent years; from YEEZY to Givenchy and even brand lab SCRY have been continuously producing this type of products. How do you see this trend?
Yes that’s right, maybe it’s about less workers we have for shoes factories. If we to continue like that , we lose all workmanship and good craftmanship workers, because for this type of products you know need workers , all machine productions. But as style I like easy foam style.
9.I would also like to ask if classical shoe style such as Air Jordan 1 would gradually be replaced by designs with more unique contours in the future.
Its possible , lets at future.
10.Refer back to question 6, the avant-garde design of Balmain Unicorn could be a bit daunting in matching; how would you suggest people to match it?
Actually its fits perfectly costumer of the Balmain.
11.Could you predict the possible changes in the shoe fields in the future?
More futuristic technical details will increase in the future. In parallel, I think it will be more in the foreground in its comfort.
12.Could you tell us your favorite shoe style this year and the color that most represents you in the designs?
I don’t have specific design but I like mostly details.
13.Finally, when someone asks about the definition of your design style, how would you answer?
Future, dystopian world, mars, tech