Design for sports: the cult of performance

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Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution, and Princeton Architectural Press, May 19, 1998 - Design - 111 pages
If sports have become a new religion, then sporting equipment has become an object of devotion. Our cultural fascination with the icons of sports— from Michael Jordan to Rollerblades— and the technology of designs that push us to ever-higher levels of performance are the subject of this intriguing book.

"Design for Sports" examines both the equipment, showing how sports are changing as a result of advancements in design and materials, as well as the cultural implications of sports design through an investigation of advertising and popular culture.

Sports equipment has undergone radical changes in recent years, as technology has reshaped the way sports are played. New designs such as oversized tennis rackets, parabolic skis, titanium bats, and reconfigured golf clubs have altered the very nature of their respective sports, setting new standards of technical performance. Indeed, some professional sports organizations have banned certain kinds of equipment because they fear it could transform the nature of their games.

"Design for Sports" covers a range of cultural issues: how development of sports technology has heightened the visibility of and participation in women's sports; sports subcultures, revealed through the graphics of athletic footwear; and how sports equipment allows for a new relationship with the natural world, as it replicates outdoor conditions inside the gym.

The contributors include sports journalist Candace Lyle Hogan; Steven Skov Holt, former editor at "I.D. Magazine" and currently director of strategy at the firm frogdesign; and world-class swimmer, sports announcer, and National Public Radio columnist Diana Nyad.

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About the author (1998)

Akiko Busch is a contributing editor at Metropolis.

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