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Rapha Custom Artist Collaborations

Over the coming months Rapha Custom will showcase collaborations with artists from around the world, with designs inspired by each artist’s local riding. Each collaboration will be available to buy in strictly limited numbers in the artist’s local Clubhouse.

05 June 2019

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The Coefficient of Drag

A project by Manchester graphic designer and cycling superfan, SJ Hockett, TCOD is self-styled as low quality alternative cycling content. It may be lo-fi, but the quality is anything but: a punk rock poke at a sport that’s more and more concerned with performance and taking itself too seriously.

What inspired your design?


Initially it was the JOLLY 88 team’s maximalist kit design. Cycling apparel has become increasingly minimalist and chic, and I wanted to pay homage to an era of brash design. I looked to current street wear fashion to replicate the logo overload of Jolly 88’s 1991 kit, in a contemporary way.

The sponsor ‘Club 88’ was a beach club in Montenegro, Manchester’s beach club was the Haçienda. I always loved this New Order poster with fluro orange polka dots, as it was a fun divergence from the classic chevron.

The other major design influence was the 2010 Tour de France KoM jersey. The KoM jersey is the best jersey – that’s an objective fact – and I wanted to do my own version.

Tell us how you put it all together?


Bootlegging is a big theme for TCOD, I’ve been doing bootleg cycling stuff for the last three years and this project was no different. Instead of the usual fashion brands, I collected visual elements from my South Manchester route. These have been subverted and manipulated to create the branding that embellishes the kit.

Street signs, landmarks, shop fronts and discarded food packaging were the source material. For example, the ‘Enjoy Your Leisure’ slogan on the collar originated from an old sign in front of Belle Vue stadium and ‘NO PROBLEM’ came from a local barber shop.

What does cycling mean to you?


I would say it’s everything, but they don’t let bikes through McDonalds drive-thru.

Anything else you’d like to add?


I like the idea this is the winner’s kit for Manchester, it’s the PoM – Person of Manchester – jersey. The PoM competition is open to all, points awarded for soggiest bibs, peanuts smuggled and potholes dodged.

The Coefficient of Drag artist collaboration is available exclusively in the Rapha Manchester Clubhouse from the 12th October.

GREGORY THORNE

Gregory Thorne is a communications designer working in bicycle and apparel design. His work has appeared at craft beer and cycling festival Gears and Beers, and he designed the Cycling Tips Cape Epic kit, also made with Rapha Custom.

What brought about your Rapha Custom kit?


I was inspired by the relationship between person and pavement.

The main pattern is inspired by Volcanic basalt, better known as bluestone. It’s used to build foundations, pavements and cobbled laneways throughout Melbourne. When it’s cut and polished, it has a beautiful, intricate quality.

The overlaid design represents street maps, tram lines, and surveyor’s marks spray painted on the ground. The dots are inspired by the Tenji Blocks used by the visually impaired to navigate – when weathered and worn they create a code-like pattern I couldn’t ignore.

How was the design put together?


I started by building a cache of photos with different examples of bluestone, where I looked for patterns, textures and blemishes.

Bluestone comes in a range of hues. I found that utilising a multi point gradient allowed me to represent this across each piece of the kit, going from black to grey to blue to green.

The typography was sketched then made into a vector graphic using Illustrator. All the elements were brought together in the Rapha Custom design tool.

Tell us a bit about the design process?


I try to approach each project like a problem solving exercise. I think this is where art differs from design: Art is about inner expression and emotion, where design as a practise is about creating something that solves a problem and conveys a narrative without too much explanation.

I usually design digitally when creating patterns and textures for garments, however I really wanted to see how far I could explore different mediums to tell an interesting story.

What does cycling mean to you?


Cycling is essential to most parts of my life. I train and race, commute by bike, and my work is in the cycling industry. I feel very privileged to be able to follow a career path that allows me to merge my two greatest passions, cycling and design.

Cycling as a pastime and a sport gives me mental and emotional balance. It also drives a need to create meaningful and worthwhile design that positively affects people’s lives and experiences, on and off the bike.

The Gregory Thorne artist collaboration is available exclusively in the Rapha Melbourne Clubhouse on the 29th August.

TORBEN GIEHLER

Exploring colour and shape through layers of acrylic, Torben Giehler’s abstract geometric paintings are inspired by his home city of Berlin and the ever-changing digital world.

Tell us about the background to your design?


The inspiration for my design is the city where I live, work, and ride my bike – Berlin.

But in a practical sense, the design is based on my painting Triad, 2018. Through colour and shape, this painting strongly evokes Berlin’s profound history and urban feel. Cycling through the architecture of Berlin, with its constantly changing look, you experience its unpredictable rhythms and have many opportunities to reflect on art, design, and the history of this city and its surrounding areas.

How did you go about making it?


My paintings consist of multilayered transparent or opaque acrylic layers that create abstract spaces in which the viewer is free to navigate as they wish – just like a virtual reality simulation. This design follows the same principle.

DID YOU HAVE ANY THOUGHTS ABOUT HOW YOUR DESIGN WOULD TRANSLATE INTO CYCLING KIT?


For the individual products, I played with different details that emerge from the piece, whereas for the jersey, we see almost the entire painting.

WHAT DOES CYCLING MEAN TO YOU?


Cycling has been a part of my everyday life for more than a decade. Sometimes, when I get stuck on my paintings, I take the bike and hit the road. After three hours of riding through Brandenburg’s remote landscapes, my brain is reset and I can go back to the studio.

Through my paintings I try to understand and process our increasingly complex but exciting digital world. I am interested in how we move between the real and the virtual, and perhaps my paintings, as well as my cycling, help me to stay in the real world more often.

The Torben Giehler artist collaboration is available exclusively in the Rapha Berlin Clubhouse.

GREG BOGIN

Abstract artist and native New Yorker, Greg Bogin is a long time RCC member whose work is already on display at Rapha New York. Now, he designs his first kit.

Tell us about the background to your design?


The idea behind the design was to find a way to merge aspects of my paintings with the idea of creating a kit for a fictitious bike team. My work has been influenced by the aesthetics of bike racing so translating this feeling back into a race kit was interesting to me. I frequently use stripes and graphic elements in my work that lend themselves well to this idea. I wanted the design to be a fun twist on my work and a twist on nostalgic kit design.

How did you go about making it?


The design was developed the way I work out all my ideas. Lots of thinking then lots of drawing until I have a clear sense of the way forward. After that, more detailed and exact drawings, which are transferred to digital files. Those files then go to the factory where the clothing is made. Finally, we get the samples back and the most interesting part begins. I worked back and forth, checking colors and discussing the design with my friends in the London home office of Rapha.

What does cycling mean to you?


Cycling is a major part of my life and has brought me rewards and life lessons that go far beyond cycling itself. I started riding seriously in 2000 on a classic Colnago frame with Campagnolo Veloce gears. Once I started riding I could not imagine life without it. The freedom, and clarity of mind that riding engenders have been huge for and over the years my passion for cycling has only increased.

The Greg Bogin artist collaboration is available exclusively in the Rapha New York Clubhouse.

Ballasiotes

A specialist in typography and illustration, Chris Ballasiotes works in his Seattle studio through the week before heading out of the city on his bike at the weekends.

What was your inspiration behind the design?


With dense evergreens bordered by salty Puget Sound air and floating seagulls, Seattle offers a rich bounty of natural elements serving as the perfect inspiration for this kit collection. An ever-changing climate and defined seasons give this region a constant hit of colour – represented in the palette of marine blues, deep teals, and bright terra cottas printed on the kit, cap, and musette bag. This new Rapha Custom collection embodies a focus on handsome design, bold aesthetic, and enjoying the ride.

How was it created? Is it your usual medium?


To create patterns for the collection, I cut thick, matte papers into minimalist shapes, showcasing shadowy mountain peaks, the rolling waters of Elliot Bay, lush greenery, and hints of Northwest precipitation. I love using scissors and Exacto knives rather than solely relying on the computer to give my work a sense of personality and imperfection.

Did you have any thoughts about how your design would translate into cycling kit?


Unique colors, bold patterns, and abstract illustrations are a favorite for me but when it comes to a functional kit, wearability is key. That being said, I think this design toes the line between a piece that is one-of-kind while staying elegantly practical. There’s a handful of Scandinavian clothing houses, Marimekko being one, who create statement pieces with strong shapes and fun palettes. This aesthetic was a big inspiration for how the patterns would interact with the body and kit.

What does cycling mean to you?


Unlike Copenhagen, Amsterdam or other European cities, the Puget Sound region is not as bike friendly as most cyclists would like. The rain is thick, the hills are steep, the roads narrow, and the winters long. What it lacks in infrastructure, it makes up for in beautiful green landscapes, mountainous surroundings and community camaraderie. For me, cycling is embracing these challenges and hopping in the saddle for a healthier and more enjoyable mode of transport. Whether I’m rolling to the office in the morning or cruising for a chilled negroni with friends, opting for two wheels is always a pleasant way to watch the world go by.

The Ballasiotes artist collaboration is available exclusively in the Rapha Seattle Clubhouse.

Kamp Seedorf

Kamp Seedorf are a Dutch street art collective based in Almere, east of Amsterdam. Founded in 2010, the group specialise in semi-permanent graffiti, with art hand-painted on paper which is glued in locations across Europe and featuring an eclectic range of subject matter from footballers to rappers.

Tell us about the background to your design?


The inspiration came from the classy women that lived in the Jordaan area in Amsterdam. They wore a lot of colourful clothes with tiger and panther prints, combined with golden teeth.

How did you go about making it?


It was created with acrylic paint and indian ink on paper, which is our usual technique. We made a canvas painting with the same panther print combination and that worked out really well, so we knew it would look sick on a jersey too.

What does cycling mean to you?


Cycling is life. We go by bike to our work place, to paint and make things. And then use our bikes to place the art throughout the city.

The Kamp Seedorf artist collaboration is available exclusively in the Rapha Amsterdam Clubhouse.

Nigel Peake

Nigel Peake trained as an architect and has drawn over forty books and exhibited his work in Tokyo, Paris and London.

What was your inspiration?


Inspiration is always a difficult one to pinpoint. I had an idea to make a drawing about moving through a landscape. One of the things that is beautiful about being on a bicycle is that you make contact with the ground as you move, so you are in a sense part of the landscape that you are moving through.

How did you create the design?


It was drawn in London with pencil and paper to scale, which is how I work normally. It was important that it worked not just as a drawing, but also as a design for a kit. Visiting Rapha (in Soho), at the entrance there is a beautiful collection of racing jerseys. In themselves they are a landscape of colours and markers. I made my drawing with the understanding that it was going to be seen from a distance, or in passing.

What does cycling mean to you?


In the country it is about being able to see above hedges, watching hills, and wandering forward. When I am in a city I prefer to cycle late at night or early in the morning, when streets are closed and empty and normally just occupied by seagulls. My favourite place to ride just beyond the city and into the country, when the sky gets big. Wherever I am, going quickly is not of interest to me. I prefer to take my time and look around.

The Nigel Peake artist collaboration is available exclusively in the Rapha London Clubhouse, Brewer Street, Soho.

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