News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Monday July 22nd 2019

Soccer brand gets a (striped) foot in the arts door

Caitlin Ross

Tableaux of art and objects rather than flags and vuvuzelas surround the walls of ‘The Apartment’ at Three Floors. Photo: Steve Kretzmann/WCN

'Street' art and interesting tableaux surround soccer enthusiasts watching the World Cup matches at the adidas 'Three Stories' in Woodsock. Photo: Steve Kretzmann

Soccer and art are conventionally considered poles apart but global brand adidas have found a way of melding them in a mix and match space in the heart of lower Woodstock’s up-and-coming warehouse district.

And although the World Cup is in full swing with all matches screened, there’s hardly a flag or, music to the ears of many, a vuvuzela in sight at this soccer-meets-art-meets-street style venue attracting a young ‘with-it’ crowd who seem to feel no need to wear their team colours on their sleeve – unless they happen to consist of three stripes.

The three vast floors of the warehouse at 66-69 Albert Street, named Three Stories, hosts three different creative spaces which over the course of the month will conduct a series of private match viewings and exhibitions. The idea is that with the participation of local artists, musicians, DJs, soccer fans and designers, the space will evolve organically under the adidas dictum “celebrate originality”.

The ground floor is the exhibition space, A Word of Art, which on selected days puts on different artistic shows focusing on street art and is steadily developing colour as each event contributes to the space. An upcoming event, Papergirl-SA, invites anyone who wishes to participate to submit artwork on paper. The works will be exhibited in the space for one day, after which they’ll be rolled up and handed out randomly on the street by people riding bikes a-la an American paper route on June 26.

A who’s-who of Cape Town street artists have been pulled in, including Mak1one, Black Koki, Bison, Rasty, Senyol, 351073 and Jade Klara, many of whom were also drawn into designing t-shirts for a limited edition collection.

The middle floor is where skateboarders and the like are to be found, with a half-pipe, open floor space and more art-in-progress on the walls.

But the third floor is where everyone ends up. “The Apartment” is essentially a huge cinema-style lounge, complete with Pac-Man machine, and a mixed bag of sofas, pool and foos-ball tables, a bar and food outlet. It seems the word was spread on the street. By two o’clock last Friday, for the opening match, people were showing up to watch the game an hour before the venue opened its doors. By the start of the game The Apartment was over capacity and turning people away.

“People like that they can come hang out and watch the soccer comfortably for free. It’s a collaboration on originality, people being creative and being themselves,” said Adidas spokesperson Maike Gerritsen.

“It’s a creative home away from home. You can come, grab a beer, be yourself and be creative,” said Gerritsen.

Besides catering to aficionados of street style, the organizers have organized special ‘adidas Original’ taxis to ferry party-goers between the CBD and the venue, and even have their own publication showcasing the myriad events taking place during World Cup month, including live bands.

As a campaign of eclectic street style it has been running globally – satellite events have taken place in New York, London and Berlin, and a parallel event coinciding with the World Cup is happening in Johannesburg.

The focus on originality is big. The adidas Originals Facebook page, which has just under 3 million people who have clicked the ‘like this’ button, states: “In 2010, we’re going to continue to Celebrate Originality by showing you how it comes to life on a special street. We’ll see what happens when original people, just like you and your crew, get together and have an original time. We’ll introduce you to more new products, interstellar icons, celebrity friends, exciting technology and, most importantly, we’ll showcase how you are celebrating originality in unique ways on YOUR street.”

Apartment manager, Anthea Duce, said the space was fast gathering a following. “It’s viral, as a local art collective and friendly space, within five days the word has spread,” she said.

In Fact, due to the increasing interest, organizers are setting up more viewing space with a bar on the first floor.

Even without the hip-an’-happening events program, it’s an attractive indoor alternative for football fans wanting to escape the cold weather at the outdoor public viewing areas, (and the vuvuzelas) – just so long as you can stomach the ubiquitous adidas blue and tresfoil branding.

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Tags: adidas originals, three stories, vuvuzela, Woodstock

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