Walk the talk: a recycled shoe recycling bin.

In preparation for Earth Week 2012, the University of Oregon's chapter of Net Impact and a group of MBA students at the Lundquist College of Business founded A Step in the Right Direction (ASRD), a shoe recycling initiative benefitting Nike Reuse-A-Shoe and Hope4Hoopers.

ASRD recruited us to design and build their flagship recycling bin. During the inaugural collection period, from April to June 2012, nearly 3,000 individual athletic shoes were collected.

The ShoeBox is the product of interdisciplinary collaboration at the University of Oregon between the Center for Sustainable Business Practices, the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center, the Department of Architecture, Net Impact, and O Heroes. The project was financed by the University of Oregon Student Sustainability Fund.

ShoeBox Installation, Benefiting Nike Reuse-A-Shoe: Design for the Context
Design for the Context

Designed to complement its original home, not only does the ShoeBox’s structure mimic the architectural structure of the Lillis Business Complex (with three threaded rods in each corner, just as there are three columns in each corner of the lobby), but it is also sized to fit naturally in the tiled pattern on the floor.

Design for the Context

Designed to complement its original home, not only does the ShoeBox’s structure mimic the architectural structure of the Lillis Business Complex (with three threaded rods in each corner, just as there are three columns in each corner of the lobby), but it is also sized to fit naturally in the tiled pattern on the floor.

ShoeBox Installation, Benefiting Nike Reuse-A-Shoe: The ShoeBox Unveiled
The ShoeBox Unveiled

We revealed the ShoeBox while classes were in session and the lobby was deserted. For a few minutes, it sat empty and isolated before classes let out and curious students surrounded it.

The ShoeBox Unveiled

We revealed the ShoeBox while classes were in session and the lobby was deserted. For a few minutes, it sat empty and isolated before classes let out and curious students surrounded it.

Design for the context.

While the ShoeBox has resided in a variety of different venues, it was designed to complement its original home: the Lillis Business Complex at the University of Oregon in Eugene.

ShoeBox Installation, Benefiting Nike Reuse-A-Shoe: Reuse & Repurpose, Exploded Diagram
Reuse & Repurpose

An exploded model demonstrates how the reclaimed components come together to form the ShoeBox.

Reuse and repurpose.

Respecting its role as a recycling bin, the ShoeBox is not only built using reclaimed materials wherever possible (from BRING and the UO Material Exchange), but it is also designed for deconstruction. The entire project is constructed with no nails or glue, so it can be disassembled at will. Thus, when its lifespan as a recycling bin is complete, the pieces can be repurposed or recycled.

ShoeBox Installation, Benefiting Nike Reuse-A-Shoe: A Little Help from Nature, Golden Section
A Little Help from Nature

In celebration of Earth Week and the interdepartmental collaboration that made the ShoeBox possible, we used the golden ratio to size the major elements of the piece. The ratio has been used for proportioning in art and architecture for centuries; however, it is far more than merely aesthetically pleasing. Not only does the golden ratio abound in nature, but it also has applications in mathematics and finance, making its use in an interdisciplinary project even more apropos.

A little help from nature.

In celebration of Earth Week and the interdepartmental collaboration that made the ShoeBox possible, we used the golden ratio to size the major elements of the piece. The ratio has been used for proportioning in art and architecture for centuries; however, it is far more than merely aesthetically pleasing. Not only does the golden ratio abound in nature, but it also has applications in mathematics and finance, making its use in an interdisciplinary project even more apropos.

ShoeBox Installation, Benefiting Nike Reuse-A-Shoe: A Nod to Function, Laced Shoe Diagram
A Nod to Function

Rather than constructing the façades of the ShoeBox exclusively of wood slats, the form of a shoe has been extrapolated and manifested in the design. A section of each façade, analogous to the tongue of a shoe, was left open and flanked with eye screws. Then, a length of rope is threaded through the eye screws, from the bottom to the top where the two ends are fastened together– just like a pair of laced shoes.

A nod to function.

Rather than constructing the façades of the ShoeBox exclusively of wood slats, the form of a shoe has been extrapolated and manifested in the design. A section of each façade, analogous to the tongue of a shoe, was left open and flanked with eye screws. Then, a length of rope is threaded through the eye screws, from the bottom to the top where the two ends are fastened together — just like a pair of laced shoes.

ShoeBox Installation, Benefiting Nike Reuse-A-Shoe: Transparency, ShoeBox Installation Full of Shoes
Full of Shoes

From above, the collected shoes fill in the center of the Oregon “O”.

ShoeBox Installation, Benefiting Nike Reuse-A-Shoe: Transparency, Shoes Through the Laces
Shoes Through the Laces

Even when only the first few shoes are tossed in, they can been seen through the laces and slats, encouraging others to participate in the shoe drive.

Shoes Through the Laces

Even when only the first few shoes are tossed in, they can been seen through the laces and slats, encouraging others to participate in the shoe drive.

ShoeBox Installation, Benefiting Nike Reuse-A-Shoe: Transparency, Shoes Through the Slats
Shoes Through the Slats

Even when only the first few shoes are tossed in, they can been seen through the laces and slats, encouraging others to participate in the shoe drive.

Shoes Through the Slats

Even when only the first few shoes are tossed in, they can been seen through the laces and slats, encouraging others to participate in the shoe drive.

ShoeBox Installation, Benefiting Nike Reuse-A-Shoe: ShoeBox Isolated
A ShoeBox for the University of Oregon

As a product of interdisciplinary collaboration at the University of Oregon, the ShoeBox features the Oregon “O” on its top.

Transparency allows for visual feedback.

The ShoeBox is designed to be visually porous, so that as the bin fills with shoes, the shoes themselves become a part of the composition. This visual feedback encourages participation in the shoe drive, as the recycle bin as art installation provides a continuous demonstration of progress: as more and more shoes are added, the level of the total contribution is seen rising through the slats.

ShoeBox Installation, Benefiting Nike Reuse-A-Shoe: Education & Interaction,
Education & Interaction

Laser-etched acrylic panels explain the intention and philosophy behind the design, as well as encourage participation in the drive.

Education & Interaction

Laser-etched acrylic panels explain the intention and philosophy behind the design, as well as encourage participation in the drive.

ShoeBox Installation, Benefiting Nike Reuse-A-Shoe: Education & Interaction,
Education & Interaction

Laser-etched acrylic panels explain the intention and philosophy behind the design, as well as encourage participation in the drive.

Education & Interaction

Laser-etched acrylic panels explain the intention and philosophy behind the design, as well as encourage participation in the drive.

ShoeBox Installation, Benefiting Nike Reuse-A-Shoe: Education & Interaction,
Education & Interaction

Laser-etched acrylic panels explain the intention and philosophy behind the design, as well as encourage participation in the drive.

Education & Interaction

Laser-etched acrylic panels explain the intention and philosophy behind the design, as well as encourage participation in the drive.

ShoeBox Installation, Benefiting Nike Reuse-A-Shoe: The ShoeBox Debuts in Lillis Hall
Education & Interaction

Students had largely ignored the nondescript boxes and bags set out to collect shoes before we created the ShoeBox Installation. But, moments after the ShoeBox was unveiled in the lobby, it drew curious visitors, who explored the piece, and read the laser-etched panels explaining the endeavor. Word spread rapidly – “Did you see that cool box in the lobby?” – welcome publicity that gave huge momentum to the shoe collection drive.

Promotion paired with education and interaction.

The ShoeBox Installation serves not only to collect shoes to be recycled by Nike Reuse-A-Shoe, but also, appropriate to its location at the University of Oregon, to educate. Four etched panels at the corners engage the community by explaining the intention and philosophy behind the design, and encouraging participation in the drive.

ShoeBox Installation, Benefiting Nike Reuse-A-Shoe: Small Pieces, Big Impact
Oregon Yellow

The small, square pieces that separate the main slats are painted Oregon yellow.

Small pieces, big impact.

Just as the compilation of many small contributions – such as individual shoes – can make a big aggregate impact, 495 small pieces were combined to make this collection box.

ShoeBox Installation, Benefiting Nike Reuse-A-Shoe: ShoeBox Logo Designed for
An Icon Project Becomes an Adaptive Logo

Both the black and white areas of the logo can be easily swapped out for other colors to suit different promotional purposes.

Lasting impressions formulate a brand identity.

As the ShoeBox moved throughout the University of Oregon campus – from the Lillis Business Complex, to the Student Recreation Center, to the US Olympic Trials 2012 for Track & Field at Hayward Field – the leadership of A Step in the Right Direction noted that it was becoming an icon for their shoe recycling initiative. To take advantage of the branding opportunity, they asked us to design a logo for the group that would capitalize on the iconic nature of the ShoeBox.

Still hungry for more about this project?

Go deep, and read more about it in our blog.

A ShoeBox for Nike Reuse-A-Shoe: Perspective View from Front - Cropped for Featured Image - Design Blog

A ShoeBox for Nike Reuse-A-Shoe

After the ShoeBox Installation’s successful launch at the University of Oregon, Nike requested a proposal for a ShoeBox customized for Nike Reuse-A-Shoe.

ShoeBox Installation: The Build - Cutting the Slats - Cropped for Featured Image - Shoe Recycling - Design Blog

ShoeBox Installation: The Build

The story behind the construction of the ShoeBox Installation, a flagship shoe recycling bin at the University of Oregon, benefiting Nike Reuse-A-Shoe.

Hey, we hope you liked our work!

Would you like to check out the services we offer?

Interdisciplinary Design

Our team is trained to solve problems holistically, designing for digital, physical, and hybrid applications using an integrative design process.

Full Stack Web Development

Our award-winning design & development team is unique in that we not only can geek out over the technical specs, but we can also hold our own with a room full of designers.

Custom Crafted Content

Whether it’s through the written word, through visual storytelling, or through the combined forces of both, we craft tailored content to help you get your message seen and heard through all the noise.

Can we help you with anything?

Or, would you like to join our (rarely used) mailing list?

Feel free to reach out with any questions you may have for us about our services, our work, or anything else that’s got you curious.

Get in touch.