by Anmol AhujaDec 18, 2021
A collaboration between Meissen and adidas, both German giants known globally having generations’ worth of design experience behind them, is bound to be headline grabbing. The poster child of this collaboration, however, is the one that’s bound to sneak away all the limelight and eyeballs: the ZX 8000 Porcelain, a singular hand painted sneaker pair with a porcelain overlay. While adidas has continued expanding its business frontiers, now known as a household brand having a hand in both high-end and affordable sportswear, Meissen is the oldest porcelain manufactory in Europe. Design is the one thing that unites these two giants, and it is the avenue in which their collaboration bears colourful fruit.
The A-ZX series was conceived originally in 1984 as a line of high performance running sneakers, while its inaugural A-ZX line in 2008 and 2009 was presented by adidas as a partnering avenue itself, bringing new collaborators to the fore by way of partnering with creatives from across the globe through each of the 26 letters of the alphabet. Artists, designers, both industrial and visual, and a number of professionals and brands from diverse fields have contributed to the remodelling of adidas’ iconic ZX8000 sneaker silhouette, and Europe’s oldest porcelain manufacturer is the latest addition to that creatively disruptive consortium. The Porcelain thus serves as an elevated artistic representation of the iconic adidas ZX 8000 silhouette.
Ensuring the pair’s unique place in history, each pattern has been meticulously handcrafted with the utmost care and precision by four individual painters across three separate Meissen departments over a period of six months. The shoe is cut out of premium adidas leather and bears handmade Meissen porcelain overlays, especially engineered for the shoe, later hand-painted in entirety. The bulk of the shoes’ porcelain exoskeleton hugs the shoe near the heel, making the pair weigh nearly 950 grams. The pair was moved between the adidas headquarters in Herzogenaurach, and Meissen, Germany, where the porcelain brand’s manufactory is located, to enable a successful collaboration between the artisans on both sides.
While adidas brings its signature sneaker as a blank canvas to this collaboration, Meissen brings its design of the stunningly original and colourful Krater Vase, first designed in 1856. The Krater Vase is a quintessential piece of Meissen design developed and finessed over the company’s 310-year-old history, and the ZX 8000 Porcelain is adorned with 15 of the vase’s 130 different patterns, including a mix of abstractions and floral-faunal motifs, especially aquatic. Both the shoes in the pair are individually painted and bear different patterns, and one of the most distinctly visible ones is the Chinese dragon drawn on the left’s toebox and lip. This seemingly unrelated mashup of Krater designs on the shoe is not only evocative of the vast number of themes and motifs the Krater Vase has embodied over the years, but the cohort of patterns chosen also pay a well suited homage to the age old collection.
The ZX8000 Porcelain will be up for bidding in a single-lot, online-only auction hosted by Sotheby’s. The auction is currently ongoing on the New York based auction house’s official website, and will continue till December 16. The shoes are expected to go out at a fat price nearing $1 million, and all proceeds from the sale will benefit the Brooklyn Museum, to fund art programing to provide access to the arts for local youth.