To highlight Foot Locker's "Triple Black" Collection, a curated series of black sneakers from multiple brands, the retail chain wanted to bring an extra level of intrigue and excitement to their launch. They wanted to synthesize product and production into one story that could involve their customers. Found Studio, the experiential experts, brought their customers into a three dimensional emotional and immersive experience.
To highlight what makes these shoes special, mainly that they're all black, Found Studio conceived of a constructed live experience that would play on darkness. They created a space for participants that could be explored in the pitch black, with nothing but tactile and auditory senses. Using the two pathways of auditory and tactile communication, Found designed a sort of maze with the idea of bringing the participant off balance into a challenging space. They played off the fear and anxiety inspired by darkness to lift the participant up into the courageous brave person they could be when presented with the challenge. If the participants made it through in time, they would get a pair of sneakers to keep.
Conceived and produced in just nine days, Found built a 13x8m set in a warehouse, which housed a maze of different rooms designed to disorientate the challengers. Each challenger entered the space with no idea of what to expect. They were then presented with a huge black box with a shaft of light protruding from an opening. Cautiously they would enter the box and make their way down an internal corridor, at the end of which was a “briefing room” where the rules of the challenge were read to them by a mysterious voice. After this the lights would go out and they were left to work their way through a series of rooms and challenges.
Firstly, a “bees room” with disconcerting sound effects, then a balloon chamber, an installation room with an array of real and fake limbs protruding from the walls, and finally a corridor filled with polystyrene balls, wind machines and strobe lights creating a dizzying vortex. Once the trainers had been found, the challengers had ten seconds to escape.
Filming in complete darkness was a challenge not only for the cameras but also for the film crew that needed to also navigate their way, unsuspected, through the rooms. As a result, the live action was captured using night vision infra-red cameras and the set was designed to have removal walls and two-way mirrors to allow the film crew to shoot into the rooms without the challenger’s knowledge.
All the cameras were controlled remotely from a live room at the back of the set, as well as dynamic lighting design by Punchdrunk collaborator Mike Gunning, and sound fx by Altitude Music.