3,574 shoelaces. 1,794 reef knots. Brought to life on a wall roughly 25 m in length, the sneaker wall at the new L&T sports store in Osnabrück is an impressive architectural feat that truly raises the bar.
To create the installation, we had to learn how to tie sailing knots, and developed a special anchoring system so that the construction could withstand the tremendous forces used.
‘Lighthouses’ – that’s the name given to companies that shake up the industry time and time again with remarkable projects. One such brand is fashion retailer Lengermann & Trieschmann (L&T) in Osnabrück, who opened Europe’s most cutting-edge sports store in early March 2018 with the 5,500 m² L&T store. The innovative store design is the work of Hamburg-based architects Prof. Moths Architekten, who were tasked with creating the elaborately constructed sneaker wall by shopfitting company Hoffmann Ladenbau.
Sneakers appear to float almost weightlessly on acrylic shoe shelves, suitably surrounded by a delicate mesh of black, grey, white and pink shoelaces. The display looks effortless, but creating it required meticulous preparation. “The huge dimensions of the 25 x 3.5 m wall meant our first priority was obviously to develop a solid base to support the frame structure,” explains project manager Stephan Jahn. The material chosen for the task – solid black MDF – was drilled all around the edges and the shoelaces were then painstakingly inserted through the holes by hand following a pattern.
According to Stephan Jahn, it wasn’t an easy task: “First, we had to establish what would be the best knot to use – and reef knots turned out to be ideal. The next step involved tying knots in sackfuls of shoe laces, but we had to make sure the knots in the diagonal line of laces were offset.” To attach the laces to the frame, a special system was developed specifically for the project. “For this, we made triangular rope tensioners in our metal workshop that would make sure the laces were kept under perfect tension.” The right level of tension was also vital for the cable rope system that holds the acrylic shoe shelves in place. Here coil springs were used that were invisibly built into the base structure where they exerted continuous pressure on the cable ropes. Integrated inspection doors also allow staff straightforward access to the wall unit to carry out any maintenance work.
This unusual project began in October 2017 and was completed within 13 weeks: the perfect display for the latest sneaker trends was ready just in time for the official opening of the L&T sports store in early March 2018.