Behind The Design
Air Jordan 8 'Quai 54'
The Air Jordan VIII ‘Quai 54’ marks the fifth time Jordan has collaborated on a design with Europe’s preeminent street ball tournament. The event first launched in 2003, when partners Hammadoun Sidibé and Thibaut de Longeville took inspiration from NYC’s vibrant playground basketball scene and brought that flavor of the game to Paris, France. The rest is history. Expanding both the scope and energy of Quai 54, inviting athletes and entertainers from the four corners of the globe to participate, the two founders have brought basketball to packed venues, celebrating the game and its culture in prestigious Parisian settings for fifteen strong years—making Quai 54 the longest running outdoor basketball program in Europe.
While event founder Hammadoun Sidibé and creative director Thibaut de Longeville have worked with Jordan on several Quai 54 editions; this is the first VIII in the line-up.
The team wanted to create something for people to wear in the French basketball community —touching on the fact that many of the youth would rep North American basketball or football colours on the street—and they wanted an aesthetic that nodded back to this with specific Paris flavor.
“The first official Jordan collab ever was with Quai 54, and we’re very proud of that. It’s a great privilege that we don’t take for granted, we appreciate the opportunity to be able to tell our story and share our values through these collaborations.”
Creative director Thibaut de Longeville took us through the impetus for the design of the 15th anniversary shoe, a union of Parisian and West African identity. The pattern plays with the traditional colours of Paris (blue and red) as well as the traditional colors of West Africa (green, yellow, and red), specifically because these colours are common to most West African country flags.
“It is really about the contribution that the people of African heritage are bringing to French basketball, to French style and to French culture as a whole. In Paris we have a cultural mix that is quite unique to the city, but impacts both sports, music, fashion and culture throughout France, throughout Europe and now resonates significantly throughout the world.”
Quai 54 stands for togetherness, above all, something that is easily witnessed in the stands and on the court, the Air Jordan VIII ‘Quai 54’ serves as the embodiment of this spirit.
“We have had players from over 10 nations playing at the tournament: France, USA, Spain, Germany, U.K., Poland, Russia, Brasil, Japan, China and more. Between the athletes, the entertainers, our international guests, and the Quai 54 family, we have people from all continents, all colors, all creeds and all walks of life who participate in Quai 54, all sharing the same passion for sport, music, fashion and culture. Togetherness is our strongest value, something the various design elements of the shoe are meant to capture. There is currently a lot of fear and a lot of racism throughout Europe, and Quai 54 has become, throughout the past 15 years, a strong symbol of multi-cultural identity, which is something we’re very proud of. We want to continue to play our part to show that we can play together, and we can live together.
The blocky nature of the shoe is meant to invoke an outdoor feel, reminiscent of the asphalt basketball courts tucked away in corners and squares of the French capital. The playgrounds that Parisian kids grew up on, many of whom may never have dribbled a ball on the hardwood, are the home to the spirit and vitality that is channeled through both the Quai 54 tournament and the design for the Air Jordan VIII ‘Quai 54’.
The Air Jordan VIII ‘Quai 54’ is available on SNEAKRS starting June 15th.