Just Grow It, by French plant artist Christophe Guinet, takes the exact opposite stance: It’s a collection Nike high tops coated in bark, flowers, seeds, stones, and dirt. The only component you’ll recognize are the woven laces.
The idea, which could look kitsch in the wrong hands, is executed with surprisingly tasteful arrangements, elevating what might have been a disastrous Martha Stewart craft project to something more akin to fine sculpture. Guinet meticulously trims, slices, sews, and glues to execute these designs to a level of perfection that makes the whole project seem that much more believable.
The piece Flower Power coats a shoe in yellow daisies—except for the swoosh, which uses white daisies. Then, as you look toward the sole, you’ll see that Guinet has very carefully trimmed the petals to retain the shoe’s sharp silhouette.
Amazingly, Guinet can produce a project like Flower Power in a long day, picking his flowers in the morning, assembling them through the afternoon, and then photographing his creation at night. An exception: Guinet spent a week carving bark and wood chips to make what's arguably his most striking piece in the collection, Wood, look like Nikes actually do grow on trees. Neon green laces bring the absurdity of the whole concept to life, contrasting Earth’s most perfect materials with the corporations that mine, repackage, and sell them back to us.
"In these works, one can read a certain dichotomy between the marketing and media world in which we live and ethical values that are dear to me," Guinet tells Co.Design. "This is an invitation for all of us to contemplate, to rediscover the beauty of a single seed of a wild grass, the delicacy of a flower, or the smell of the foam."