contact us

We'd love to hear from you!


Honolulu, Hawaii
United States

(917) 216-8154

An artistic collaborative of artists, designers, makers and craftsmen focused on the creation of unique experiences and conceptual environments.  Building moments to be explored and remembered through the conception and creation of custom art installations, interior design, events, set design, styling & visual merchandising.

Blog

Filtering by Tag: Mark Keegan

Behind the Scenes: Marathon Map Wall

Nikole Nelson

7_IMG_7027a.jpg
IMG_0841a.jpg

Pre-demolition. Wall on the right (with the round mirror hanging up high) is to become our Marathon Map Wall!

IMG_0535a.jpg

Test made using embossed plaster technique.

IMG_0539a.jpg
IMG_9243a.jpg

Cutting the enlarged template down into manageable pieces for stamping.

IMG_9257a.jpg
IMG_0028a.jpg
IMG_0002a.jpg
IMG_0051a.jpg
IMG_0571a.jpg
IMG_9832a.jpg
IMG_9835 (2)a.jpg
IMG_9838a.jpg

Photography by Conor Doherty

Behind the Scenes: Plaster and Patinas

Nikole Nelson

4_NB-039a.jpg
IMG_1040a.jpg

Raw space post demolition.

IMG_0485a.jpg
IMG_0479a.jpg
IMG_0492a.jpg

Having pulled an all-nighter, the plaster textured walls are looking quite dramatic!

IMG_0501a.jpg

Close-up of textured plaster treatment.

IMG_9736.jpg
10_IMG_1979.jpg

Perfectly patinaed garage doors!

IMG_0854a.jpg

Pre-demolitian. Under those terrible pressed wood slats hide some gorgeous original garage doors just waiting to be discovered and brought to aged perfection!

IMG_1044a.jpg
IMG_1127a.jpg

In-studio tests of various patina treatments on metal.

IMG_0478a.jpg
IMG_1320a.jpg
IMG_1215a.jpg
1_IMG_7657.jpg
image_4a.jpg

Left: Initial demo of old flooring reveals original hexagonal penny tiles. Right: First layer of patina on floor letters.

IMG_9976a.jpg
IMG_9894a.jpg
IMG_9940a.jpg
IMG_9913a.jpg
IMG_9771.jpg

And voila!!

Photography by Conor Doherty

Behind the Scenes: Brick aging & wood panel build

Nikole Nelson

1_14_Capture One 0023-FINALa.jpg
2_IMG_0129a.jpg

Raw space with multiple brick facades at varying stages of aging and plywood blocking for wood panels. Liz takes a dust free breather.

1_IMG_0121a.jpg

Pre-treated brick - it's a mess!

2_IMG_1057a.jpg
3_IMG_0109a.jpg

It was insane how many different types of brick/stone there were in one space - 7 in total! The history and architecture revealed itself one layer at a time. A true challenge to merge the varieties in tone and aged appearance using mortar, paint and other tricks of the trade.

4_IMG_0158a.jpg

While Liz and I were up high painting the brick, Jenny was hard at work mixing just the right shades of grey for us to keep the progress moving through the night.

5_IMG_0306a.jpg
6_IMG_1248a.jpg

Completed brick tones!

3_IMG_1038a.jpg

Sketch reflecting aged brick walls with intermittent wood panels on which to highlight merchandise.  And our sturdy, yet feminine hard hats.  We can be safe AND look hot!

4_IMG_0338a.jpg

Measuring and designing the reclaimed wood plank patterns to be used for the large-scale wood panels.

5_IMG_0325a.jpg

In the background are my collaborators Kirsten Marchand, NB Senior Store Planner and our talented carpenter Sal. 

6_IMG_0330a.jpg

Sal refers to my printed template to ensure correct placement of each plank. He rocked AND he let me use his pneumatic nail gun to secure the final structure! Hot damn it was powerful! 

7_IMG_0337a.jpg
8_IMG_9742 copya.jpg

I never tire of seeing the vision come to life!

9_IMG_9737a.jpg
2_NB-081.jpg

Behind the Scenes: NB Marathon Bib Wall Treatment

Nikole Nelson

IMG_9731a.jpg
IMG_0103a.jpg

Raw space in construction.

IMG_1105aa.jpg

Design development tests done in-studio to create texture, plaster application process, depth and tones of final treatment.

IMG_0185aa.jpg

Creating large, on-site sample of bib texture based on studio tests.

IMG_0249a.jpg

Painting embossed sample to accentuate texture and design detail.

IMG_0277a.jpg

Final on-site sample to be used as guide for in store execution.

IMG_0134aa.jpg

Checking scale of bibs along top of brick walls... Plastering to begin over installed diamond lathe.

IMG_0396a.jpg

Liz and Jenny prepping the silicone casts for embossing the plaster.

IMG_0372a.jpg

Embossed plaster in progress!

IMG_0356a.jpg

Checking temperature of plaster - when hot you know the magic is happening!

IMG_0353a.jpg
IMG_0373a.jpg

Embossed plaster left overnight to cure completely before painting.

IMG_0374a.jpg
IMG_9977aa.jpg

Now that the plaster is dry, we begin painting to pull out the proper tones, creating depth and drama.

IMG_0429a.jpg

Texture begins to visibly pop with final paint application.

IMG_1281a.jpg
IMG_9729a.jpg
3_IMG_1263a.jpg

Collaboration is the key to dynamic success and this gorgeous store is no exception to the rule. New Balance Creative Director and brilliant mind Mark Keegan crafted and lead a team of designers, artists and makers, each experts in their given fields, to bring his retail vision to life. In tandem with NB Senior Store Designer Kirsten Marchand, our team manifested the essence of NB Excellence. Over the next few weeks we will bring you more behind the scenes action - diving into our entire project scope. It was both an honor and a privilege to be a part of this crazy-talented team on our SECOND New Balance Experience store! The players:

Design Mastermind: Mark Keegan, NB Creative Director

Interior Guru: Kirsten Marchand, NB Senior Store Planner

Graphic Design: Linda Loiewski, LX2

Silicone Plate Production & NB Neon Sign: IDL Worldwide

Artists and Makers: Nikole Nelson Studios (aka, hot construction chicks ;)

Photography: Conor Doherty

View Full Project

Behind the Scenes: NB Feature Art Installation

Nikole Nelson

Photograph by Jeff Harris

RawSite_FA_NB.jpg

Entry wall of store, pre-construction, where sculpture would be installed.

ConceptSketches_FA_NB.jpg

Early concept sketches.

Waste_NB_NN.jpg

Die-cut waste - New Balance manufacturing plant.

Sketch_NB_NN.jpg

Sculpture exterior design development sample.

Collaborators, Porter Green Works, building plywood structure.

structure_NB_NN.jpg
Sketch_NB_NN1.jpg
NB_NN_1906_.jpg

Archived shoe making tools formed into 1906, NB's year of origin.

3_NB_NN.JPG

NB shoe tags individually rolled with wire.

4_NB_NN.JPG

Sculpting mechanical arm from industrial hardware.

5_NB_NN.JPG
13_NB_NN.JPG

Resin copy of original sewing machine used in early NB factories.

14_NB_NN.JPG

Visual merchandising display design development samples in progress.

6_NB_NN.JPG
7_NB_NN.JPG
8_NB_NN.JPG
9_NB_NN.JPG
10_NB_NN.JPG
11_NB_NN.JPG
12_NB_NN.JPG
Install_NN_NB.jpg

On-site installation.

Photograph by Jeff Harris.

My approach to design starts from the inside of the brand; its inception through its evolution. As part of my research I traveled to the New Balance manufacturing plant in Lawrence, MA to observe their production first hand. As a “picker” at heart my eye found beauty in every element of the creation process – from the materials and tools used to the contents of the dumpsters (during my many dives!). These pieces would directly translate into the primary feature art piece within the store.

Upon entering the NYC experience store the sculpture provides an immediate sense of the unique quality of the brand – where the technical meets the organic. Angled boxes converge to form a composition that encourages a consumer viewing experience filled with texture and mystery. Each individual box contributes to a journey through the history, evolution and contemporary energy of New Balance from its foundation in 1906 to present. The company’s year of origin is crafted from archived shoe making tools and extends the length of the sculpture. A resin replica of the original sewing machines used in the early factories is encased in moss as if it halted mid-stich in decades past. Scrap leather from die cut waste was sculpted in layers over the surface creating a fossilized texture. Actual individual shoe parts converge in repetition to create a variety of abstract sculptures that capture the intensity, movement and originality of the brand.

Special thanks to the New Balance family and my dynamic team of hard working ladies for their commitment, drive and energizing spirits. Cheers to a job well done! 

View Full Project

Behind the Scenes: Experience Store In Construction

Nikole Nelson

5_NB_store_Floor.jpg

Collaborating with assembly area designers IDL, painted distressed NB logo on floor.

IdlCorner.jpg

Raw space pre-construction.

Assembly_Before.jpg

Assembly area floor, beginning stages of construction.

FloorSample2A.JPG

Design development floor samples.

21_FloorNB_1.JPG
Team_IDL_NN.jpg
DetailN.jpg
4_NB_store_columns.jpg

Photograph by Jeff Harris

column4.jpg
Columns.JPG
columns3.jpg
ConstructionWorkersRock.jpg
RedHook_ItsAWrap.jpg

Our muscle! We love Allstate Electric!On the roof of our studio in Red Hook for celebratory laughs and beers at sunset.

During our 3 week stay on the New Balance construction site we tackled the rear wall (seen in earlier behind the scene post), the column restoration and the floor treatment in the assembly area. At the hottest point of the summer, during a heat wave, in an unventilated space, with zero natural light, we forged side by side with skilled construction teams to achieve dynamic results. A construction site can easily be compared to a beehive - it is no joke, especially in New York City. These dudes were serious craftsman and took their trades to the extreme. The amount of energy and collaboration was invigorating and we earned our stripes successfully amongst them, hot-pink hardhat and all. There was not a day the boys didn’t assist our team in one way or another – from lifting our 20 ft scaffolding to teaching me new methods of building – it was an experience I will not soon forget.

We painted a distressed oversized NB logo in the assembly area and developed the staining process for the wood floors throughout the space. The columns were stripped down to the original metal, cleaned and finished, restoring their full beauty. This was one messy job – wet, dirty and grimy. During the finishing process, antique graffiti was discovered adding to the store's visual story, peeling back the layers of time to reveal and respect the building’s history.

After 3 long HOT weeks we returned to our studio in Red Hook on top of the world. As we watched the sunset celebrating our power (we were quite pumped up on testosterone) our minds began shifting to the next stages of greatness ahead…the production of the 13’ front art sculpture…

More behind the scenes on final stages of New Balance Experience store coming soon! 

View Full Project

Behind the Scenes: New Balance Experience Store

Nikole Nelson

Photograph by Jeff Harris

Harnessing the power of the retail experience we imparted an organic, deconstructed, visual journey through the evolution of the brand at the recently opened New Balance NYC Experience Store on 5th Avenue in the Flatiron District of Manhattan.

SiteRaw2.jpg

Raw site pre-construction.

conceptDWG1.jpg

Nelson's early concept sketch for rear wall of store.

Backwall_Sample1C.JPG

Design development sample focusing on movement and texture.

draw-2.jpg

Drawing in breakaway design before brick work begins.

NB_NN_BackWall5.jpg
NB_NN_BackWall4.jpg
NB_NN_BackWall2.jpg

Mortar application and final texturing in progress.

Photograph by Jeff Harris

This takes my love of mortar, concrete, dirt, texture and RED to a new level. Collaborating with skilled masons the back wall was built to mimic the existing brick throughout the space dating back to the 1800's. Layers where the key to authenticity - mortar was custom tinted, thickly applied and strategically scraped after drying. It was labor intensive and pretty damn crazy - my entire team is now equipped with ripped arms as a result of this process! Who needs the gym when you have the summer of New Balance brick lovin!

Inspiration took seed in a matter of seconds as I stood in the raw space, with architectural drawings by retail masters Cormark, in hand. Scanning the space meticulously I calculated the imagery of each wall - the demolition was gorgeous. Areas of the wall were ripped open revealing the inner workings of the structure. It was like a day in heaven - I love all things deconstructed. From the walls of the architecture itself the movement of the red breakaway was born. Pepper in the collaborative layers of signage by IDL, visual merchandising displays by Knock and the sickest texture mapping a girl has ever seen by KLIP and you find an experience worth craving.

More behind the scenes at the New Balance NYC Experience Store to follow in the coming week. Stay tuned!

View Full Project

Behind the Scenes: New Balance Wellness

Nikole Nelson

NB_PeterZJones.jpg

Photographer Peter Z. Jones

NBwall2.jpg
NBwall3.jpg
NBwall5.jpg
Brick3.JPG
NBwall1.jpg

For the New Balance Wellness catalog shoot I designed and fabricated a 12ft X 8ft wall. The scale was massive and the effect was dramatic. Homasote bricks were cut in varying sizes and layered to form 3 levels of depth. A mixture of joint compound and mortar emulated an aged surface, while paint unified the tonality and further increased shadows.

Team: Art Director: Mark Keegan. Photographer: Peter Z. Jones.

View Full Project

Behind The Scenes: New Balance Military

Nikole Nelson

Photographer Jeff HarrisAs a highly patriotic woman, I jumped at the chance to design the sets for the New Balance U.S. Marine Corps and Navy catalog shoot. The brand vision was rugged, weathered, textured and industrial. To capture the desired energy, set backdrops were fabricated by hand out of concrete board, mortar, joint compound, wood and paint. Dark moody lighting provided shadow and depth as the USMC approved performance model made sprinting and excessive pull-ups look easy. This was a true collaboration bringing together the talents of New Balance Art Director Mark Keegan, Photographer Jeff Harris, Prop Stylist Tiziana Agnello and one crazy Hawaiian girl on sets (that would be me). The results were HOT HOT HOT! View full project at: http://nikolenelson.com/set-design/military.html
Read More