Athletically Pleasing: A Closer Look

BY Manchester Craft and Design Centre


Athletically Pleasing is a showcase of products exploring how craft, design and innovative technology are being used to enhance both athletic performance and aesthetic appeal in sport. Within this piece we uncover the complex research and development which has lead to the creation of these pieces, and how they show the advancements of the new elite of sports products.

Closca Design

Closca Fuga helmet, 2015
Fibreglass, expanded polystyrene, polycarbonate

Closca Fuga balances function with beauty, offering design and innovation to cycling commuters, whilst protecting cyclists from impact and sunstroke.

The award-winning design features three hinged rings, which allow the helmet to collapse to half it’s original size when not in use. It is the result of a collaboration with a creative consultancy company and feedback from stylish cyclists.

The Closca Fuga helmet is kindly loaned from Tokyobike. //


Joe Hartley Darts Athletically Pleasing

Rob Bailey and Joe Hartley, 2016
Paper, beech, tungsten

These darts are the first objects made in an on-going collaboration between Manchester-based designers Rob Bailey and Joe Hartley. Their paper flights have been made especially for ‘Athletically Pleasing’. As well as being aesthetically beautiful, Joe and Rob say that they throw like a dream. //

‘Baker Miller Pink’ hoodie

Vollebak Pink Hoodie

Vollebak, 2016

This high-performance hoodie is designed to help adventure athletes achieve a natural state of relaxation before and after sport. Its colour, ‘Baker Miller Pink’, was originally developed in 1980s psychological experiments in prisons. The colour was show to have a calming and tranquillising effect on prisoners’ minds and muscles, an idea that Vollebak have carried into their hoodie. Vollebak recreated the exact shade of pink for the hoodie, which is also accompanied by a specially-composed soundtrack.

The ‘Baker Miller Pink’ Experiment

Baker Miller Pink Experiment


The Baker Miller Pink experiment is designed to induce meditation by containing every frequency the human ear can hear.

The experiment – the hoodie and soundtrack combined – aims to help you get into the optimum state of relaxation before or after sport, using colour and sound to slow down your heart rate, your breathing, and your brainwaves. Combining the exact colour of the original tests with a soundtrack composed from elements of pink noise, the experiment activates the part of your central nervous system that promotes rest and recuperation, helping you conserve energy and speed up your recovery time.

The experiment works best in a dark room with headphones on – download it at to try for yourself!


Lululemon pink sports top

Athletica Object
Silverescent fabric, 2017

Lululemon Athletica’s “anti-stink” Silverescent fabric technology makes it safe to sweat again. lululemon discovered that silver – a material not usually associated with exercise or clothing – inhibits the growth of odour causing bacteria that occurs when you sweat. Their patented ‘Silverescent’ fabric has 99.9% pure silver bonded to the surface of every fibre.


Tokyobike Childrens Bike

little Tokyobike, 2017

Everyone remembers their first bike. This little bicycle features the same attention to detail and simple functional design as tokyobike’s grown up versions – but has been shrunk to perfection. Tokyobikes are made for riders to enjoy the journey as much as the destination when exploring their city.

Nonusual Gropes

Nonusual Gropes

Handlebar covers
Leather, laces, 2014

Gropes are handmade leather handlebar grips which offer cyclists an individual and eye-catching alternative to the usual coverings. They are made using high-quality vegetable tanned leather which stays flexible and moulds to the handles. They are fitted using long laces – Nonusual promise that if you know how to tie your shoelaces, you know how to fit Gropes.


Evolution Of The Soccer Ball
Archival Print, 2014

From the very first official FIFA World Cup Ball by Adidas in 1970, to the Brazuca Brazil of 2014, Chungkong documents the many changing faces of the most crucial part of a football game. With a decrease in the amount of adjoining panels over time, durability and aerodynamic abilities have improved greatly. Visit Manchester’s National Football Museum to see a range of world cup balls.

Chungkong is a Netherlands-based graphic designer who has cleverly stripped the designs to their basics and produced a distinctive comparison chart of sorts.

FREE Launch Event, Thursday 25th May, 6-8pm

Join us to celebrate the launch of Athletically Pleasing with refreshments and live music from Ailsa McLaggan of Living Room Dance Club.