ten Bhomer, Marloes [Designer] (2015) Bluepanelshoe. (shoe).


Bluepanelshoe is part of Marloes ten Bhömer’s ongoing research inquiry into the limited nature of existing shoe typologies and its gendered implications. The artefact, a leather clad shoe prototype, was the result of a 4-year research process by the practice-based design researcher into how kinematics and biomechanics of the foot and ankle in relation to structural engineering could form the basis of new footwear possibilities.   Ten Bhömer sought to challenge conventional shoe production, based on a regimented component and sandwich construction process. This limits new approaches to footwear design and production, a problem amplified by fashion’s focus on re-referencing existing shoe typologies. Instead, Ten Bhömer created a new footwear design and production methodology, based on kinematics, biomechanics and structural engineering, to inform new possibilities in footwear structure, manufacturing, thinking, material and aesthetics. The output originated in ten Bhömer’s Stanley Picker Fellowship at Kingston University (2011 - 2013) for which ten Bhömer researched foot anatomy and kinematics, and the structural parameters, informed by biomechanical factors, required to support a high-heeled foot in motion in collaboration with the University’s Sports Science Department. In 2014 ten Bhömer was invited to contribute to the Design Museum exhibition Life on Foot. She took this as an opportunity to conduct further research into elements including foot biomechanics, construction methods and materials, structure and performativity. This research through design approach, in which alternative shoe proposals were analysed, offered an additional method for obtaining new knowledge, countering current industry testing methods, limited to testing existing shoe types and padding. The result was a singular blue coloured prototype; not a ‘final’ shoe design, but an exemplification of the opportunities ten Bhömer’s method offers.   The work has been disseminated internationally, including through ten Bhömer’s contribution to the published proceedings of the 4th Biennial Research Through Design Conference (Delft, 2019).

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