If you’re a big fan of Adidas, you’d know that Adidas Malaysia recently marked an impressive milestone, unveiling its largest brand centre in Southeast Asia at Sunway Pyramid. Spanning over 19,000 sq ft (that’s four shop lots!) across two floors, the brand centre offers the Adidas Originals line as well as performance-wear catered to both men and women. Not only that, but there's a customisation station where customers can personalise their new or old Adidas items with embroidery, vinyl heat transfers, garment printing, patches, and other options.
Besides the wide selection of products available, the Adidas brand centre exudes a cool, contemporary yet very Malaysian energy as a result of its art installations and interior touches. The thoughtfully-designed elements that sit within the store are the work of Valen Lim, the founder of Valenlim Studio.
Valenlim Studio: The Creative Brain Behind The Unique Experience
As a small but busy graphic and illustration design studio based in The Zhongshan Building, Valenlim Studio partakes in a variety of fields, including brand identity, illustration, print graphics, typography, and publication. What fuels their creative drive? Projects that are fun and offer the freedom to explore their creativity.
Valenlim Studio was initially approached by an agency to work on the localisation section in Adidas’ brand centre. The brief was to curate a spot where visitors and customers alike can have an enjoyable and interactive way of engaging with the brand.
A ping pong table, ping pong rack, wooden stools, a signboard feature wall, and an art installation featuring the iconic Adidas trefoil were among the design elements they created.
A Traditional Roadside Coffee Shop Treatment For Jenama Tiga Jalur
The concept was based on the uniquely Malaysian Kopitiam—for obvious reasons. The Kopitiam is part of our communal eating culture, where people from all walks of life come together to enjoy conversations over simple, flavourful bites. This was the team’s thinking when creating the ping pong area. The usual drinks one would typically find on Kopitiam tables are replaced with classic Adidas shoes for a unique twist. The shoes come complete with their price tags and year of release.
The team also produced shoe illustrations that are reminiscent of the fruit juice illustrations found on Kopitiam menus. To further amplify the local flair of the installation, rattan was used to replace the ping pong net. Not just that, even the classic tagline "the brand with the three stripes" was translated into Malay: jenama tiga jalur.
The classic Kopitiam's vernacular signboard is reimagined and reinterpreted for the feature wall with a custom type design, inspired by the vernacular typography that once adorned the local streets.
Even the Kopitiam’s quintessential rolling bamboo blinds make an appearance in the store - in the shape of the Adidas trefoil, of course. Like those of the past, where the blinds doubled as makeshift billboards with handpainted ads, these blinds are also decked out on both sides. One side features the custom-type Adidas sideboard, whereas the classic Adidas shoe series graces the other.
Amalgamating The Inspirations Of Yesteryear With Current Times
In order to materialise the concept, Valenlim Studio worked closely with the Roots team as well as Adidas Malaysia in the initial stages to ensure brand consistency was kept to. When it came to the actual execution, the production team was called in. All in all, it was truly a big team effort and involved everyone playing an active role in bringing the concept to life.
The designs took approximately two months of work but once they laid their eyes on the physical product, like many of us, they too were blown away. The zinc board texture of the feature wall exuded a nostalgic but modern energy. On top of that, the trefoil-shaped bamboo blinds were executed in such a polished way that they couldn’t help but feel pleased.
Valen hopes that visitors of the store will find themselves having fun just hanging out in the space and hopefully, they’ll engage in fun conversations and even fancy themselves a quick game of ping pong!
From Tumblr To Adidas Malaysia, Obama Foundation, Google Singapore, And More
The beginning of Valen’s interest in art actually began through a Tumblr account when it was still very much underground and undiscovered by the masses. Cool reblogs by other users led him to study graphic design in college, and since then, he’s serendipitously met and collaborated with a handful of creatives from a wide range of disciplines.
When asked whose work he finds himself enjoying, “I like the works of Tric Studio, Studio Hi Ho, Made Thought, Olssøn Barbieri, Studio NA.EO, Studio Yukiko, MOUTHWASH Studio, Asuka Watanabe, Jonathan Mak, Cuscus the Cuckoos… there are too many to list!” he shares. He also added that he admires the work of Malaysian photographer, Alvin Lau, for his great eye for observation, with whom he has had the opportunity to collaborate on multiple occasions.
Valenlim Studio shares that they’re heavily influenced by local heritage. They often elaborate and reinterpret it with a modernist flair as they enjoy experimenting with different art styles and draw inspiration from a range of sources. Lucky for them, they’ve had recent projects that gave them the space to explore and integrate their two passions, which are typography and illustration.
Besides that, Valenlim Studio has worked with a multitude of different organisations, from big and small to public and private. Their biggest clients include the Obama Foundation, Google Singapore, OCBC Bank, Digi Telco, Fred Perry, Grab, and, most recently, Adidas Malaysia. “And let’s not forget RIUH, of course! We’re honoured to have had the opportunity to work twice with RIUH on their event identity,” Valen expressed.
Hopeful For Many Exciting Tomorrows
Currently, the creatives over at Valenlim Studio are working on a number of branding projects while also actively assisting The Back Room KL and The Zhongshan Building (where their studio is based!) with branding and creative direction. Besides that, they’re also working on some new merch for Bandit Cafe in SS2. We asked Valen what’s next for this studio to which he replied, “We hope to continue working on more exciting projects such as the Adidas one and to develop deeper and more meaningful connections with global creatives.”
If you appreciate creative expression and artistic experiences, I recommend giving the Adidas brand centre in Sunway Pyramid a visit. It’s two floors of all-things Adidas - shoes, clothes, accessories, and knick-knacks. It’s an interesting rendering of the Kopitiam as we know it, and for those who enjoy the reinterpretation of traditional culture, I’m sure it’s something you’d appreciate. Plus, the personalisation station is very interesting too! You can even bring your old Adidas items to have them personalised!