A place called #Herzo. #Adidas #Design #Academy

I’m back with more good news.

Towards the end of last year, I entered a competition for the right for a slot at the Adidas Design Academy. The academy is a 2-year program by Adidas that would present a trainee opportunities to work for the different design centers of Adidas around the world. You can read all about it at the adidas design website.

Just last week, the finalists were flown to Nuremberg, Germany to participate in an assessment center at the Adidas World of Sports Headquarters in Herzogenaurach. I was very lucky to be one of the finalists. There were candidates from Germany, USA, Brazil, London and Singapore to name a few. Candidates are divided into 2 groups, apparel and footwear. I was part of the footwear group, of course!

I’m in Germany!!! Sponsored by Adidas to go to the world HQ!!! Are you kidding me?!

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THAT rose window.

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I was in awe of the Nuremberg old city. Being an architect, I can’t help but appreciate the well preserved and reused historic buildings, cobblestone roads and towering gothic chuches. I spent a lot of time just staring at the old buildings and how the newer constructed buildings blend with the existing structures. The design and visual language of the old was carried through to the new with subtlety and finesse. As if a classic muscle car was redrawn and rebuilt with modern materials and techniques yet there is a clear reference to its great grandfather. I could blabber on about architecture and design but I would save that for another time.

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We were waiting at the Motel One lobby, a black bus with a huge Adidas graphic on the side pulls up on the drop-off.

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“That’s our ride?! Oh, man…”

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Shuttle service by adidas going to the adidas world headquarters, what am I doing here?! I know it’s a small thing but coming from a country that is a 16-hour flight away where these kinds of things happening are unheard of. I can’t help it but try to make each moment last longer by just stopping and staring or moving very slowly. LOL. It’s like savoring the taste of the first bite of a juicy steak or first sip of hearty soup on a cold rainy day.

It was a 3-day assessment center where we spent half of it meeting the different category directors/heads and listening to them present what defines each group. There were presentations about the history behind the brand, design performance, design originals, BOOST, Adidas Fund, creating the Spain world cup kit, fashion group collaborations (Tom Dixon, Y-3, Stella McCartney), testimonies from earlier design academy participants and a quick tour at AIT (AIT!!!). The other half of the time is the assessment center. I will not go into the details of what we did. You can try to get on the next one and find out on your own. :)

Being sick the whole time didn’t really help me in getting to know the other participants better. :( This was a REALLY talented bunch of designers.

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Cold morning walks. Quiet excitement.

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“Laces” building

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Mouth open. One eye twitching. Blown mind.

Pam with the first day quick brief.

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The set-up for the next 3 days. That’s Birgit Freundorfer of design performance setting-up her presentation.

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Inside the adidas Brand Center.

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First shoe to ever sport the 3 stripes.

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My thoughts after the event:

There are goals we strive to achieve or continuously chase. Some goals are harder to reach, some are surprisingly easier to attain. Most of the time, I feel like I’m achieving something when there is a struggle, when there is a hurdle to be overcome. It is difficult to find value at something that comes easy for us or as naturally. I’ve learned to trust myself more and let go of the struggle. That what comes naturally to us comes naturally for a reason. Maybe it’s what we are meant to do, maybe it is who we really are.

This opportunity forced me to look within. Travelling to a different country with an entirely different culture, being in the same room with different nationalities of different backgrounds and industries has made me hold on to my identity. It’s easy to listen and get lost in the noise of all the new things, get scared and cower even or you can trust yourself, the work, the time and the effort you have spent before that moment that has brought you this chance. I know I was scared and lost focus a few times during the trip. I just had to be reminded of my journey. To be reminded of why I’m here.

I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be part of the event and I thank those who have helped make this possible. To fly and attend with everything taken cared of, Sarah and Pam from adidas taking care of us and making sure we are all comfortable and on track during our stay. I cannot not mention also the talent managers/coordinators from adidas: Jamie, Simone, Lukas and Anthony who were in constant communication with us via email from the start of the competition to the day before the assessment center. The German embassy Manila for making me want this trip more, you are doing your job and you’re doing it well and I fully understand. To Quetzal and Ray who shared this part of my journey and who constantly reminded me that all things are possible, thank you brothers. Finally met Arnau and Ba in person, glad to finally meet you my iPensole brothers! To Andy S., who always made me feel as if I should be and I belong in adidas. Thanks, mate! To Dwayne, who always has an ear for all my thoughts and frustrations that goes along with this so far incredible journey, I thank you, Sir! To Michie, who has seen, heard and felt it all but still continuously supports and comforts me, you’ve always been the courage of this flawed dreamer, thank you! The outcome is beyond my control and let be according to Thy will.

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The group. Danke!!!

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9 Comments

  1. I really enjoy reading on this website, it holds great articles. Don’t put too fine a point to your wit for fear it should get blunted. by Miguel de Cervantes. akddfedfdebe

  2. Thanks for posting this! I was just invited to present my design at Game Day for the Design Academy in a few weeks. I was hesitant initially, but your post changed my mind. You are an inspiration :).

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