In 2003 a Dutch architect from an architects family and an English shoemaker from a shoemakers family decided to start a brand. Disillusioned with fashion and not wanting to be yet another shoe brand or architecture firm, a design company was born – set on releasing specific, iconic products and rejecting broad seasonal ranges. The products evolve in projects from international teams (United) in an open way with direct recognition (Nude).
The company has several fabulous styles of shoes now and continues to grow in both styles and staff. It was originally co-founded by Rem D. Koolhaas (Rem D. Koolhaas is the nephew of better known architect Rem Koolhaas and distinguishes himself from his uncle with the middle initial) and English shoemaker Galahad JD Clark, who is a seventh generation shoe maker from the Clarks family in Somerset. Galahad took over the running of Terra Plana, an eco friendly shoe company, in 2003.
The concept of the company was and still is to meld architectural design and unusual materials with product design, creating unusual but functional shoes. United Nude is part of a creative collective, functioning as a hub of interaction between architects, fashion designers, magazine editors and photographers.
above: the Barcelona chair as the inspiration for the Mobius shoe
Each single pair of shoes is a reinterpretation of an architectural object or represents an exploration of different materials and colours: the first shoe created by United Nude was called “Möbius” and it was inspired by the Barcelona chair created by Bauhaus director Mies Van Der Rohe for the International Exposition in 1929. The uniqueness of this special sandal stood in the fact that it was characterized by a single strip that formed the sole, heel, foot-bed and upper of the shoe.
In the Ultra mobius, a single piece unites the sole, heel, footbed and upper, a revolutionary achievment in shoe construction and design.
The Mobius is also available in hi and mid heel heights as well as in other color leathers, below are a few examples.
Ray and Charles Eames’ famous aluminum office chairs inspired the “Eamz” series, featuring pumps and sandals, even a tech sandal, that integrate the chair foot into the heel of the shoe, a feature that seems to suspend it in mid-air.
The “Stealth” is a dynamic platform shoe inspired by the straight lines and styling of the Stealth F117 Nighthawk fighter plane. It’s available as a peep toe pump and as a sandal as well.
The Porn Toe and Porn Toe Buckle styles are made from molding the strongest plastics in the world so the floating foot bed can function and support all while appearing to defy gravity.
above: Porn toe in mirrored silver patent leather
Molded from very lightweight EVA material, this shoe claims to be the world’s lightest weight wedge and comes in tons of fun colors.
Mono also comes in a flat ballet slipper like version.
the Ultra Cosmo uses hand molded carbon fiber for the light weight construction, creating a high-technology piece of art with sex appeal.
The Cosmo Ultra has a heel height of 11 centimeters, and is limited to production of only a few hundred pairs.
Also new for Spring Summer 2009 are the No.2 and the Six strap styles.
The No.2 is made of a tech nylon heel and available in four bright patent leather colors or two striped elastic versions.
The Six Strap comes in four different elasticized variations, one in solid black and three striped variations.
Be sure to see their other styles and other color variations at United Nude.
• If shoes made with unusual and or eco-friendly materials interest you, be sure to check out Melissa Shoes of Brazil here.
Don’t miss this more recent post on United Nude’s Spring and Summer releases: