The future of sport through design

Until 11 August, the Musée du Luxembourg in Paris hosts the exhibition “MATCH: Design & Sport” curated by Konstantin Grcic

MATCH. Design & Sport

I began working on MATCH. Design & Sport – Une histoire tournée vers le futur (una storia che guarda al futuro) by looking at sporting equipment, but I realized very quickly that I wanted the show to be about more than beautiful gear” says Konstantin Grcic, curator of the exhibition at Musée du Luxembourg in Paris (until 11 August), for which he has also designed the displays. “There is so much happening on the fringes of what is typically associated with “sport,” and these different ideas excited me. So, the beautiful equipment is still in the show, but it expands much further beyond that too.”

Original Olympic sketch by Pierre Coubertin, 1913

Organized for the occasion of the summer Olympics and Paralympics of 2024 in Paris, the show contains about 150 objects including unique historic pieces and emblematic icons, commercial products, prototypes, models, items created by commission, drawings, engravings, projections, films and interactive applications. But this is not a mere historical exegesis; the exhibition offers reflections on the future of sport through the essential role played by design.

Speedo “LZR Racer” worn by Michael Phelps © Speedo

In tune with the prediction of experts stating that in the next decades the ways to improve athletic performance will depend less on material innovations and more on data analysis, Grcic says: “When it comes to materials and gear, some of it only exists because of technology. Digital manufacturing technologies have influenced the shape, look, and performance of gear as well as how data has become a powerful tool. Data might not be a shiny new tangible material, but it plays an integral role in shaping the design and development of sport. In other words, the future potentials for sport lie in data, not material innovation. 

Jogbra, design by Lisa Lindahl, Polly Smith, Hinda Miller, 1977

In this way, design and sport influence each other: athletes want equipment that does not just have an aesthetic value, but also reflects their personal identity, giving them a sensation of greater faith in themselves, which is perhaps even more important.

Starting with these considerations, the exhibition presents a subjective selection of projects on which to reflect, with which to generate new ideas around the multiple connections between sport and design. It examines mutable variables in the past, present and future, with a single constant: people are always at the center of the experience, so much so that even the relationship with spectators is carefully designed, from the positioning of the camera and the shots made by drones to the platforms of online streaming that recreate the atmosphere of a stadium. To complete the show, a phrase from the Olympic Charter: “The practice of sport is a human right.”

“Selle Faubourg” by Hermès, show-jumping saddle, 2024