Noun, something we know quite well, it includes all forms of competitive physical activity or games which, through casual or organized participation, participants use, maintain or improve physical ability and skills while providing enjoyment to participants, and can bring positive results to one's physical health. Thanks for that Wikipedia.
Industrial aesthetics applied to the search for new forms adapted to a function. Quite simply, design refers to what is practical and attractive.
Even though we’re French, and we’re pretty damn proud of our language, we decided to settle on the English word “Mate” for a couple of reasons. Firstly you guys love our accent when we speak English, so it gives us a chance to show off a little.. after that, well, we have to admit it does come across a little bit cooler than the equivalent French word, ‘ami’. But even more importantly, for us the word “Mate” evokes images of friends sharing sporting moments together. And that’s what we’re all about.
So we’d define a “Mate” as a sort of buddy, the kind of person you’re happy to share changing-room banter with before a game and share a red-card with on the field. They’re the kind of friend who pushes all of us to do our best, each and every time. They’re the kind of guy or girl who has blisters on the soles of their feet, but who’s always willing to go one step further.
“Mates” are people who seek the perfect balance between their skinny flat-white latte and their trusty yoga mat. They’re the kind of people who reimagine the city as their own personal playground, creating their own skatepark or zig-zagging their way through morning traffic. At their most basic “Mates” are the people we train with, the people we play with and the people we workout with, but ultimately they’re much more than that..
They’re people who do sports for the same reasons we do.
To be a “Mate”, or not to be, that is the question.
As part of its partnership with Lille, World Capital of Design, Decathlon invites you to discover what is happening behind the scenes.
It’s time for you to meet 6 of our “Mates”. Scroll down to find out more.
Now that you know what being a “Mate” means to us, it’s time for you to get to know our “Mates” a little bit better. They’re each going to guide you through the various design stages during which we come up with our renowned sporting experiences.
Enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of our design process including our use of user-observation, up-cycling and co-creation !
Have fun, oh.. and don't forget to switch off the lights when you’re done !
For quite some time now we’ve been bringing together sports enthusiasts and product designers. Our story started way back in 1976 when the first Decathlon store was opened in Englos, a small town just outside of Lille in the North of France, and within 20 years, our first sports brands began making an appearance. Among them were Tribord (our pioneering boat shoes) and Quechua (a brand that since the introduction of our revolutionary 2-second tent in 2005 no longer needs any introduction).
We strive to keep design at the heart of the user experience, and this is what pushes us to innovate as much as possible every single day. For us a product shouldn’t just look good, it needs to be fit for its purpose, and raise a few eyebrows. After all, who doesn’t remember the sense of pride they had when they took off their training-wheels for the first time.
Putting yourself in the shoes of a child who is no longer afraid to fall and graze their knee on the tarmac, cycling as fast as they can across the driveway, that is the key. Design is, above all, a story of empathy
To renew our commitment to our athletes, Decathlon has created its own signature :
This signature is our promise that the products we offer are sporty, essential, responsible, and a partner that will support you along the way.
So yeah, that was a bit of blah-blah-blah... but have you tried our Easy Breath yet ?
Give it a shot and everything will become much clearer !
At Decathlon, more than 300 designers work day in, day out to design our products. Among this motley crew of individuals there is a small handful designers whose purpose is to explore the evolution of sport and the role it will play in our lives in the future. We call this team Advanced Design.
These guys, our Fantastic 4, are tasked with exploring previously unchartered territories. And during their voyages they’ve come across some curious communities of athletes who we’ve come to refer to as the “Mates”.
As you’ve seen above, for us a “Mate” is the embodiment of motivation. It’s the answer to the question, why is sport important to us ? Oh, and while we’re on the subject.. Why is sport important to you? For some of us it’s a way of staying fit, for others it’s all about pushing their limits, and for others it’s about being the best. This is where the greatness of the idea of the “Mates” comes from.
All these ideas therefore lead us to a question : How can we answer the needs of these sports communities? How can our products embody our interpretation of the word “Mates”?
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
To pay tribute to Lao Tzu, but also because we have to start somewhere, we have chosen sports with which to illustrate our first encounters with the “Mates”. The point is that what is valid for one “Mate”, is valid for all the “Mates” in the same community. It’s not the sport that counts, but the “Mates” that support you along the way.
You’re about to witness the fruit of our labour through illustrations which will present our vision for the experiences of tomorrow.
However, don't get me wrong, while they may be brilliant in their own ways, the members of Advanced Design couldn’t possibly produce everything you’re about to see here on their own. Advanced Design is a philosophy and a collaboration. From collective workshops to silly jokes, no less than 150 designers, engineers and product managers took part in what you are about to discover today.
In a way, it’s a love declaration from us to you.
Don’t waste your time doing useless Facebook surveys to find out what your favourite flower says about your personality, discover your “Mate” right here.
Thanks to your answers, we will be able to draw up a map of the “Mates” ! Ready ? Set ? Go !
Don’t forget that everything begins on the wall beside the design table in an ocean of Post-its.
When the juices start flowing in our brains . With some annotations to make it a bit more stylish !
Sorry to disappoint you, but, you’re not going to be able to buy this bike one day. Yes, it looks absolutely incredible, but its sole purpose is to serve as a concept to guide us in terms of product development and artistic direction.
Telling the sports-stories of the “Mates” we’ve encountered, an essential part of understanding their wants and their needs.
Beyond the preconceived ideas a product is above all the multiplication of manual know-how, from a simple sketch on a notepad to a working prototype..
Thinking globally about the history of a product, this is one of the biggest challenges of design today. How can I recycle or up-cycle my stand-up paddle ?