Safe Balling with Jordan & Satou Sabally
Creating an inclusive, non-discriminatory space for women* basketballers and putting together the Take Flight Festival – a celebration of diversity and sport at Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport.
For years the outside courts in Berlin’s iconic Tempelhofer Feld had been neglected and allowed to fall into disrepair. Teaming up with Jordan, Sunst designed and implemented the Takeflight Festival and completely overhauled the downtrodden courts. As design lead, Sunst oversaw all aspects of the multi-dimensional project, ensuring that the project stayed true to its aims to connect grassroots female basketball players and provide a permanent, welcoming and non-discriminatory basketball court for girls, women, lesbian, trans, inter and non-binary people to play sport.
The project was inspired and dedicated to the WNBA star and Berlin-bred athlete, Satou Sabally. As the highest WNBA draft pick to ever come out of Germany, the Dallas Wings and Fenerbahçe forward, is a powerful role model for aspiring athletes both on and off the court. The Gambian-German athlete, grew up playing on nearby street courts on Eisenacher Straße in Berlin-Schöneberg, an area known for its ethnic and cultural diversity.
Using bold colours, the visual concept for the courts brought in a diverse array of background sources: Gambian-inspired textures, with enhanced serrated edging and multi-dimensional offset shapes, were contrasted with Middle Eastern patterns from the German and Turkish artist Bahar Bambi. The Berlin resident draws from her multinational roots to connect the patterns of the Middle East with the energy of Berlin street art. Her patterns were added to the basketball backboards and complemented the red and purple hue of the courts’ flooring, made from Nike Grind – a sustainable material made from recycled sneakers and materials.
Rather than making the aesthetics branded and slick, the event identity was kept inclusive and accessible – not printed but handcrafted and painted – reflecting the festival’s focus on providing a safe, colourful and family friendly sporting environment.
The festival kicked off with an onsite event showcase that included a customization, basketball art and grafitti workshop and culminated in a 3-on-3 tournament and skill challenge. Music was provided by a roster of female DJs hosted by Refuge Worldwide, the Neukolln-based grassroots non-profit turned radio station.
The project provided a longterm platform showcase to inspire Berlin women who inhabit the intersection between basketball, art and music. The Satou Sabally court is now open to ballers and provides a permanently safe space for local female Basketball talents and the BIPOC and FLINTA communities.