17 Sep Floors as Public Art
Floors as Public Art
As the professional team at Kuhn Flooring Gallery can tell you, a new floor in your home or office can truly be a work of art. On a larger scale, flooring is the medium used to create many site-specific public art projects around the country.
According to the National Terrazzo and Mosaic Association, “Terrazzo as a medium for art in public places turns a floor into ‘a destination, where people go just to see it and walk on it,’ said artist Joan Henrik.” The designer and hands on construction team member for Winds & Currents, one of two award-winning terrazzo floors in the Duluth, MN, Entertainment Convention Center, Henrik said, “A floor can become a focal point in the building, like a sculpture you can walk on. Terrazzo as an art form is like a different kind of paintbrush.”
Artist Linda Beaumont has been working with terrazzo on public art projects for over 10 years.
“Terrazzo is a fantastic medium for the built environment, and such a great match for artists working in civic spaces.” Beaumont, of Seattle, explained. “I turn the public space into my studio.”
For artist Teresa Cox, who was working on her fifth terrazzo floor and designer of Glacial Twist, another award-winning terrazzo floor in the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, creating a memorable space is always the goal in designing public places.
“Public art is a chance to recognize the value and power of spaces,” she explained. Even in large spaces, the partnership of terrazzo and public art can create “an intimate, meaningful, beautiful and profound experience,” she said.
Bringing together terrazzo with public art gives the artist the capacity to create spaces distinctive from “anytown USA,” she said, colored by local character and highly accessible to the public.
“Terrazzo as a medium is compelling as it allows for the creation of strong and custom design in a rich, permanent material,” said Cox. “This complexity and layering of material with the image content appears limitless.”
The muted tones and staid reliability of the 100-year-old terrazzo floors still on the job in courthouses around the country have evolved into a medium of translucency and shadows, depth and dimension in the artist’s hands.
Wending rivers appearing to cascade down stairs in the Winds & Currents design, for example, take texture and shading from hand-cast glass chips in blues, greens and purples.
Greater creativity in the civic environment through today’s terrazzo is one result of what Beaumont calls the “epoxy revolution.” With the same solidity and minimal maintenance of the traditional, more labor-intensive, cement-based terrazzo, epoxy terrazzo has come into its own over the past 15 years. With it have come new generations of varied and vibrant colors and greater design flexibility.
Today’s terrazzo still lasts the lifetime of the building and beyond, yet is now more affordable than its reputation of the past.
“Terrazzo is a thing of beauty and it lasts forever,” said Beaumont. “It has worth, something you can’t get with carpet.”
Of course, many other flooring materials also enable you to make an artistic statement. The professional team at the Boca Raton flooring company Kuhn Flooring will help you realize your vision with their full service flooring options and business flooring solutions. If you can dream it, Kuhn Flooring Gallery can make it come true.