Floors I Like: Katharina Grosse Studio, Berlin

by Felix Burrichter

It's an accepted fact that floors get trampled on. That is, after all, what they're generally designed for. But it doesn't mean they should be disregarded. In fact, wherever I am—in a restaurant, a subway station, a friend's house, or even a public restroom—I always make a point of looking at the floors: the way they’re designed, what they’re made of, whether they're covered, hidden, or littered. What I’ve come to learn is that usually the essence of a space—and frequently its beauty too—disseminates from the ground up.

I was reminded of this on a recent visit to the artist Katharina Grosse's studio in the Wedding district of Berlin. Designed in 2007 by Berlin architects Augustin und Frank, it takes the form of a beautifully articulated concrete box whose several levels contain living, office, and archive space. What left the most lasting impression, however, was the floor in the double-height first-floor atelier, where Grosse produces her large-scale multicolor canvases. Completely splattered, spritzed, and sprinkled in a palette of kaleidoscopic hues, with leftover canvas scraps scattered everywhere, it provided the perfect link between the austere efficiency of the concrete architecture and the vibrancy of Grosse's oeuvre—like a giant, horizontal, walkable work of art.

Felix Burrichter is the founder and editor in chief of PIN-UP magazine.