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.