WAY floor coverings
WAY floor coverings
WAY floor coverings
WAY floor coverings
WAY floor coverings

WAY floor coverings

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, San Francisco, California, 2004

Description

Milliken had recently developed a new computer-controlled high-definition dye process. They charged SOM with the task of creating a carpet line unlike anything the company had ever produced, and showcasing the capabilities of the new technology in the process. SOM, the first company to work with the new technology, found that the printing allowed for a more precise level of detail and clarity. The process injects dye directly onto the face of a blank canvas of carpet, rather than coloring the raw fiber or coloring only the fibers’ tips. The new technology creates fine gradations of colors, as well as layered visual texture, depth and dimension.

Individuals from various disciplines within SOM were pulled together—from architects, interior designers and graphic designers to industrial designers—to work on the project. The design team began to examine the possibility of creating one product that could address a number of scales, as well as bring to life the team’s goal of generating 3-D patterns on what is essentially a two-dimensional surface.

The SOM team bypassed the traditional realm of carpet inspiration—fashion and art—and looked instead to more architectural sources, such as urban skylines, aerial views of bridges, airports, cities, and geological formations and terrain. Scalability was important in the designs: each pattern comes in tiles of increasing complexity and scale. And by altering the distribution of color in the patterns as well as its clarity and shading, color becomes a tool in itself. Each of the collection’s three design families contains three design variations that can be rotated in four directions. As a result, a grid of 36-inch-square tiles produces an infinite number of layout options.

Collections: AIGA 365: 26 (2005)
Discipline: Environmental graphic design
Format: Artifact
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