COMMERCIAL FLOORING | United Arab Emirates

Art on the Floor

Armstrong manufactures a piece of "floor art" by Juan Muñoz

When linoleum was invented 125 years ago, its most highly valued qualities were its robustness and its durability as a floor covering material. Right from the start, however, interior designers realised its decorative potential, too, and world-famous architects such as Peter Behrens, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius used linoleum in their buildings. Due to its versatility and elasticity, linoleum also found favour with a wide range of artists who used it for linocuts and artistic prints.

Some of the most brilliant works of the Spanish artist Juan Muñoz - inhabiting the space where the Fine Arts, architecture and ethnology meet - have demonstrated that great art does not necessarily require a wall to be properly presented: a floor will do just as well. His so-called "floor pieces" explore the relationship between figure and space. For these works, Muñoz arranged dwarves and ventriloquists' dummies on ornate floors.

To honour the artist (who died in 2001), the Tate Modern in London is going to host a special show next year which will also feature an inlaid piece which uses sophisticated 3D effects. For this work of art, Armstrong manufactured the original floor on a 9 x 10 metres' surface, applying computer-aided manufacturing and ultrasound cutting equipment. Black, brown and yellow units of Uni Walton DLW linoleum are arranged in such a way that the floor effectively looks like a large three-dimensional space - allowing Armstrong to demonstrate once more the versatility of DLW linoleum and to illustrate the wide range of individual design opportunities it provides for today's generation of architects, artists and designers.

Juan Muñoz
The Wasteland, 1987
Collection of Elayne and Marvin Mordes, USA © The Estate of Juan Muñoz
Photocredit: Tate Photography