How do you push the boundaries on a gallery space? For artist Michael Reeder, creating a fully immersive 360 experience with carpet tile was just the answer. In collaboration with Milliken's national designers, their Los Angeles-based sales team, and our team of project managers and installation mechanics, Milliken's DDI process was engaged to create a custom, patterned carpet tile that would extend the canvas beyond the showpiece to the floors and walls that surround it. To do so, the custom carpet tile needed to be as bold and as the artwork itself, and the installation had to be as precise and meticulous as the artist's showcased work.
Unique Installation Challenge Strategy
It’s rare to install carpet tile on anything other than a floor. But, when we were asked to extend an artist’s prized work beyond the canvas, onto a floor and three adjoining walls, we were embarking on a unique and challenging installation experience.
In collaboration with Milliken’s team, the artist’s custom carpet tile design was drawn in a 3D model, showcasing a possible layout of the artwork and each carpet tile. Each tile was numbered to ensure proper placement in the field.
The gallery where this installation would take place served as a swing space for many exhibiting artists. Each artist was required to leave the space as they found it, maintaining the integrity of drywall, paint, and floors over the month or so that their artwork was on display. One exhibit’s closure was quickly followed by another artist’s grand opening, and thus, this installation had to be stable enough for explorative touching (as art spectators examine the fuzzy texture on the walls and take selfies alongside of it) and resistant to heavy foot traffic and trip-and-fall hazards. These standards had to be met without the use of any adhesive, as the facility didn’t want to inherit residue or clean up post-exhibit on their floors, nor the replacement of any drywall and paint to follow.
The primary showpiece would be installed over an interior wall framed by two inside corners, but the adjoining walls extended to the exhibit's large open space, creating two challenging outside corners for our installation team to navigate. Due to the gallery’s restrictions, we couldn’t frame the carpet tile with traditional transitions or structural elements, as they could affect how the space was left after the exhibit ended. With no adhesive in play, we were forced to tack, staple, and pin each carpet tile to the wall, mindful of the design, levelness, and the artwork that would hang over it. On the floor, the carpet tile had to be loose laid, framed only by a reducer on one side, attached only with double-faced tape.
With the concept for design in place, we collaborated with multiple parties to gain access to the space. Once the prior exhibit closed its doors, we had to coordinate carpet tile delivery amidst the crowded art district’s streets, and align schedules with the artist himself, as our installation mechanics had to bring the artist’s vision to life. Our team became the paintbrushes the artist would orchestrate to expand his masterpiece beyond its original canvas.
The end result was just as the artist had envisioned it. Prior to the exhibit's opening, the artist's primary showpiece sold and the new art piece's owner had one special request, "how can I get my hands on the carpet tile that accented the work of art so well?".