Co.Design

A Musical Floor That Cures The Boredom Of Walking In Airports

Jeriël Bobbe cures the boredom of monotonous walkways.

Walking through the endless airports halls to your departure gate can bring on terminal ennui. Shouldn’t there be something more fun to do along the way besides shopping the duty-free? Design to the rescue! Jeriël Bobbe, a recent Eindhoven grad, has devised a musical floor that you play by dragging your suitcase across it.

Bobbe was inspired by something he noticed during his weekly train trips from Eindhoven to Amsterdam. "Whether they are stone slabs, tactile paving for the blind, or a grid for wheelchairs, there is music in everything," the Dutch designer writes. So he decided to formalize the music-making, by creating pieces of ribbed wood that can be arranged like musical notes. The distance between the grooves corresponds to pitch, while the depth of the ruts determines volume.

Before debuting the Me-lo-dy at Dutch Design Week last October, Bobbe experimented with various patterns—engineering the pieces so that one suitcase wheel generated the tune, the other wheel the rhythm—as well as different materials. "I made an aluminum stone that sounds more like hard-rock music," he tells Co.Design. In the end, he opted for the warm tones of American walnut and for modular pavers that can be arranged any which way: "If you want, you can play the American anthem with your trolley suitcase when you are landed on J.F.K."

There are no immediate plans to install the Me-lo-dy in an airport, although Bobbe says that Amsterdam’s Schiphol has expressed interest, and the designer has fielded many calls of interest from companies wishing to produce the design for commercial purposes. "These tiles add some life to the cold, sterile spaces at airports," Bobbe writes. "Me-lo-dy is a serious competitor for the moving walkways: Will the travelers choose the easy way, or the melodious way?"

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