Imagine if you could carpet your office based on the soundtrack of the activities the space supports: jazz in the break room, classical in the executive lounge, silence amid the accountants. We're not just talking spiky textures or muted colors here. What might a pattern based on electronic music, for example, really look like? And would you want it in the reception area?
Bracher, former head of Tom Dixon's London studio, was a flooring outsider when Shaw reached out to him. Bracher has created chairs for Humanscale, kitchen tools for Eva Denmark, and chandeliers for Swarovski, but not so much as a bath mat for the floor. That made him perfect, according to Reesie Duncan, Shaw's creative director, since he could approach the invitation to design a line of carpeting without the baggage of mental constraints (Can this design actually be manufactured? How will it fit into the product line? Will the distributors in Detroit buy in?) that someone who has toiled in the industry might bring to a project.
But carpeting based on musical algorithms? That was a first.
Bracher's goal was to create a design that had universal appeal — in this case the visual expression of sound, design, and science. So he called in two digital gurus, Rui Pereira from Portugal and Lucas Werthein from Brazil, both grads of NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program, to develop a software program that would produce a graphic based on imported music tracks. "The software works as a physical environment; it has gravity, speed, time and form," says Bracher.
The software produced some dazzling patterns, but eventually, even unbridled creativity has to submit to the demands of a tufting machine, and the pros at Shaw stepped in to make sure the patterns were actually manufacturable.
The collection that survived the edit process includes four musical genres: classical, ambient, jazz, and electronic, and a solid pattern called "Silence" that can be used to break up the visual music of the collection.