The architects of the early 20th century decorated floors using inlaid linoleum and linoleum inlays, and made them just as valuable and good-looking as the silk wallpapers, the velvet curtains in front of the windows, and the rustling satin of the skirts worn by the lady of the house. The desire for Wilhelmian décor spilled over onto the floor.
“Child of the times” – the café at the Dusseldorf Raumkunstausstellung in 1928.
But the Moderns, very averse to the ornateness of the past, used inlays too. This explains the surprising synchronicity of the images shown above: the boudoir in Brugg, Switzerland, dates back to 1926, the café at the Dusseldorf Raumkunstausstellung was built in 1928.
In contrast to the complex inlaid technology that belongs to an earlier period, linoleum inlays have lived through every change of style. The 1950s, craving decoration yet short of funds, used a great deal of Linoleum inlays, drawing streaks into the floor, inserting islands, fabricating wall paintings. Of course, the 1956 entrance to the former Ludwigsburg Neckarwerke no longer exists. Back then, the colored floor inlays matched the two-color neon lights in the ceiling.
“Rhythm of colors in space“ – boudoir with mosaic flooring. Architect: Hans Busse, Brugg, Switzerland, 1926.
When conservation specialists want to reproduce an early inlaid pattern, they must use the linoleum inlay method, as was done during the reconstruction of the Bremen city hall floor designed by Behrens. Linoleum inlays make use of the specific properties of the material, which is easy to cut and can be put together again seamlessly. Using state-of-the-art cutting technology, such as CAD ultrasound cutting systems, lines and patterns can be sharply delineated. Cutting edges are concealed by weld rods; smaller joints (for complex patterns) are smoothed with a layer of ground material and polished.
“Pointing the way to the staircase” – mosaic made of floor tiles, Neckarwerke Ludwigsburg, 1956.
Some time ago, there was an exhibition in which Russian constructivist paintings, recreated in linoleum, were hung on the walls. In a way, this was a misconception, but one that moves the thinking on. Why not use a Theo van Doesburg or Piet Mondrian painting as a floor covering? If you want an original design by Marcel Breuer from his time at the Weimar Bauhaus to be reproduced for your own floor, it can only be done in linoleum. Is there any other material which generates paintings on a floor that can be altered in case of doubt?
Origin: Bauwelt 34/07