Tiny 3D Tile Topography: Colorful Foam Landscape Carpet

Hanging map textiles and geographic rugs can add rich decorative touches to a space, but the form and materiality rarely reflect the topography they represent. This project makes 2D representations into 3D realities in a brilliantly tactile fashion.

It started with a plan by Laurens van Wieringen: each square on a large grid assigned a specific color and height. Next come boxes and boxes of soft packing-peanut-style foam cut to various lengths and curved along the top edge.

Once colored, these provide the building blocks for the final work of hand-crafted carpeting … soft but variegated under one’s feet. The slopes are gradual and material sufficiently soft to make the experience fun but essentially child-safe too.

Their workshop reminds me somewhat of walking through the half-finished work of Maya Lin for an wooden landscape art installation in Seattle – since my team was assisting in the setup, we got to view the process behind the build. Similarly, stacks of wood were piled and waiting to be placed in specific positions to reflect various heights in a form of three-dimensional pixelation.

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