Domestic Grounds is an ongoing research project that seeks to disclose the potential for tactile stimulation of floor design. In the shoeless paradise of the domestic environment, alternating rugs, wood boards and tiles: softness and hardness, warmth and cold, the floor plane is already a celebration of tactility. If we strategically reconsider the way we apply material and form in the design of floors and floor coverings, we can radically increase the performance of these surfaces to include restorative properties and amplify the sensory experience of domestic circulation.
As an ideal site for a case study, we chose a corner unit in one of the high-rise towers of 860-880 Lake Shore Apartments in Chicago by Mies van der Rohe. Located at the heart of the dense urban Chicago center, and therefore surrounded by miles and miles of heavy traffic, pavement and asphalt, this site, automatically draws attention to the home floor as a secluded oasis for the feet in the midst of the city.
Ergonomic research informed the geometry. The abstract pattern, is composed of half cylinders of four different radii, corresponding to the ranging scales of the feet's sensory capability. Darker tones correspond to higher cylinders.
There are multiple therapeutic advantages to walking barefoot on uneven surfaces, such as: reduced blood pressure, stimulation of the immune and lymphatic systems and lower anxiety levels among others.
On average, most sedentary individuals take from 1000-3000 steps per day. A lot of this walking can take place in the domestic environment. The goal of Domestic Grounds is taking full advantage of our household walking routine to invigorate our damaged feet.
Mark Nordby, Mary Hohlt and David Heaton.
Tile samples at the University of Texas at Austin.