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Walkable, large format painting in casting resin

Bayer MaterialScience AG : 24 March, 2005  (Company News)
Thus it was only natural that she should accept the challenge of designing the more than 400 square meter floor of the entrance building amid the vibrant, blossoming splendor of the LAGA, the State Garden Show 2005 in Leverkusen. “Blossoms and trees, shrubs and expanses of green – I want to create poetry from the reality surrounding me there; develop my own view of nature; enhance its vitality.”

Vitality is something of a leitmotif. The artist, now in her mid-fifties, studied painting under Laszlo Lakner at the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen and her work made an enthusiastic supporter of Viennese performance artist Hermann Nitsch. She certainly does not embody the cliché of the withdrawn painter who sits for months in front of her easel silently pursuing her inspiration. Her works are generally large, not seldom spanning several square meters. For her, painting is an often public act of creation. As a performance artist, she loves and needs “the moment in which you create something new; the free play to music that carries you, penetrates your ears, arms and hands; the shapes that leave the body.”

And Ingrid Scheller is intrigued by experimentation, the new and the risk associated with it. “For months I had been thinking about using modern materials not available in art supply stores and working on new substrates.” Thus the request from Bayer, a LAGA sponsor, to design the expansive LAGA entrance using the novel Artwalk® liquid casting resin system fell on fertile ground.

“The Artwalk® technology opens up nearly unlimited design freedom and individuality,” said Werner Ebert, responsible for floor coatings at Bayer MaterialScience. In a first step, qualified applicators from the Dutch specialist Bolidt applied the basic design by Cologne designer Jürgen Prill to the floor by pouring the Artwalk® casting resin in situ in the desired colors, patterns and motifs. To avoid smearing the design, they wore spiked shoes when moving across the liquid coating before it set. Prill’s works reflect the topography of the LAGA grounds. The remainder of the artistic design was left to Ingrid Scheller. A transparent PUR sealer was applied to the floor to protect the artwork against the effects of the many thousands of visitors to the State Garden Show and to make it walkable. The monolithic floor contains no joints or seams.

And Artwalk® defies the conventional wisdom that beauty is fleeting; polyurethane casting resin coatings are extremely durable in high-load applications. “They have proven their durability over more than 30 years of use in industrial plants, on parking decks and in gymnasiums,” said Ebert. Lightfast Artwalk® floor coatings do not fade or yellow, are abrasion resistant and also resistant to cleaning agents and other chemicals. Burn marks or heavy scratching as a result of vandalism can be easily repaired by grinding down the surface and applying a fresh coat of transparent polyurethane.

According to Ebert, it is this combination of artistic design and high functionality that makes Artwalk® the perfect floor coating for hotels, shopping centers, fitness studios, stadiums, concert and sports arenas or corporate reception areas. Up to 800 square meters of art can be applied in three days and, depending on the ambient temperature and humidity, the floors can be walked on after only 24 hours. The latter is certainly not the least of the reasons why this novel technology was awarded one of this year’s “Innovation in Architecture and Flooring” prizes awarded by the trade journal AIT.

The dedicated artist doesn’t think about prizes and awards, though. “It would make me much happier if the artwork inspires the many thousands of LAGA visitors walking and strolling across it to open their souls and their senses to the infinite beauty of creation.”
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