Using freshly gleaned wayfinding-literacy from producer Sam Greenspan’s episode #126, Walk This Way, I bring you the chevron floor at O’Hare International Airport.
No matter which level I enter (or exit) the airport the alternating gray and white chevron pattern pushes pedestrian traffic towards escalators and elevators, baggage claim and ticketing counters. As soon I stand perpendicular to the gray and white zig-zag, the pattern almost disappears. At this point, the bold flooring has done its job. Now I move my attention away from the floor toward signage and congregating people indicating where I should queue next, be it security screening, a taxi stand, or a train home.
I’m very attracted to the function and appearance of this floor. While the pattern is new to O’Hare (completed in 2012 by the international architecture firm Jahn, formerly Murphy/Jahn, as part of a facade and circulation enhancement project) the chevron is one of the oldest and most widely used patterns. Along with its sister herringbone, chevron is a classic, timeless pattern representing stability, strength and service. It is found all over the place, from Versailles to your favorite suit to military badges to a simple braid in basket or hair. It’s a pattern written in history and in a floor that’s easy to follow.
Kate Joyce is a Chicago based artist, architectural photographer, and the first image correspondent for 99% Invisible. Every two weeks, Joyce will release new and original work for specific episodes. She’ll also comb through her archive to find previously made photographs that are already in thematic conversation with current and past episodes. “I’m curious to see how audio will shape image and image will shape audio and what that will mean to telling stories about design over time,” Joyce says.
Now You See It is a photography project of 99% Invisible. We’d like to create a public dialogue by offering our listeners a new way to interact with our show, as well as their own immediate environment. The project includes the Image Correspondent Residency with Kate Joyce, and ongoing photo assignments for listeners.
We want to see what you hear! Submit your images to our Flickr Group, or email them to [email protected] or put them on Instagram with the hashtag #99PI. We’ll be curating and presenting our favorites on our Instagram and Tumblr.