Portlanders are not letting their distinctive late-1980s airport carpet go gently into that good night. Ever since it was announced that thirteen acres of the beloved teal wall-to-wall carpet of the Portland International Airport would be torn up and replaced, denizens of the city have been honoring the postmodern rug designed by Jon Schleuning with even more fervor than usual. There are now 42,000 Instagrams tagged with #pdxcarpet and counting. On Friday, a rolled-up version of the rug, with googly eyes and a baseball cap, was named the "grand marshal" of a parade in Portland.
That same day, many Portlanders saw fliers for an unrelated PDX Carpet Fest. Local tattoo parlors have been doing brisk business, inking nostalgic Portlanders with the idiosyncratic geometric patterns of their favorite mascot. There are also poems, socks, shirts, and even Koozees dedicated to the carpet. Needless to say, the new design, by Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects, lacks the hard-to-define magic of the original.
"Someone in my feed uploaded a photo on the new carpet last night. They were flipping it off," says resident Chelsea Bauch, who thinks the fast-encroaching new carpet looks like something found in a Las Vegas casino. "Like everything in Portland, the cult of the PDX carpet is a healthy balance of sincerity and subtle irony. But the distinguishing factor is that everyone commits to this collective love of the carpet."
Below are many, many Instagram homages to the famous PDX carpet:
· Portland Mourns the Loss of Venerable Late-'80s Airport Carpet [Curbed National]
· PDX Carpet [99% Invisible]