This brings me to the Kentile Floors sign in Brooklyn. An imposing eight-story tall sign built around the 1950s for a long defunct flooring company. After close to seventy years of towering above Brooklyn, it has been covered in scaffolding and is being prepped for deconstruction. Kentile Floors, founded in 1898 sold kitchen tiles. By 1949 their products, mostly sold to suburban households after the war were riddled by asbestos and the eventual lawsuits ended the company. Sounds wonderful right? Not so much. Totally worth saving? Yes, yes it is.
This iconic sign sits upon a collection of unassuming one-story industrial buildings in Gowanus. The sign hasn't been an advertisement for nearly 20 years. It's become the iconic marker of Brooklyn's industrial past. An area of Brooklyn once ripe with industry and manufacturing, now on the cusp of gentrifying. Not only is this sign is a link to the past, but an enhancement to the urban fabric today and long into the future.
I first came to appreciate the Kentile Floors sign through my friend, Able Parris. He initiated, and has been joined by many others, myself included, in the #dailykentile project. Photographing the sign on a daily basis, as an art project. There are thousands of interesting and unique photos on Instagram tagged with #dailykentile.
About six weeks ago, for the first time in a long time, the Kentile Floors sign was relit as an artist installation. Our merry crew of friends gathered, people threw parties, the entire F train platform was filled with photographers. Hundreds of people waiting around, in the rain, for hours, just to see a sign light up. Amazing!
The Kentile Floors is everything that Trump Tower sign wishes it was, and will never be. It is a unique landmark for Brooklyn, for Gowanus, and deserves to saved. I implore you to sign the petition to #saveKentile.