One Man's Passion Project to Curate the World's Airport Carpets

Barry Caruth, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0
Barry Caruth, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0 / Barry Caruth, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Journalist George Pendle travels a lot so he sees plenty of airports. He never really noticed the carpets of these transportation hubs, however, until his flight from Newark to London was delayed. After spending hours staring at the floor, inspiration struck.

"Patterns leaped out at me, hidden messages whispered in my ear," he told CNN. "By the time I boarded my plane I was a changed man."

Pendle began collecting pictures of airport carpets in the early 2000s. He launched his website, in 2009. He describes himself as the CEO and summer intern of the website. On it, you can rotate a globe and view various carpet swatches from around the world. A detailed critique of each design is featured next to the corresponding images and ambient space music plays quietly in the background.

So far there are over 100 carpets to observe with 200 more waiting to be cataloged. "We try not to rush our aesthetic judgments at Carpets For Airports," Pendle notes. "A carpet can take us weeks, or even months, to fully appreciate."

Travelers are welcomed to submit their own pictures of airports. One of the most famous contributors is Hannibal star Hugh Dancy, who is friends with Pendle.

The journalist has an overflowing love for carpets, but it doesn't extend to other types of flooring. When asked about wood or tiled floors, Pendle replied, "Who can explain the evil that men do?"

Pendle is not the only one who has an affinity for airport carpets. The teal carpeting that once graced the floors of Portland International Airport was so beloved that it inspired socks, tattoos, and beer. Unfortunately, that famous carpet was removed earlier this year.

"This was a national, no, international tragedy. The old carpet was a masterpiece, a nod to both Russian neo-Suprematist artist Kazimir Malevich, and the 1970s arcade game Pong," Pendle said.

Luckily, there are still plenty of unusual carpets left in the world. Using, fans of creative flooring can find new inspiration.