January 20, 2020
Parisian Floors - Sebastian Erras
Discovering the beauty of being grounded
sebastian (Photo 0)
Piano in Paris – reminiscing of the pianist Michel Petrucciani

While most of us are particularly impressed with what is in front of us, focused on aiming high and permanently having our “head in the clouds”, waiting for the next opportunity to take off, Sebastian Erras takes a perspective that is actually very natural, yet does not get that much attention these days.
In his photo project “Parisian floors”, he documents beautiful floors all around the world from a “looking down” perspective and inspires us to perceive/explore our surrounding the other way round. Sebastian started the series during trips to Paris and Morocco, where he particularly admired how detailed and dedicated some floors were designed. More than 160.000 people are following his steps on Social Media. We talked to Sebastian about the beauty of being grounded, the fascination of floors and his recent “groundmaking” discoveries in Cuba.

sebastian (Photo 1)

You make a living as an interior photographer. Taking pictures of houses and homes is a big part of your work. At the same time you are traveling a lot. What does „home“ mean to you?

That has become a tough question to answer lately. I consider myself a “full European”. I am constantly moving between Germany - my primary home -, Belgium, France and the rest of Europe. I am holding two citizenships - German & Belgian - with family living in both countries. So that makes traveling a little easier, but I think I haven’t spent a full month in either of these locations lately. Sounds stressful, but in fact I really love it. Having the flexibility and possibility to go to all these different countries and cities and explore them, is something I love and appreciate a lot.

When choosing their travel destinations, most people focus on activities, landscapes or culture. How do you choose your destinations? Do “promising floors” play a role in the planning process?

Thinking of my last two bigger travels, “floors" were the main reason to go. In last year’s November, we went to Cuba for two weeks in order to discover all these colorful and old tile floors that can be found there. I didn’t know for sure what to expect but it turned out to be “floor paradise”. Coming from Paris, a city that is already full of interesting floors, what we discovered all across Cuba brings this to an entirely new level. Cuba is famous for a lot of things but not many people know that nearly every cuban home is filled with beautiful and old tiles. I always try to discover the unexpected during my travels and most of the time I prefer to stay away from the touristic hotspots. My constant search for floors gave me access to many cuban homes and I got to meet a lot of locals. It’s always interesting to see how they live and listen to their stories.
I got to see Cuba from a different side most tourists don’t get to see. Being able to share this experience and draw people’s attention to something else, motivates me to continue look for new interesting things.

Would you describe yourself as a “grounded” person?

Yes, you could say (and see) that I have both feet on the ground 😃

As you are looking down most of the time - is there someone/something that you “look up to”? What else do you draw inspiration from?

I draw a lot of inspiration from my surrounding. I am big fan of modern art. I’ll try to keep a curious mind and be open to explore new things.

How many different pairs of shoes do you carry around to always have the matching pair for the floor you find?

When I specifically go out for a day to “hunt" floors, I try to have at least 2-3 different pairs of shoes with me, so I can easily match them with the floors. For bigger projects where I travel very far to shoot floors, i’ll take up to 6-8 different pairs with me. In case the ones I have with me don’t perfectly match, I’ll always note the location and try to come back with the right pair then.

Where did you find the most unexpected floor? Would you mind showing us a picture of it?

Floors in toilets are always unexpected and tough to spot. I knew of a beautiful mosaic floor in Paris someone told me to go see and that would be in this bistro in Paris. So I went to the bistro “Les Philosophes” in the Marais and wanted to check it out. Upon arrival I couldn’t immediately find it. The bistro only has hardwood floors and I was a bit confused. So I showed one of the waiters an image of the floor and asked him if it would be here and he was like “no I have never seen this here”. It was very strange. Another day I went there for a drink and had to go to the bathroom, which is in the basement. Guess what I found there? A beautiful circular mosaic floor.

sebastian (Photo 2)

What question should we have asked you? What’s next?

I am currently trying to find new and unexpected locations with floors. I have a few hints but I am still in the organization process.
Excited to explore Parisian Floors as well? Add Sebastian’s favorites to your next Paris travel plan!

All images by Sebastian Erras