April 30 2013
Ben Koller is a on a mission to save the city's most famous -- floor.
If you've lived in Milwaukee a while, you have seen that iconic MECCA court -- huge 'Ms' for Milwaukee, outlined in geometric sections and painted in bold primary colors. World famous pop artist Robert Indiana hand-painted the floor in 1977, and it was the home court of the Milwaukee Bucks and the Marquette Golden Eagles until 1988.
When both teams moved to the Bradley Center that year, the floor stayed behind.
Then, more than 20 years later, it showed up for sale on a website similar to Craigslist. Foreign investors had planned to sell it in pieces and triple their money along the way, Ben said.
That's when Ben's dad, Greg Koller, stepped in. He used his own money to purchase the floor, keeping all 240 pieces of its original form intact. And even though he didn't have plan in mind, he knew that he couldn't let the floor leave Milwaukee, Ben said.
But in 2011, the unexpected happened. Greg Koller, who had been struggling to keep the family business afloat, died suddenly from a heart attack. And he left the MECCA project in his son's hands.
That's when Ben turned to Flux Design in Riverwest. Together they developed a plan -- transform a famous, historic floor into a sculpture.
Where may you see it? Click the podcast player to hear a one-on-one interview with Ben.
To join the official Our MECCA email list, visit Ben's website.