Decorex 2014, featured in Fiera magazine

Fiera magazine launches today, a magazine which has been in production since before the summer casting a critical eye over the past few months of design festivals. Issue One was successfully funded on Kickstarter and is now available to buy.

The magazine is a joint venture between confessions of a design geek’s Katie Treggiden and magCulture’s Jeremy Leslie. (Katie and Jeremy, it’s time to breath a sigh of relief).

“Every year cities all over the world showcase their best new furniture and product design at dedicated fairs, design weeks and festivals. Whether you’re a designer, a buyer, a journalist, a student, or simply a design enthusiast, you’d love to be at every fair, meeting new designers and unearthing new trends for yourself. Fiera will make you feel as if you were.”

I was asked to report on Decorex during the London Design Festival to feature within the magazine’s round-up of shows. I pulled together the full feature below…

decorex-a-rum-fellow-002

Referring to themselves as uncommon goods, A Rum Fellow showed their collection with justified pride at this year’s Decorex design show. Taking their Guatemalan-made homewares and upholstered pieces in to the Richmond tent was a wise move as these products are perfectly formed for the interiors market. Founder Caroline talked me through the concept from the individual panels, which are made and then joined to create upholstery for their furniture pieces. There are 15 intricate tapestry panels on the sofa, each panel is woven by a different artisan taking 4 weeks to produce. If you were searching for something special you need look no further than A Rum Fellow.

decorex-Adam-Nathaniel-Furman-001

I was first introduced to Adam Nathaniel Furman’s work via Dezeen, in particular his Babelle collection of minions, or as the rest of us would call them…semi-Porcelain and 3D-printed stoneware objects. Exhibited as part of the genius Future Heritage stage within the second tent, Adam’s work joins my collection of the top 10 pieces from Decorex, most of which appear to be from journalist Corinne Julius’s curation. This work might not be ‘new’ in the truest sense, but I’m reminded every time that I see them that this man has a lot to offer, and if I fast-forward in to the future, no doubt we will see a lot more of Adam’s mind pour in to the kiln or printer.

decorex-Amy-Hughes-001

Discovering Amy Jayne Hughes’s ceramic treasures, inspired by the late 17th and 18th Century Objets d’art from the Royal Sèvres Factory, was a real treat for the eye. Part of the Future Heritage exhibit, West Yorkshire-born Amy takes the concept of the formal and lavishly decorated objets, but with her edition stripped back to highlight the natural surface with each piece establishing a new dialogue between form and decoration.

decorex-Bert-Frank-001

In their second year at Decorex, Bert Frank showed pieces from their collection alongside the new bullet-like drop pendant with its barrel shape spun brass metal case directing this soft pool of light directly on to the area below. Bert Frank continue to produce great quality pieces for the domestic market but with an understated glamour, akin to the designs of the 1930s which would look great on their own or adorning the walls and ceilings of a restaurant or bar. This is one design duo to keep a close eye on.

decorex-Bethan-Laura-Wood-001

Daybed’s appear to be a popular addition to any self-respecting furniture company these days. It is impossible to swing a canvas tote bag without hitting two or three daybeds within a show such as Decorex, and I assume this is because we are all taking daytime rests to relieve the suffering of having to work. I would hazard a guess that the day bed is so popular because it allows a designer to show pattern and texture on a wide, uninterrupted surface with bolsters to add shapes, in Bethan Laura Wood’s design she has used triangular shaped bolsters, which cross the lines of the day bed. Bethan has worked with applique techniques to create an intensely patterned daybed in a rainbow of bright colours inspired by the new Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in Mexico.

decorex-Eley-Kishimoto-001

Brixton-based Eley Kishimoto are no strangers to the interiors world, but when it comes to making products for the home they have not ventured fully in to this space. Launching their first wallpaper collection at Decorex was a bold and rewarding move as the duo, better known for their fashion textiles, were received so well that they picked up the ‘Best New Exhibitor’ award for their intense display of brightly-coloured and detailed wall coverings. We’re told that this is the first collection with more to come, which may bring with it an exciting new British design-house for the interiors space.

decorex-Jennie-Moncur-001

It has been some time since we saw Jennie Moncur’s work exhibited at a show such as Decorex, so it was a delight to see some old favourites alongside new tapestries shown as part of Corinne Julius’s Future Heritage collection. Jennie’s work is a window in to a world of colour and pattern with her more recent work taking on more delicate colours and patterns compared to the darker, more obstructed views she was working with in previous years. Weaving very strong graphic shapes is a lengthy task as the composition relies upon the regimented order of the block colours of the yarn.

decorex-Joe-Bradford-001

Polyethylene, Teflon and Aluminium are not the usual materials that makers dash to when approaching a new forming process, and especially when the result is to become a vessel. “The emphasis of this exploration is on the unexpected but beautiful outcomes achieved from applying heat and pressure on the otherwise mundane plastic bag” explains Joe Bradford about his work on display at Future Heritage within Decorex. By forming the layers of the container and heating the material, fuses the layers and makes the object begin to move and shape in to the crumpled result. What we’re left with is a colourful and fascinating vase, which tells a new story about the plastic it was made from.

decorex-Michael-Eden-001

At the core of Michael Eden’s project is the ceramic container, an object primarily used since clay was first made durable for the storing, holding, and mixing of materials useful to man. “Three-dimensional printing allows the customisation of objects, and gives me the creative freedom to do things impossible with the wheel and clay” explains Michael on why the time-honoured tradition of using ceramic to make these decorative items is something he has moved on from to embrace the new technology we’re now able to use. This would explain why so many museums and galleries are taking pieces from Michael in to their permanent collections, as this is a historic moment, which may lead to seeing more of this process used or a short period by which we must remember new materials reigniting our interest in decorative accessories. Either way, I’m sure that Michael’s work will continue to innovate and excite many customers.

decorex-Neha-Lad-001

Neha Lad walked me through the intricate manner in which she has created her woven fabrics to explain how she has taken junkyard copper telephone wire to intertwine with discarded paper to create a beautifully elegant but cleverly recycled textiles which, to an extent, up-cycle old products in to a new piece fit for the homes of the rich and glamourous. Her techniques create a sumptuous material, which can be changed to patinate the material as the copper wire changes in colour.

decorex-Richard-Brendon-001

In the four short years that Richard Brendon has been operating his design studio, he has created products with Patternity and Fortnum & Mason as well as being stocked in some of the world’s best boutiques and department stores. It is no surprise to see during the London Design Festival that Richard has introduced a new collection, Speck, which highlights the imperfections within the processes of firing ceramic. The red dot would traditionally be applied to the imperfections to highlight troubled areas, and with Richard’s latest design he celebrates this imperfection and creates a completely unique piece by integrating the highlighters. Richard never fails to create a stir, and he certainly continued this at Decorex.

The Nàdurra Dram Chair by Gareth Neal

I’m lucky enough that my work gives me regular visits to some of London’s finest emporiums and on one such visit I spotted a whisky drinking chair that demanded my attention.

New & exclusive to The New Craftsmen is the ‘Dram Chair’ by Gareth Neal, inspired by The Glenlivet Nàdurra – a connoisseurial whisky crafted in small batches using traditional techniques.

Dram-Chair-Gareth-Neal-the-new-craftsmen-001

glenlivet-nadurra-dram-chair-gareth-neal-006

I do love whisky, catching the taste of it during my years bartending in five-star hotels, being shown the best way to drink it depending on whether it is single or blended. Tip: adding water to any single malt changes the composition of the spirit and unlocks more flavours and aromas. Yum.

And lest not forget how confused people are by the spelling of whisky, or whiskey, which differs geographically. As a rule, American and Irish prefer ‘whiskey’ and the Scots, Canadians and the rest of the world’s single malt makers prefer ‘whisky’. This originated during the 19th century. Around 1870, for exportation to America, the Irish distillers wanted to differentiate their product from the poorer Scotch whisky, thus they added the ‘e’ to mark the crucial distinction. It’s easy to remember… there’s no ‘e’ in Scotland.

Where was I, oh yes, this marvellous chair. Intended for relaxation and enjoying a ‘dram’ of whisky, expertly hand-crafted by Gareth Neal to imaginatively capture the spirit of Nàdurra (meaning “natural” in Gaelic) in both function and form.

Dram-Chair-Gareth-Neal-the-new-craftsmen-005

Dram-Chair-Gareth-Neal-the-new-craftsmen-0061

glenlivet-nadurra-dram-chair-gareth-neal-004

glenlivet-nadurra-dram-chair-gareth-neal-005

Gareth Neal spent time up at the distillery meeting the producers of the whisky and gaining a detailed understanding of the production process. The wide open landscape, the huge copper stills and the passion of the makers, all inspired and informed the final design.

Dram-Chair-Gareth-Neal-the-new-craftsmen-004

The chair is formed from the oak which is crucial to the maturation of the prestigious single malt whisky. A dram can be nestled comfortably on the chair’s arm while the back and seat are made from a single hide of oak bark tanned leather, skilfully cut and fitted to the oak frame. Copper rivets, mirroring the copper stills used in the whisky production process, provide a subtle flash of highly contemporary detailing. Each chair will be marked and numbered, not only reflecting the uniqueness of the piece but also the growing value and demand for Gareth Neal’s exciting and original approach to contemporary furniture making.

The original design is on display at The New Craftsmen store in Mayfair, from 14th October 2014 through to 24th December 2014, after which time it takes up residence at The Glenlivet Distillery in Scotland. A limited number of chairs can be commissioned to order, with orders open only to those who have registered as Guardians of The Glenlivet.

Dram-Chair-Gareth-Neal-the-new-craftsmen-003

Manufacturer: The New Craftsmen
Designer: Gareth Neal
Year: 2014
Price: £6,200

Jasper Morrison glassware for Ando Gallery at SCP

Precisely two months and two days ago, I stopped by the SCP event to see Simplified Beauty, an exhibition of contemporary design, a celebration of things made as they should be. Co-curated by SCP founder Sheridan Coakley and British-Japanese designer Reiko Kaneko, the show featured a blend of work from Japan, America and Britain, exploring how different cultures approach simplicity and beauty.

My focus was immediately drawn to the work of the Shotoku Glass Company with the new Ando drinking glass designs by British designer Jasper Morrison. Established in 1922, Shotoku was initially a manufacturer of glass for light bulbs, later utilising this incredibly precise hand-crafting techniques, to produce a range of glassware notable for its thinness, lightness and beauty.

jasper-morrison-glassware-ando-gallery-002

jasper-morrison-glassware-ando-gallery-001
Shotoku Glass Company at SCP

The thin, light Ando glassware was conceived when Koichi Ando of the Ando Gallery asked Jasper Morrison for “a simple glass, easy to use in everyday life.” Made from Barium crystal and presented in a wooden box, the Ando glassware is available in two sizes.

jasper-morrison-glassware-ando-gallery-003
Ando glassware

Designer: Jasper Morrison
Manufacturer: Shotoku Glass Company for Ando Gallery
Year: 2014
Price: From £18.95 per glass, Ando glassware from £21 per glass

Nouveau Rebel marble collection by Lee Broom

I never thought of marble as rebellious, but of course that is not the idea behind Lee Broom’s latest collection, Nouveau Rebel. “It’s a reference to how marble was always considered a luxury material, sort of nouveau riche, but the idea was to create new pieces and call it Nouveau Rebel,” Broom told Dezeen.

nouveau-rebel-lee-broom-004

nouveau-rebel-lee-broom-003

nouveau-rebel-lee-broom-002

Over the last few years we have seen a lot more marble creeping back into the design festivals after a long recession forcing designers to look at simple shapes and inexpensive materials. It appears those days are over and the nouveau riche have moved back in.

Lee Broom’s collection launched during the London Design Festival within his East London showroom with new lighting, accessories and glassware hidden from immediate view within a dramatic curtained maze. Every turn unveiled a new product made from the 5mm thick marble to allow the light to pass through the material.

The collection is made up of five new products made of crystal and marble. His collection fuses contrasting materials such as Carrara marble and hand-blown lead crystal to create a range of products.

nouveau-rebel-lee-broom-001

Designer: Lee Broom
Manufacturer: Lee Broom
Year: 2014
Price: From £60 (for glassware)

Eley Kishimoto launches new wallpaper (#LDF14)

Mark Eley and Wakako Kishimoto are better known for their original, and eye-catching designs in the fashion world but they have definitely broadened this over the years to include applying their patterns to a car, a bicycle, furniture and so on. This means that it should be no surprise that Eley Kishimoto have decided to make waves in the world of wallpaper.

Screen-printed in their Brixton studio, the new wallpaper collection is the latest project for the small London-based design team – “a re-working of seminal prints from the studio’s archive that unifies existing designs with both garments and walls, resulting in a visceral exploration of surface decoration”.

eley-kishimoto-wallpaper-002

As the team were putting together the final touches to their launch at Decorex, I got a tour of their workshop seeing the room in which they screen-print each roll themselves… by hand. This is artisan craftsmanship at its best where the designers, despite their global status, are so involved in the production process that they have worked with the in-house printer to source the best paper and paint to print unique pieces in their own space to keep quality to an absolute maximum.

We might be used to seeing great prints of wallpaper, but when you get up close to these prints, you can see the hand-crafted work in each roll making it such a strong talking point. Whether you choose to have several walls papered in the print, enclosing the room in a bold and modern pattern, or use it across one wall, these prints will lift the room more than you will find with many other papers.

eley-kishimoto-wallpaper-001

Designer: Eley Kishimoto
Manufacturer: Eley Kishimoto
Year: 2014
Price: £160 per roll

Recto Verso by Martino Gamper at Ace Hotel (#LDF14)

A funny thing happened during London Design Festival 2014… a little collection of installations occurred at the Ace Hotel, curated by Laura Houseley of Modern Design Review… and it was… a marvel to behold.

recto-verso-martino-gamper-ace-hotel-002

This inspired collection of installations took over areas of the Ace Hotel, from the entrance, to the restaurant and even the soft seating area in the workspace room.

The café was home to my favourite piece – Martino Gamper’s Recto Verso chair – a simplified, modernised version of the traditional bentwood café chair which Gamper plans to produce himself. This quirky installation, with cute dog included, was also the international launch of this new functional chair.

 

“It is a bit about my fascination with the bentwood chair and a bit about my frustration with the furniture industry that I wanted to manufacture a chair myself. The chair is strong, easy to use; it stacks.”

Martino Gamper

 

recto-verso-martino-gamper-ace-hotel-001

At £299, it is more than twice the price of the Thonet chair that Gamper is basing this chair upon, although Thonet have the advantage of having sold more than 50 million chairs worldwide… and that was just before 1930!

Instead, this chair is in the region of some of the most popular chairs today, Ercol’s stacking chair or Case Furniture’s 675 chair by Robin Day.

This chair has a simplicity to make it timeless and a design to make it popular with a price to make it sell. Good luck Gamper, I hope to see hundreds of these chairs in every dining room or café.

Designer: Martino Gamper
Manufacturer: Martino Gamper
Year: 2014
Price: £299.00

Plain, Simple, Useful. The America folding metal chair

Once upon a time there was a chair, a plain, simple, useful and inexpensive folding metal chair, which appeared in cupboards and sheds all over the nation. The Conran Shop’s America chair was not the first folding chair to grace our homes but it is my favourite. And it is my favourite folding chair because of the incredibly great value price-tag it comes with… just £12.95. Or at least it did, as this chair has now been discontinued and there is very little information about this chair.

habitat macadam folding metal chair office 001
Habitat Macadam chair

But of course, there are many other versions of the chair including the Macadam by Habitat who are the rightful owners of this chair when it was introduced into their stores in the 1970s.

Now, we owe this product to the work of Sir Terence Conran, who opened the Habitat stores and later The Conran Shop which should help determine the origins of the chair, and in-turn the original version of the chair. If anyone knows which came first… the Macadam or the America then I would be delighted to update this post. It is not known if Terence Conran had a hand in the design of this chair but as a retailer he has put it in to both collections over the years so must also be fond of this utility product.

america-chair-macadam-chair-conran-shop-habitat

Now here comes the tricky part… because I am a fan of the Conran Shop’s version with the integrated curved brace bar at the back of the chair with a far more elegant way of connecting the legs. The front brace bar is welded on to the legs with a seamless joint making this chair a more sophisticated version of the classic folding chair.

When hung upside down, the America chair has a sturdy bar from which to hang, whereas the Macadam chair has the attached bars which look clumsy. In my view, the Macadam chair is precisely why folding chairs are given a bad name, they look cheap, rather than inexpensive. They appear unrefined to those of us that love the details of a product.

Habitat creative director Polly Dickens recently took a trip to the factory where the Macadam chair is made and the Habitat blog kept a nice record of the trip…

habitat macadam folding metal chair factory 001

habitat macadam folding metal chair factory 002

habitat macadam folding metal chair factory 003

I’m very lucky to have bought six America chairs before they were discontinued as the perfect temporary dining room. I love the utilitarian design that bring people together when more chairs can be added to those without seats. This chair was designed for large gatherings and therefore only brings with it good memories.

So begins my campaign for the Conran Shop to bring back the America chair. Plain, Simple, Useful.

In the absence of the America chair, you can still pick up the Macadam chair for £10 at Habitat, or join my crusade for detail.

habitat macadam folding metal chair office 002

Designer: Unknown
Manufacturer: Habitat and The Conran Shop
Year: 1970s
Price: £10.00 and £12.95

Bert Frank’s Shear lamp

British design company Bert Frank designs products made to last. Opposing the throw-away culture we live in today, their lighting designs are evocative of mid-century design with some 1930s influences. Adam Yeats and Robbie Llewellyn founded Bert Frank together in 2013, creating the name from Robbie’s first and middle name… Robbie Francis.

bert-frank-shear-table-lamp-001

Launching with their Shear collection of lights, made from brass and steel, these original creations were designed to attractively age and mature over time for long-lasting appeal.

“The brass will soften and darken (unless you don’t want it to and treat it to a little polish) and any knocks or scratches it may pick up over the years will add to its story. That’s how we see them anyway, if you don’t, you can always book them in for a recondition session.” says Robbie about their approach to the Shear design.

bert-frank-shear-table-lamp-003

“At Bert Frank we take a huge amount of pride in designing and manufacturing our products in-house in the UK to the highest possible standard. We don’t cut corners and we don’t sacrifice on quality to reduce costs and therefore we hope that our products will be a joy to own and use.”

They hit the nail on the head for me, focusing on quality of production and materials over reduced costs. Saying that, these lamps are reasonably priced at £462.00, which may seem pricey but for a product that will stay with you for a long time brings me to the old saying “I’m not rich enough to buy cheap things”.

bert-frank-shear-table-lamp-002

Designer: Bert Frank
Manufacturer: Bert Frank
Year: 2013
Price: £462.00

How does Colour affect our lives? Conclusion.

Colour has affected our lives since the Egyptians used colour to alter their feelings. We have always been intrigued by the sensations that colours can provide and the qualities that one individual colour holds.

Why do people have a favourite colour? They do because they are drawn to the qualities within that colour. They may be in need of some uplifting and as the research from Reading University shows, it can have an affect on someone. Most of us are still blissfully unaware of the effects that light and colour can have over our lives and just accept it as ‘one of those things’.

favourite-colour-color

Newton was intrigued by the capabilities of colour and thanks to the plague three hundred years ago; we now have a colour system that is recognised as simply common knowledge. Modern printing methods and television have learnt to understand colour and how it affects these methods of communication. Without this understanding where would we be? We would still be wondering why that red on the screen is not the same red when it is printed out.

Also artists use and need colour to allow them to create work that is personal and individual to them. Kandinsky lived for colour and music and so learnt the qualities of each and how to bring the two artistic outlets together. Today we use colour for a number of things and in many ways, but the understanding has evolved to allow us to move more into theories of colour than was made possible before.

how-does-colour-affect-our-lives

I have learnt more about colour over the last few months than I have ever known in my whole life. What started as a curiosity has grown further into a desire to learn how to communicate properly the use of colour. I began with a question of ‘How does colour affect our lives?” and I feel that I answered it for myself with much more than I had reckoned for.

My research is not over…
“stay pretty”

Chapters
01 Introduction
02 Chapter one: theories of colour
03 Chapter two: colour in art
04 Chapter three: subtractive & additive colour systems
05 Chapter four: science in colour
06 Chapter five: colour therapy & alternative therapies
07 Conclusion


Bibliography (in no particular order)

Books

  • Colour: Art & Science. Cambridge University Press
  • Philosophies of Beauty. E. F. Carritt
  • The Penguin Dictionary of Art & Artists
  • Interaction of Color. Josef Albers
  • The Art Book. Phaidon
  • The 20th Century Art Book. Phaidon
  • The Art of Color. Johannes Itten
  • The Elements of Color. Johannes Itten
  • The Dictionary of Graphic Design & Designers. Thames & Hudson
  • Graphic Design: A Concise History. Thames & Hudson

Websites

How does colour affect our lives? Chapter five: colour therapy & alternative therapies

A popular misconception about colour is that it is only received through the eyes and processed by the brain. This is not entirely the case. Although this is true it can also be absorbed through the body and used in a number of ways. Scientifically, it is the principal cue to composition and affects us both physiologically and psychologically. It can be used to help aid and heal the sick, diseased and distressed. We have the Egyptians to thank for colour. They were the first to use it in this manner. They would build temples for Colour Healing of which they believed heavily in. The sick would enter into the temple to absorb the colour and be “revitalised and renewed”. This was the start of Colour Therapy.

colour-therapy-chakras

The sun’s rays are the start of the healing process; they pass through the spectrum, giving colour that can be concentrated to produce healing methods for various injuries and illnesses. Certain colours carry with them certain qualities, for many purposes. For example, yellow can be used to aid digestion and is commonly used to decorate kitchens and eating areas. It is a principal colour for the stomach. These colours are also associated with the chakras.

Seven colours relate to the body in different areas, which are called energy centres of the body. These colours are Purple/Violet, which relates to the crown or brain and relates to our spiritual awareness. Indigo relates to the brow or the ‘third eye’, which is in the centre of the forehead. Examples of organs that are affected by this are the sinuses and the endocrine gland. Blue relates to the throat, whilst green relates to the heart. Yellow, the solar plexus, which is the stomach, as described above and Orange is the Sacral chakra or the abdomen. Red is the final chakra and relates to the base of the spine.

Colour is just light of different wavelengths. We are surrounded by electromagnetic waves of energy of which colour is a small part. All the electromagnetic rays are invisible to the human eye. The seven rainbow colours that we have already discussed in an earlier chapter (based upon the musical scale) are formulated from wavelengths and frequency. Violet or Purple has the shortest wavelength yet the highest frequency and is placed at the top. This runs down a pyramid until we reach Red at the bottom with the longest wavelength but the lowest frequency. Green is placed in the middle and is the balance between the cool colours and the warm colours.

Wassily-Kandinsky-Improvisation-Sinflut-1913
Wassily Kandinsky. Improvisation Sinflut. Oil on canvas. 1913

As we have discussed earlier, the colours we perceive are with sensors in the retina known as rods and cones. If we lose this ability to perceive colour through the eye then the body has shown that it can adapt and perceive light through the skin. This does not happen instantly but in history it is shown that over time light hitting the skin can be carried through the nerve fibres and the various cells into the rods and cones of the skin. These sensors can then differentiate like the sensors in the eyes and tell the brain what colour is being projected onto the body. This is called Chromesthesia.

In northern climates, winter often brings ‘the blues’. A simple and proven remedy is the use of a powerful light. Seasonal Affective Disorder is readily cured by sitting in front of a bright light (10,000 lux) for about half an hour morning and evening. The effect is brought about by regulation of the pineal gland in the brain, which modulates the production of melatonin and serotonin – the molecules responsible for sleeping and waking. Until the 1960’s babies born prematurely suffered a life-threatening condition of jaundice, which may have necessitated a blood transfusion. Nowadays, all that is required is exposure to light. This works because the chemical breakdown of bilirubin by full spectrum or blue light affects the body in such a manner that jaundice is overcome.

Chapter 5.2 (Text from a lecturer from Reading University).

“I do sometimes talk about colour theory, yes… The CIE standard is a good place to start in the 20th Century (drawn up in France in the 1920’s I think – Comite International d’Eclairage). Otherwise people like Newton & Herschel. I have a good Acrobat PDF on it I could email you.” When speaking to this lecturer he was giving me information about the various things that he has learnt and taught about colour therapy whilst he has been lecturing. “Colour Therapy? Police cells have been painted pink because of its calming effect. I think it was Kandinsky that wrote something about the particular emotional resonance’s of different colours – which he put into good practice in his pictures.”

Wassily-Kandinsky-Komposition-8
Wassily Kandinsky. Komposition 8. Oil on canvas. 1923

“Do you know anything about chromesthesia? People who hear music and perceive colours in response to particular qualities of sound – it’s a proven phenomenon and fascinating.”

Synesthesia (as in anaesthesia) is a concomitant sensation. It is a subjective sensation or image of a sense (as of colour) other than the one (as of sound) stimulated. Chromesthesia is a form of synesthesia in which non-visual stimulation results in the experience of color sensations.

“You might find the business of auras and chakras interesting. You know – a colour spectrum from red to purple/indigo is visualised as being distributed in a vertical column up the body – with Imperial Purple in the head? I met someone who claims to be able to “adjust” people’s auras by visualising imbalance in this distribution… (Slightly weird or what?)”

I have referred to the use of chakras earlier in this article. It is an interesting idea using colour to manipulate somebody’s feelings.

“Colour Therapy. Well perhaps you should look on the Spiritualist Natural Unions website for links to other organisations. I can tell you that certain colours can affect the way that you feel. If you are feeling in need of a bit of energy one day, wear a bit of red, does not matter where that red is, it could be a pair of socks, pair of boxers, the red colour will give you energy. If you are in need of healing, for me wear blue, and again that can be anywhere. Do you know anything about the sharcra the openings that are in the body for energy points, because each of these chakras has a colour associated with them?”

“There are five of them they roughly correspond with the following points of the body. Crown chakra, colour purple or white, and if for divine inspiration third eye, in the centre of your forehead, and this one can be coloured purple. Heart chakra, where the heart is and is coloured green, not red as would normally expect. Solar plexus these are normally coloured yellow and are roughly where your stomach is. Ever had the gut feeling that something is going to happen, or not going to happen, well this is the solar plexus acting. This is the major chakra in the body genital chakra, this is normally coloured red and is at the base of the spine and covers the reproductive area. Hope this gives you some idea of what the chakra are and where to find them, can find out more in Indian books on Spiritualism healing, crystals etc. from the library, also if you see a guy who is into reiki healing that uses the chakras for healing I believe so ask them they may be able to help you.”

I have tried to show, as many different aspects of colour healing as possible and that I felt were relevant. Obviously there are far to many variations on spiritual healing to go into, and they are not all relevant to how colour can affect our lives. Most of us will never have our auras adjusted or bump into a man that deals in Reiki healing. However I felt that all this information was useful and opens up suggestions that colour theories are being produced further than the original ideas founded by Newton and many theorists such as Itten and Albers.

Colour is a property of light – not an object itself. Objects have no colour of their own, but merely the ability to reflect a certain section of the visible spectrum. Objects reflect what we perceive and absorb what we don’t.

Chapters
01 Introduction
02 Chapter one: theories of colour
03 Chapter two: colour in art
04 Chapter three: subtractive & additive colour systems
05 Chapter four: science in colour
06 Chapter five: colour therapy & alternative therapies
07 Conclusion

Summer in Another Country

This balmy weather seems to draw my mind towards food; more importantly eating food. So Fabricofmylife’s Kate and I took ourselves down to the Another Country new London store for some table styling and much needed lunch.

another-country-summer-blogger-styling-dining-004

Having amassed a great tableware collection of own-brand and complementary products, Another Country have a very tantalising array of plates, cutlery and decorative objects that tick a lot of boxes for me.

But where would lunch be without my iPhone and new Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+ (thanks Lenovo) as I do have a small obsession with constantly checking my phone every two minutes to check how many ‘likes’ my Instagram’s are getting.

another country summer blogger styling dining 005

another country summer blogger styling dining 003

another country summer blogger styling dining 002

I’m teetering on the edge of moving my current dinner service on to pastures new in order to bring in the pottery series by Ian McIntyre (with embossed ‘ac’ stamp underneath), 31 Chapel Lane napkins, David Mellor’s Provençal cutlery and Simon Donald’s Swan nighlight so that this one-off lunch setting becomes a regular fixture in my home.

After lunch we tried our hand at a ‘coffee and apple’ (iPhone that is) scene with my Re-Turned bird and Ruth Duff’s cushions making for a comfortable afternoon nap.

Take a look at how Kate interpreted the afternoon in her (Imaginary) Corners of my Home feature.

another country summer blogger styling dining 006

another country summer blogger styling dining 001

Pottery Series Designer: Ian McIntyre
Manufacturer: Another Country
Year: 2011
Price: From £15.00

Yoga Tablet 10 HD+ Designer: Lenovo
Manufacturer: Lenovo
Year: 2014
Price: From £299.99

How does colour affect our lives? Chapter four: science in colour

When I decided to explore colour much further than I had ever tried, I rationalised to myself how important knowing what happened once the image hits the eye and messages are sent to the brain was. Once I had brushed the surface of it I wanted to know more. I had a common misconception that colour is only seen and not perceived in any other way. I had no real understanding as to why we see colour in certain ways.

object-absorbs-colour-reflects-others
Image appropriated from Dr. Prince’s Physical Science Class

In this chapter I explored all the areas that I felt relevant to understanding the scientific approach to colour knowledge. Although we experience colour all the time, do we really understand colour? Three hundred years ago Isaac Newton showed that white light is composed of all the colours of the spectrum. He is often known to be responsible for the concept that there are seven primary colours in the spectrum, as in the seven distinct notes in music. Using this theory he was able to divide up the spectrum into spectral bands with widths corresponding to the ratios of the small whole numbers found in the musical scale.

Objects that reflect all light appear to be black, but you will rarely, if ever at all, experience this colour. We know this to be Jet Black – the only true black that exists. All other variants are hues as some light must be present for it to be visible. The human eye is incapable of understanding the smallest difference between the blacks that we will experience which is why we will never truly know what is the darkest black that we can experience, on the same note, we cannot tell using sight alone what is the whitest white we can perceive.

Colour can be measured in various ways. Direct colour can be measured by optical wavelengths, whereas reflected colour deriving from paint and pigment is more difficult to define. All the other colours except light are shown on objects. This occurs when the object absorbs some of the colours of the spectrum and reflects the others. The reflected colours are the colours that we see. If something is red, it will rarely, if ever, be a pure red, it will almost undoubtedly consist of various different colours and shades of colours.

coca-cola-red-fe001a

Against all this we can also say that no two people will ever see the same red, even if they are shown some varieties of red, they will never be able to agree on the same red for example the Coca-Cola red:

“What does this show? First it is hard, if not impossible, to remember distinct colors. This underscores the important fact that the visual memory is very poor in comparison with our auditory memory. Often the latter is able to repeat a melody heard only once or twice. Second, the nomenclature of color is most inadequate. Though there are innumerable colors – shades and tones – in daily vocabulary, there are only about 30 color names.” 09

Mondrian-Composition-II-Red-Blue-Yellow

In photography, blues and reds are overemphasised to such an extent that the brightness is exaggerated. Whites appear to look of a greenish colour – resulting in, for example, Mondrian’s paintings looking unbearable when seen through photographs or slides. The sensitivity and consequently the registration of the retina of an eye is different from the sensitivity and registration of a photographic film. The retina consists of rods and cones. The rods mediate vision in dim light, which is called Scotopic vision, however, the cones mediate vision in normal or bright light, which is called Photopic vision. Both the rods and cones send signals to the brain, which tell us what particular colour something appears to be. This is why everyone’s perception of colour is different because nobody has the same two eyes.

“The rich colours that we see are inventions of the nervous system rather than properties of light itself. Colour, like beauty, is in the eye and brain of the beholder.” 10

Colour is not attached to an object – it is a property of light. An object’s colour can change and will change continuously due to light fluctuations. Almost certainly you will never see an object in exactly the same light at the same angle and with the same retinal movements. This means that an object that appears to be bright orange in the morning, will change shades throughout the day until light is not present and the object appears a dull if not a grey colour or hue from the original bright orange. As the object reflected the orange hue throughout the day it cannot without light, so therefore its colour has changed.

However, an object will not change its colour dramatically, due to the compounds in the material. Grass is green because of the ingredients that make up grass. This chapter has shown that away from all the theories and artist views on how to handle colour, there are facts that surround us that we have to acknowledge to truly understand the effects of colour.

I had considered only learning a portion of this, but once I started reading I had realised what an important part of colour perception this has all been. There are many other ways in which colour can be used other than in paintings or create moods as artists that I have explored earlier have always experienced colour. One other example is Colour Therapy and we’ll explore that next…

End notes
09 / Page 3: Josef Albers, 2006. Interaction of Color: Revised and Expanded Edition. Rev Exp Edition. Yale University Press.
10 / Page 103: 1995. Colour: Art and Science (Darwin College Lectures). Edition. Cambridge University Press.

Chapters
01 Introduction
02 Chapter one: theories of colour
03 Chapter two: colour in art
04 Chapter three: subtractive & additive colour systems
05 Chapter four: science in colour
06 Chapter five: colour therapy & alternative therapies
07 Conclusion

Dai Roberts at RiseArt.com

I’ve been spending a lot of time with the RiseArt team lately and keep discovering so many artists that I’m really enjoying uncovering. Looking back through my list of favourites I realise that I am drawn to the UNIT drawings of artist Dai Roberts. Dai references the ideas of movements such as the Constructivists and the Bauhaus, which can be seen in the geometrical shapes and abstraction. Think of industrial, sharp, brutal even, forms and this gives you the visual representation of Constructivism.

Dai-Roberts-artist-Rise-Art-001

His work attempts to blend different methods and mediums of production by using architecture and furniture as a reference point to reproduce the utopian desires of the early Modernists. I’m not featuring his furniture pieces here because they cross over to sculpture more than functional objects and it’s his prints from the UNIT series that I’m most in love with.

Dai-Roberts-artist-Rise-Art-002

Dai-Roberts-artist-UNIT-drawings-Rise-Art-001

“UNIT started by manufacturing a set of materials in a unitary size,” says Dai. “This size was arrived at intuitively in relation to its ease of working within the human scale rather than by the use of other universal standards of measurement.”

The sculpture that he created was accompanied by a series of drawings, all used to inspire the final pieces. Three found materials were selected, acrylic sheet, particleboard and copper rods, chosen for their visual and constructive qualities. These materials appear to be pristine. A system was devised to work these materials into three-dimensional objects.

You can hear Dai talking to RiseArt about this work at the printer’s studio in North London…


Taken from a video interview with Dai Roberts by RiseArt.com

How does colour affect our lives? Chapter three: subtractive & additive colour systems

Colour is an inescapable fact of life and affects everything we do. It can affect, in quite dramatic ways, our mood and our perception of the world we live in. The wheel system dates back to the early nineteenth century. Many different systems were created, each with a varying set of primaries. As I have said before, colour is a property of light, not an object itself. However, light and pigment are not mixed using the same method. In colour systems this must be recognised and used accordingly.

Eiffel-tower-paris-black-and-white-photos-04

During this chapter, I will provide the facts that surround the photographic elements of colour. This may be during photography, printing, or visualising an image on a monitor. All these aspects must be considered towards working with colour successfully. Black and white photography overemphasise the darker and lighter aspects of the image. Lights appear lighter and darks appear darker. Unfortunately this can make the in-between greys almost fade out to nothing which cause problems of depth and character.

Colour photography works similarly with blues and reds being exaggerated to an extent that they are much stronger than in reality. As welcoming as this may be, because it can flatter dull lifeless photography, it can ‘result in a loss of finer nuances’ 08. Whites often appear to be of a greenish disposition that distorts the overall imagery. All these factors must be looked at during processing to compensate for the loss of quality. The primary colours in photography and light are different from those of printing methods.

Photographic Colours, also known as Subtractive and Process primary colours, consist of Cyan, Magenta and Yellow. If the three colours are projected one on top of each other then they will combine to produce white. If light is not present then this produces black. This is used in computer language and is referred to as CMYK. With the printed primary colours, if all three are printed over each other they will produce what is seen to be black.

hue-value-saturation

The wheel system has been around since the early eighteenth century. Many systems have been created, each with a varying set of primary colours. Hue refers to the name of the colour; value refers to the lightness and darkness of a hue. Red and green produce yellow, green and blue produce cyan whilst blue and red produce magenta. These make up the two different colour wheels – Additive and Subtractive or RGB and CMY. The same colour mixtures work with CMY as with RGB.

Monitors for computer systems use RGB as a method of colour determination. The human eye can perceive many more colours than a computer monitor is able to show. This is an unfortunate problem, but RGB is able to show many more colours than CMY is able to produce, this is why the computer will use RGB. As CMYK, or process primary colours, can show very few colours, they may show a very different variation upon work being created on screen. Most Graphical User Interfaces (GUI’s) will have a system worked that will allow you to tell which colours can be used to print and which are just for screen, for example, web use.

The true process primary colours are Cyan, Magenta and Yellow, however these colours were not always available which is why Red, Green and Blue were used heavily to create colours before the modern printing methods were introduced. In the absence of Magenta and Cyan, Red and Blue can be used to mix colours, however the result can be unsatisfactory, as many colours cannot be mixed.

Pantone-Colour-Chart

In more recent printing methods a new system has been worked through which created the Pantone colour system. These are numbered colours that can be chosen in either pigment, printing or monitor colours. They all refer to the same colour, however depending on the printer the colours may vary considerably, which is why printing Pantone colours is incredibly more expensive than using CMYK.

This chapter has allowed me to deal with the varying different primary colours depending on what process you will be using. It is very straightforward and shows a clear communication between the three major primary colours of Subtractive, Additive and Pigment. Pigment has not been concerned with this chapter, as it is never used as a recognised primary colour system during printing or photography. It shows that during day-to-day work methods the different colour systems must be looked at and considered depending on how the colours are being viewed.

If the colours are being viewed through a monitor then they will look different once they are printed professionally. If they are being viewed in a printing method then they will undoubtedly look different in a different situation.

End notes
08 / Page 15: Josef Albers, 2006. Interaction of Color: Revised and Expanded Edition. Rev Exp Edition. Yale University Press.

Chapters
01 Introduction
02 Chapter one: theories of colour
03 Chapter two: colour in art
04 Chapter three: subtractive & additive colour systems
05 Chapter four: science in colour
06 Chapter five: colour therapy & alternative therapies
07 Conclusion

How does colour affect our lives? Chapter two: colour in art

Many artists have tackled colour within their work such as Wassily Kandinsky and Josef Albers. Mark Rothko is famed for his large blocks of colour of similar hues. Rothko’s pieces have been given a room specifically for his work in the Tate Modern, London. Artists such as Morris Louis and Tom Phillips are less well known but have also used colour extensively in their work.

In this chapter I explore the various influential artists of their period to give an insight into the way that these artists worked with colour. Albers has been an influential artist throughout all my colour research, along with artists such as Rothko who practiced his insight into colour and composition. All of the artists in this chapter have contributed in some way to the development of colour ideas and how we perceive colour in our everyday lives.

josef albers interaction of color

Albers has been mentioned many times throughout the course of this essay, because of his understanding in the subject of colour. He was born in 1888, later moving to the USA in 1933. Between this period he taught at the famous Bauhaus school in Germany. His book, as referred to many times, called the ‘Interaction of Colour’ was published in 1963 and included the lessons that he taught whilst he was working at the Bauhaus. In this book he explored the perception of colour, which was a dominant theme throughout his life. His most famous work is a series in which he would use squares of pure colour. The squares were placed on top of each other but as the paint had been applied with a knife it gave the illusion that the squares floated independent of each other. The paint was never mixed before use and was applied directly from the tube to give the greatest effect of pure colour. His work has been a huge influence on my work and my studies into the area of colour perception and its uses.

Yves-Klein-International-Klein-Blue

Yves Klein was a very influential artist working closely with the Neo-Dada movement. Dada, which stands for hobby-horse, was a “nihilistic precursor of Surrealism” 03. It was created in Zurich during World War I and was a product of hysteria and shock lasting from about 1915 to 1922. It was deliberately anti-art and anti-sense, intended to shock and outrage the viewers. It was the movement behind the famous work by Duchamp of a reproduction of the Mona Lisa with a moustache. Klein’s work included paintings that were deliberately burned and paintings produced by smearing his famous ‘International Klein Blue’ paint all over naked women and dragged across the canvas under Klein’s direction, to the accompaniment of his own symphony. He was born in Nice during 1928, later to die in Paris 34 years later. Much of his work was produced with his IKB (as mentioned earlier) as blue was a very important colour to him, purveying spirituality and freedom. This blue was mixed personally and later patented, and can maintain its brilliant colour due to the addition of synthetic resin to the pigment.

Morris-Louis-Delta-Theta

Morris Louis, born 1912 and died in Washington DC 1962, used unprimed canvases within his work. He would pour thinned acrylic paint over the canvas to stain a small area of the painting. Much of his work relied on the blank canvas adding the effect of the minimal colour. He would use the unprimed canvases and thinned paint as a way of moving the paint around and letting the paint make its mark rather than having to extensively use brushes to move the paint around. This meant that his work had a more fluid look to it. He moved onto pure colour later in his life of which he worked on whilst he was part of the Post-Painterly movement, a movement that Albers was recognised for. “By this stage it becomes obvious that the late Mr Louis’ paintings happen more in the eye than on the canvas.” 04 Piet Mondrian was born in 1872 and died in New York in 1944. He spent his life working his paintings out on grid systems and adding pure primary colours to the canvas. His work was part of the De Stijl movement of which he was one of the leaders. He worked to banish the “conventions of three-dimensional space and curved lines” 05. His work is also displayed in the Tate Modern along with many other pieces of work taken from the De Stijl movement.

Dan Flavin exhibition David Zwirner by David Urbanke

Dan Flavin’s work consists of light in the form of commercially available fluorescent tubes in all nine colours and all five shapes (one circular and four straight fixtures of different lengths). His work is also shown in the Tate Modern and consists of one green fluorescent tube at a 45º angle and another piece of work that involves many white tubes at different lengths juxtaposed to create a centralised bright light. Another corner boasts a piece of work by Flavin that consists of three different coloured fluorescent lights. The room is filed with this light, but his work relates to his desire to disintegrate sharp edges and attempt to flow all corners of a room into one space. The fluorescent tubes allow Flavin to project an enormous amount of light around the room dissolving all the corners into fine coloured light and breaking up the harsh edges that make up the box-like room.

Black on Maroon 1958 by Mark Rothko 1903-1970

Mark Rothko was one of the most famous artists of his generation. His work consists of “rectangular expanses of intense colour” 06. that float upon the canvas. He blurred the edges to make the coloured masses appear to vibrate with a misty, magical quality. His work has been praised for many decades and you can purchase prints of his more famous pieces from all Habitat stores. He has become a very fashionable artist with his blocks of colour that are reproduced time and time again. Nothing quite compares to viewing his work in the gallery space that it was intended for. The room at the Tate Modern that is devoted to Rothko is very dull and grey. This gives the work even more feel to them as though they are somewhat alive. They images can create all sorts of feelings to the viewer within this space and it has become a very popular room to visit in the newly established Tate Modern.

Farbstudie Quadrate Wassily Kandinsky

Wassily Kandinsky has always had a keen interest in music and always tried to create work that was encouraging musical involvement. He thought music as a form of expression had no boundaries and thought colour should be the same. “Colour is the same keyboard, the eyes are the hammers, and the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand which plays, touching one key or another purposely to cause vibrations in the soul” 07. He has always been a predominant figure in the work of colour since he abandoned his career in law and painted his first piece of abstract art in 1910. He died in 1944.

All of the artists that I have talked about have either been huge influences on myself or they have been famed for their work with colour. Each and every one of those mentioned worked almost exclusively with the ideas that they believed in. The work covers a wide range of resources, and has never stopped at a simple canvas.

This chapter also showed that the work that was started by Newton three hundred years ago is still being explored and practiced. The effects of colour are forever changing within lifestyle and daily activity, as well as art and as Kandinsky showed, the link between music and colour is more visible than is commonly known.

End notes
03 / Page 119: Peter Murray, 1998. The Penguin Dictionary of Art And Artists: Seventh Edition (Dictionary, Penguin). Seventh Edition, Revised Edition. Penguin Books.
04 / Page Unknown: Diane Upright, 1985. Morris Louis: The Complete Paintings (A Catalogue Raisonne). First Edition Edition. Harry N. Abrams.
05 / Page 321: Editors of Phaidon Press, 1997. The Art Book. Edition. Phaidon Press.
06 / Page 400: Editors of Phaidon Press, 1997. The Art Book. Edition. Phaidon Press.
07 / Page Unknown: Anna Moszynska, 1990. Abstract Art (World of Art). Edition. Thames & Hudson.

Chapters
01 Introduction
02 Chapter one: theories of colour
03 Chapter two: colour in art
04 Chapter three: subtractive & additive colour systems
05 Chapter four: science in colour
06 Chapter five: colour therapy & alternative therapies
07 Conclusion

How does colour affect our lives? Chapter one: theories of colour

Colour Theorists have been working for centuries to understand and harness the powers of colours. Colour has always been with us, but it wasn’t until Isaac Newton developed the first colour system that defined the seven distinct colours of the spectrum, that we fully started to understand colour. Within this chapter I hope to show the major theorists to date that have influenced the way that we view colour. They have endeavoured to aid students in their work so that they can use colour appropriately.

josef-albers-interaction-of-color-subtraction-addition

Josef Albers was one of the leading teachers of Colour. He is famed for his book on the ‘Interaction of Color’ that teaches us direct perception of colour rather than theories of colour. He believed that to be musical you will need more than knowledge of acoustics; the same can be said for art. Understanding colour does not automatically give you the ability to understand art.

In music we can learn the scales and then progress to chords. Further learning can teach us the entire musical library, but if there is no talent present then the music will not feel anything more than notes on a piece of paper. In art, we learn the same, how to paint, how to draw, how to communicate through design. Alongside all of this there must be something that is individual and characteristic of your own person, otherwise, like music it is just theory.

johannes-itten-colour-wheel-primary-secondary

Johannes Itten was born in 1888 in Switzerland. He studied under Aldolph Holzell in Germany after which he joined the Bauhaus in 1919. He took with him fourteen of his students. He had a different view from most about colour. He believed that helping a student discover his subjective forms and colours is to help him discover himself. Although both Albers and Itten had the same objective in mind they both wanted to teach in very different ways. If the student wanted to learn theory to develop into practice then Itten’s class would be suitable.

He stated in his book that:

“In order to learn the objective principles of color, take brush in hand and reproduce the charts and exercises in this book”. 01

He talked about his lessons at the Bauhaus. He feels that a calculated piece of work is the best start to learning composition and colour theory. Then once this is learned it leaves room for the student to develop his or hers own identity and structures. Albers felt that learning all the facts took away from the creativity of the painter and felt it was more successful to learn whilst practicing.

The 12-hue colour circle is a design that emphasises the three primary colours of paint – red, blue and yellow. We place yellow at the top, red in the bottom right and blue in the bottom left. Around this three more triangles can be set up to show the colour mixtures of the primary colours. Yellow and red make what is known to us as ‘orange’.

Red and Blue make a colour commonly known as ‘violet’, leaving blue and yellow to produce a ‘green’. Around all of this we can create the 12-hue circle. Each primary and secondary colour has been identified and now there must be one colour in between all of these. The colours that are produced from this are known as ‘yellow-orange’, ‘red-orange’, ‘red-violet’ and so on… The painter reads colour in a different way to most.

They will often have to distinguish between what is pigment and what is real. Light can affect the judgement of their work, but the accomplished painter can overcome these problems. The painter will see two different types of colour – perceptual colour and primary colour. The latter is the paint on the palette and will be used to interpret whatever the painter is trying to say. They have the choice to acknowledge light or ignore its power over their sensations.

Paul-Cezanne-Mont-Sainte-Victoire-(c1887)-Courtauld-Institute-Art

Cézanne stated in 1904:

“Light does not exist for the painter” 02

By this he meant precisely this. He has only the pigment on his palette and so he must do with this whatever he feels, and light will not affect the painting until he paints, regarding that he so wishes to include elements of light. The work of artists has always been linked to their love of colour and its involvement in art. Such people as Albers, Rothko and Kandinsky were big influences in this area. They held very strong views on colour and throughout their lives they work extensively with theories and solutions to overcome obstacles that appeared in their work, eventually becoming predominant figures in colour theory.

Johannes Itten was famed for his work with the Bauhaus and his book ‘The Art of Color’, but was more involved in the textiles industry than as a painter. He lived his life teaching students how to control colour and use it in an effective way. His books, both ‘The Art of Color’ and the hand-bagged sized version ‘The Elements of Color’ have helped me greatly to understand colour mixtures and the vast difference between what is, for example, red and what is pure red. Along with Albers I have been able to realise the difference between color and the strengths and qualities that each color contains.

End notes
01 / Page 28: Johannes Itten, 1970. The Elements of Color: A Treatise on the Color System of Johannes Itten Based on His Book the Art of Color. 1 Edition. John Wiley & Sons.
02 / Page 32: 1995. Colour: Art and Science (Darwin College Lectures). Edition. Cambridge University Press.

Chapters
01 Introduction
02 Chapter one: theories of colour
03 Chapter two: colour in art
04 Chapter three: subtractive & additive colour systems
05 Chapter four: science in colour
06 Chapter five: colour therapy & alternative therapies
07 Conclusion

How does colour affect our lives? Introduction.

Colour Theorists have been working for centuries to understand and harness the powers of colours. The painter will see two different types of colour – perceptual colour and primary colour. Although we experience colour all the time, do we really understand colour? Colour is just light of different wavelengths. Objects reflect what we perceive and absorb what we don’t see. However, light and pigment are not mixed using the same method.

light-and-pigment

Colour is a property of light – not an object itself. Objects have no colour of their own, but merely the ability to reflect a certain section of the visible spectrum. Objects reflect what we perceive and absorb what we don’t. However, light and pigment are not mixed using the same method. I begin with the question of “How does colour affect our lives?”

We know a vast amount about colour and where it comes from but do we really understand it? Is it as simple as black and white? I was always taught that Black and White are shades and not colours, is this true? Where do colours come from in that case, and surely wherever they come from, Black and White are not going to be far behind. These are questions that have kept my curiosity about colour going for many years. Why do people have a favourite colour? Is there a reason or is it just ‘one of those things’? What about more important questions about vibrancy and luminosity. Is there something in these colours that keeps them so sharp and vibrant?

isaac-newton-prism-experiment
Image courtesy Illustrating Science, Illustrating History

Isaac Newton began a degree at Cambridge in 1665 at around the same time as the Great Plague began to spread north from London. With the university closed, Newton returned to his home near Grantham where he entered what must be one of his most remarkable periods of creativity. He was 22 and began to look at colour in a different way than had been done before. He divided up the spectrum into bands just like the musical scale. With this he was able to work more closely at producing what we know now as the seven primary colours of the spectrum. Without this understanding where would we be? Would art and artists have taken different routes with their work?

pink-floyd-dark-side-of-the-moon-george-hardie
George Hardie‘s cover for Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd

I finish again with my question – “How does colour affect our lives?” I will investigate to find the answers to these posed questions. I hope to learn the value of colour in our environment and its abilities to change our everyday lives.

Chapters
01 Introduction
02 Chapter one: theories of colour
03 Chapter two: colour in art
04 Chapter three: subtractive & additive colour systems
05 Chapter four: science in colour
06 Chapter five: colour therapy & alternative therapies
07 Conclusion

Good design should make you happy. Casa Estudio’s Merida Rug for Made.com

The eleventh principle of good design? Perhaps not, but certainly an important consideration with design for most of us… does it make me smile, does it make me happy?

Casa Estudio, combining exhibition designer Andres Ros Soto and artist Giles Round, may not be the most serious duo but they are a skilled and experienced team who understand that focusing on bold use of colour, pattern and geometry ticks a lot of boxes for discerning consumers.

made-merida-rug-harry-westie

made-merida-rug-170-x-240cm-blue

made-merida-rug-fold

Influenced by a flight to Mexico City, the Merida Rug collection was already shaping up before the colours were heavily influenced by the South American city. Designed with modernism and architecture at the heart of the shapes and the interaction of the colours, the Merida Rug has a reasonably ‘pop’ sensibility but Casa Estudio also like simplicity and function with their designs.

I was pleased to be sent this 100% New Zealand wool rug from Made.com to lift my living room out of the light wood and ‘greige’ that it has been stuck with since moving in to this apartment. Not one for lots of colour, this contained geometric shape is ideal for bringing colour and order to my home.

“I always like the clash of blue and black too. The colours were partly intuitive, whatever worked together for both of us. The ‘Blue’ rug came first and the next two designs are part of the same pattern… but the ‘Blue’ one is the most free. We tried to think about how these could work in different domestic situations too, although one of them is partly designed for my dad” says Casa Estudio.

made-merida-rug-170-x-240cm-blue-002

Designer: Casa Estudio
Manufacturer: Made.com
Year: 2013
Price: £249

Lina Bo Bardi’s Bowl Chair by Arper

I might not have seen the Bowl Chair before January this year but something about it made me instantly think that it was a classic design. The shape and concept of the vessel-like chair is an idea so impractical, yet so practical.

Designed in 1951 by an activist of the Italian resistance movement, Lina Bo Bardi, the Bowl Chair echoes Lina Bo Bardi’s love for simple, functional, organic forms. The seat can be swivelled in different positions and perform multiple functions.

arper-lina-bo-bardi-bowl-chair-005

The key element is our interaction with the object, which was revolutionary for the 1950s, the Bowl Chair reinvented the way people sat–favouring natural and relaxed postures–and testified to a cultural change already underway when it was designed.

Arper has tackled the process of industrialisation of the production of Bo Bardi’s Bowl Chair for the first time, much to my delight. However, the Bo Bardi Bowl Chair will only be produced in a limited, numbered edition of just 500.

arper-lina-bo-bardi-bowl-chair-008

Each step of this process has been shared with the Instituto Lina Bo e P. M. Bardi, so that the limited edition Bowl Chair complies with the original design aspiration of Lina Bo Bardi and comes with a certificate to prove it.

arper-lina-bo-bardi-bowl-chair-003

arper-lina-bo-bardi-bowl-chair-007

arper-lina-bo-bardi-bowl-chair-009

arper-lina-bo-bardi-bowl-chair-001

In addition to the original black leather version, the Bowl chair is available in seven fabric colour options. Each colour option comes with three different sets of cushions to choose from, these include a set of one-colour cushions to match the colour of the shell, two-colour cushions or a pair of patterned cushions inspired by Lina Bo Bardi’s original sketches.

arper-lina-bo-bardi-bowl-chair-002

arper-lina-bo-bardi-bowl-chair-004

arper-lina-bo-bardi-bowl-chair-006

Designer: Lina Bo Bardi
Manufacturer: Arper
Year: 1951
Price: £4435

eBay collections: #followitfindit

I was recently asked by eBay UK to join a select group of bloggers who were invited to create collections of their favourite things on eBay. Of course, I didn’t need much convincing because what better way to spend a Sunday than to browse around eBay looking for things that I like. Oh, the life of a blogger. Today I want to share with you the results of my collecting and scouring of eBay…

ateliertally-montage-ebay-collections

I’m a huge fan of modernism, the ideas behind the design of these products and buildings are more than just aesthetic, there was an underlying principle that was being achieved when the designers put pen to paper. More than just a style which resinates with modern design as we know it, the Bauhaus school in Germany was an experimental education which shaped the future of Western European design. Of course, my interests are in more than just modernism, I love the work of Bernard Villemot, Frank Stella, Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis, Paul Rand, Bridget Riley, Richard Anuszkiewicz and Victor Vasarely to name a few, so the eBay collections gave me a great place to keep track of items from these designers that I could share and buy. There is a lot more sharing than buying though as my budgets are tighter than my interests are.

ebay collections atelier tally

If you’ve been a reader of Atelier Tally for some time, you’ll find lots of things in my eBay collections that you might like and create your own collections too.

Disclaimer: this is sponsored post, in partnership with eBay