Friday, February 24, 2012

All about Magenta

Due to technical difficulties at Life in Color last weeks blog post was lost. But we are back with a great post this week! Thanks for standing by.

Via sodaro,k on Flickr
Everyone has seen magenta, that delightfully pink purple hue, but did you know it's hiding a juicy scientific secret?  Magenta is what is known as a non-spectral or extra-spectral color. Unlike most colors for example red and blue  that can produced with a prism and are made up of one wavelength of light; magenta requires two wavelengths. As you can see below when you overlap two rainbows magenta appears!

Via Biotele
Here is Liz Elliot of explaining how it works:
[W]hat does the brain do when our eyes detect wavelengths from both ends of the light spectrum at once (i.e. red and violet light)? Generally speaking, it has two options for interpreting the input data:
a) Sum the input responses to produce a colour halfway between red and violet in the spectrum (which would in this case produce green – not a very representative colour of a red and violet mix)
b) Invent a new colour halfway between red and violet
Magenta is the evidence that the brain takes option b – it has apparently constructed a colour to bridge the gap between red and violet, because such a colour does not exist in the light spectrum. Magenta has no wavelength attributed to it, unlike all the other spectrum colours.
 But it turns out that magenta isn't the only color we see from mixed wavelengths. Chris Foresman  at Ars Technica's Nobel Intent blog, explains.
If you look at a standard CIE chromaticity diagram, which maps wavelengths of light according to human perception, you'll note that every point along the curve corresponds to a single wavelength of light. Magenta, as it were, lies along what's commonly called the "pink-purple line" that runs across the bottom. All colors along this line do not exist as single wavelengths. But, all points inside the "color bag" above that line do not exist as single wavelengths, either.
Via Wikimedia Commons
Magenta's special status may even have medical applications.  On the Color Matters site  the  New Frontiers of Science section mentions "Color scientist, John J. Stapleton, Pte., ... is unweaving the rainbow and presenting new theories about the "how and why" of color and color vision. Furthermore, he has applied these theories to machines that may save lives: a medical x-ray machine to detect breast cancer."

With such interesting physics hiding just under the surface of everyday colors the new frontiers of color science are indeed luminous.

- Emily Eifler, Writer, Colour Studio
- Jill Pilaroscia, Principal, Colour Studio

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Outlook Enhanced by Science

Colour Studio works on projects approaching color in a scientific manner. Check out this infographic we put together to demonstrate our belief that "the right color choice always has a reason behind it."

Designed by Naomi Kuhmann

Friday, February 17, 2012

What's up with ceilings?

The story is as old as paint. You move in somewhere new or just decide  your place needs a new look. Out come the paint chips, discussions about base color, accent walls, moldings, windows  and doors ensue. But what about that forgotten ceiling. Usually just left to their own white devices, ceilings are often ignored for their color potential. Ceilings can have a presence all their own.

Via Apartment Therapy
This stunning red violet  beauty is by designer Sara Story.

Via Apartment Therapy
 Or why not bring the heavens down to earth with a sky blue ceiling. Painting the ceiling can add to a vibrantly colorful space, but it can also subtly warm a neutral zone.

But by now you might be thinking that walls are looked at far more as we are walking around our homes and offices but what about those places where ceilings take center stage. The hospital, for example, is full of people lying in bed staring at the ceiling. Blankness is hardly an uplifting visual.

Hospital ceiling via Made in China
Hospital rooms should be designed for healing, and mental stimulation goes a long way to keeping patients engaged.We understand that happy welcoming environments help children when in the hospital and strive to make children's wards friendly and cheerful. Why not the whole hospital? Adults do not grow out of the need to feel at ease in new places while experiencing stressful diagnostics or frightening procedures.

Via Soliant Health
The above image is of Alfred DuPont Hospital for Children in Delaware. It was ranked as one of the most beautiful hospitals by Soliant Health.
"[The] dazzling domes full of luminescent stars in the hallways conjure-up images of the Hogwarts Great Hall ceiling from Harry Potter. What child  wouldn’t want to stay here?"
Also on the list was Providence Regional Cancer Partnership in Everett, Washington, with this amazing ceiling treatment.  

Via Soliant Health

 MRI's are very loud and can be overwhelming so this MRI room is fitted with a swirling blue aquarium ceiling. What better way to relax before or recover after the long MRI scan time than gazing at sea life. 

 What colorful ceiling treatment could  take your mind off your next medical treatment or enliven your home? 
- Emily Eifler, Writer, Colour Studio
- Jill Pilaroscia, Principal, Colour Studio

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Color of Light

Manhattan - Via Kw-ny on Flickr
Architectural lighting is an important consideration when planning the color scheme of a large building. Once the sun has gone down and painted colors and natural materials fall mute, lighting brings buildings to life in new way. New York paints a beautiful portrait awash in the glow of the rising sun but when the topography is no longer bathed in golden yellow and warm copper glow,   each structure fades back to grayed mid-tones.

Shanghai - See the whole panorama via Wired New York
When we paint epic cityscapes in our heads we tend to create something similar to this shot of the cloudy Shanghai mega-city. Grey, silver and black hues dominate the visual horizon in every direction. Studded here and there are rivers of headlights and  the faint glow of ambient lights.

Some cites especially in Asia, are glittering with post sunset color. The lights of advertisements and architectural lighting mix with the glow of street lamps and passing cars.

Tokyo - Via Wallpapervortex
Architectural lighting designers allow buildings to participate in this glorious polychromatic display of nighttime color. Take this example below:

Hong Kong - The Nexxus via Laservision

This is the Nexxus building in Hong Kong.
"Laservision was engaged by Mutual Capital Limited to create, design and install a state of the art dynamic lighting design that would demand the attention of passersby, whilst maintaining the natural grandeur and iconic physical characteristics of the Nexxus Building in Hong Kong." 
A custom LED layout was created to cover the skin of the Nexxus with changing and flowing color. The lights are placed  to both accentuate the existing structure and  redefine its shape with negative and positive spaces. The building becomes an active changing participant in the cityscape instead of a static on looker.

What are your favorite colorful architectural lighting projects?

- Emily Eifler, Writer, Colour Studio
- Jill Pilaroscia, Principal, Colour Studio

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Organized by color

The organization of objects in our environment, both our physical as well as our digital environment, is a large part of visual communication. When you are trying to design the character and mood of a space, each object with in the space whether revealed or concealed  plays a role in the visual landscape.    It seems like a simple idea. But what needs does organization have to fulfill? Ease of use, storage and visual aesthetics come quickly to mind. Sometimes all of these goals can be served by the same type of organization, but not always. Take a closet or a materials library for example:

Via Lou, Boos, and Shoes
The accessibility of the materials, storage, as well as the composition are well served by this organization of light to dark, warm to cool colors within the storage zone.

Via Apartment Therapy
You'd never lose a heel again with this bright arrangement by specific hue working around the color wheel.

But what about book libraries? Can books, objects we commonly think of in alphabetical terms, also be approached like the yarn or shoes?

Via Colossal

Via Web Urbanist
This is beautiful visually,  but are books by color practical without subject or author to go by? That all depends on the reader. To be more precise these systems, alphabetical vs chromatographic, are visual narratives (which you can read more about here). We get to use them to tell a story about our spaces. So we manipulate color not just by painting a wall or buying a certain dress but also with organization. How do you organize you books and shoes and yarn? Maybe this secret life of books video will get you thinking!

- Emily Eifler, Writer, Colour Studio
- Jill Pilaroscia, Principal, Colour Studio