Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Interaction Of Color... the App!

If you haven't heard of 'Interaction of Color,' let us treat you to a book that has, since its first publication 50 years ago, been widely adopted by artists and designers alike as THE reader on color. More than just a masterful textbook of color theory the book, written by Josef Albers, posed questions and interactive problems to help artists and students gain complex understandings of just how colors intermingled, clashed, blended, and affected one another. Recently this book has been remade into a fantastic interactive app from Yale Press.

The iPad app is true to its source material but brings the content to life.  First of all the app contains the full text with easy search, and one touch word definition. But the most striking part of the app are the plates. Here the colors become not just printed pages in a book but an animated interactive tool.  The plates let you play with and test the theories in the book along side the text.

Many of the app features are inspired by Albers classroom teaching techniques which used colored paper to illustrate color theory. The digital equivalents feel wonderfully similar to playing with paper. Individual shapes and colors are rearrangeable with a swipe of your finger. The functionality of the app lets you pick through layers of hue, saturation, and brightness, The app expands our ability to test  color interaction way beyond what paper has to offer making it a natural pedagogical extension of Albers famous book.

This is a clear winner in the interactive textbook race as well.  Both textbook writers and schools are faced with student populations increasingly familiar with digital devices and the ease of their upgraded functionality against which old fashioned textbooks, without search, save, define  feel stale and behind the times. If you are in the mood for some serious color interaction this app is a great place to start.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Paint Your House with Music

We love new sources of color inspiration at Colour Studio and this week we have a great addition to the list. It's not often you think of starting with music when deciding on paint colors for you home but now there is a new app that lets you do just that.

Paintlist from Dutch Boy paints is a free app for iPhone and Google Play which lets you choose any song to translate into a color palette.   Similar to the well known music app Shazam, which identifies the title and artist for any song, Paintlist can also either listen to live music or select from your phones saved songs. Once the song is processed Paintlist creates three custom color palettes from it. The palettes are made to reflect the tempo, attitude and general feel of the songs. 

A danceable electronic tune, for example with a driving but not fast beat gave us the high warmth combination of Popcorn, Jazz and Convivial Red, while mixes for aggressive heavy metal, or pulsing reggae turned up individual palettes all their own. 

The app has its problems with its listening software being less than optimal, and the novelty factor wearing off after one or two uses but it does ask the question of what new ways you can inspire yourself when it comes to color.  Take the camera out on your next hike and photograph trees clothed in ivy vines, observe  the hues of fog grey or  zoom in on a mossy patch of ground and bark.   Listen to your favorite music letting it fill your head with pops of interesting color,  slice visuals you love from  magazines, take screen shots of websites, fashions and  there is Pinterest and Tumblr for inspiration. Color is everywhere even in music, so we want to know how do you find yours?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Color Icon: Yves Klein

Yves Klein
No color blog would be complete without a post on the great Yves Klein! Born in 1928 in Nice, France, to a pair of painters, Klein rose to prominence in the art world in the post-war era. He, along with art critic  Pierre Restany, founded the Nouveau réalisme movement which is seen as one of the major precursors to both Minimalism and Pop art. Impressive right? But behind the fancy art world credentials was an artist insatiably curious about color.

Monochrome bleu sans titre (IKB 128), 1960 (janvier), 40 x 25 cm
Klein's most famous color explorations were termed the Blue Epoch. Large canvas'  were rolled with a rich  lapis lazulian hue. The color, which came to be known as International Klein Blue (or IKB), has been compared to the blue of medieval depictions of the Virgin Mary's robes. He sealed his secret color recipe for safe keeping and as a record of the "authenticity of the pure idea."

At his first show of these monochromatic paintings, which included not just blue but red, yellow, orange and pink paintings as well, audiences, to Kleins great dislike, took his painting as brightly colored interior design. This reaction lead him to throw out the other colors and exhibit paintings in only his signature blue.

Anthropométrie de l'époque bleue (ANT 82), 1960, 156,5 x 282,5 cm.
The  famous blue, which was co-developed by Klein and Rhône Poulenc a french pharmaceutical company, was tailored to look as bright and high chroma as dry pigment. With his signature color settled he experimented with various methods of applying the paint. He stared with rollers, focusing on evenness and distribution but soon played with sponges, fingers, and even women's bodies as "living brushes."

Grande Anthropophagie bleue Hommage à Tennessee Williams (ANT 76), 1960, 275 x 407 cm.
Color wasn't the only thing Klein explored. His performance art and photography all drove the art world in new directions. There is so much more to learn about this icon in the history of color, read on!

All images via the Yves Klein Archive.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Architecting Color: Emmanuelle Moureaux

© Emmanuelle Moureaux
This week we want to introduce you to a fantastic architect with a commitment to color. Emmanuelle Moureaux, a French native living and working in Tokyo since 1996, is an architect and designer with a passion for color. Her work takes color seriously as an integral part of spaces and buildings not as an  after thought.

The driving ethos of her studio is shikiri, a made-up word meaning “to divide space using colors.” Her goal is to use color to deepen and enrich simple spaces, to “use colors as three-dimensional elements, like layers, in order to create spaces, not as a finishing touch applied to surfaces.”

© Emmanuelle Moureaux

Her intimate understanding of color is clear in her work, like this project the Kyoto University Hospital Clinical Research Center. Using color combinations the resemble landscapes she brings soothing natural influences to a space that might otherwise be teeming with stress or fear, neither of which contribute to good healing outcomes for patients. Her use of color is not limited to bright saturated colors as neutrals also feature prominently in her designs. 

This calming yet professional exam room is a great example of the power of white and neutrals paired with one dot of color. The warm beige, blonde wood, and white stripes extract this medical setting from the realm of the clinical and make it instead a  gentle, welcoming space.

© Emmanuelle Moureaux

Moureaux's latest project was a colorful space for this years Shinjuku Creators Festa in Japan.  The project was inspired by the  traditional Japanese sliding screen

© Daisuke Shima / Nacasa & Partners
Dividing space in architecture often focuses on slicing vertically using walls, dividers, and pathways, but here Moureaux counter-intuitively enlivens the space by bringing the ceiling down to head height. Her dividing of the space applied horizontally compresses the open air to a sliver of space along the floor. The experience is cave like but offers a rippling growth of color overhead. Her work is a rich exploration of the importance of integrating color directly with shape in architectural environments and a real treat for all  of us who love color.