Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Color Matters

Photo Credit : Jerry Levy 

This week, the Colour Studio will be operating on auto-pilot.  Jill has taken color on the road and is giving a presentation at the first annual D+D Summer Conference in Cincinnati.  In her lecture, Color Matters, she will highlight the importance of color in architecture and break down the nuances of how color affects the way we experience space.  We have summarized the key points of her lecture, so even if you cannot make it to the conference, you can benefit from her knowledge on the subject.  We will also take advantage of the subject to showcase some of our work.

Color Matters

In the built environment, color matters. Applied strategically, color can add value for every market segment, for both new and existing buildings, whether on the exterior or interior.

Project: Avalon Ocean Avenue
Architect: Pyatok Architects
Photo Credit: Cesar Rubio

Owners need brisk sales, quick rentals, and efficient approvals. What compels people to rent or buy, besides the costs involved, is often subliminal. Whether strong or subtle, good color needs to add value to the experience.

Developer: Regis Homes
Project: Irvington Villages
Photo Credit: Patrik Argast

Color can be chosen to appeal to a specific user demographic, to look appropriate in a geographic location, to articulate architectural form, and to enhance productivity. Smart selection and placement of color can direct the movement of the eye through an environment as well as signal paths of travel.

Color is powerful because it impacts us on so many different levels, eliciting responses both learned and automatic. A person cannot be exposed to color and remain neutral—it affects body, mind and spirit. By acknowledging the complexity of responses we can choose color to enhance  peoples experience of their environment.

Here are some Colour Studio case studies to illustrate Jill's arguments.

Color to Sell: 795 Folsom Street
Architect : Wilson Meany & Cornerstone Real EstateAdvisers LLC
Location : San Francisco, CA
Photo Credit : ColourStudio with Vale Bruck

Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers LLC, one of the world’s largest real estate investment managers, came to us with an existing asset in San Francisco that they were interested in putting on the market.


This bland, all-beige building faded into the streetscape. Cornerstone invested in public space renovations and asked Colour Studio to develop an exterior painting scheme. The solution placed four modern accent colors in a random pattern on the fa├žades to create a dynamic street elevation that would appeal to potential technology clients. 


Now fully occupied, the building sold for a roughly $30 million dollar profit.

Color to Reposition: PCT 100, 200, and 222 N. Sepulveda Blvd.
Architect : STUDIOS Architecture
Location : El Segundo, CA
Photo Credit : Michael O'Callahan

Colour Studio teamed with STUDIOS architecture to create a program for CBRE and the building owners to reposition this Class A corporate office campus consisting of three 20-story towers in El Segundo, California. Originally, a single tenant occupied the buildings. Over time, the tenant base diversified.


Our goal was to rebrand the property to attract high-tech tenants. The building’s skin includes Kynar aluminum panels and three different colors of glazing. We used a palette of warm blues, ranging from light to dark, to give the building a dynamic profile against the sky. The clients have experienced a dramatic increase in occupancy.


Color for Learning: De Anza High School
Architect : DLM Architects
Location : El Sobrante, CA
Photo Credit : Timothy Maloney

Built in 1955, the original DeAnza High School in El Sobrante, California, was long considered inadequate and had a reputation as a troubled school. Test scores, enrollment, and school spirits had all sunk. In 2010, the school district broke ground on a new high school designed by DLM Architects. 

Color science and color psychology play a vital role in how a school functions. Active spaces need active colors, while classrooms and auditoriums need colors that help students focus and pay attention.

Enrollment grew from about 800 in 2010, when construction began, to nearly 1,200 students by the new facility’s opening in 2013. Grades have gone up, and the West County Times quoted student body president Iris Wong as saying that after two weeks in the new school, her classmates’ attitudes had improved.

 Determining what colors to select for successful environments is a process.  Color can be a volatile topic—it’s hard enough to pick a winner even when we’re choosing a color of paint for our own home.

The process is worth it, however. Creating a unique built environment with color can enhance user experience, streamline city approvals, help brand or rebrand a property, speed up rentals and sales, create a sense of place, and deliver a memorable product. Color matters, and it provides clients with a positive return on investment.