Color Commentary on Fashion

Cool little video diary by street fashion photographer Bill Cunningham of the NYT called "On the Street: Colors of the Changing Seasons"
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Beijing Olympic Opening Ceremonies

Despite all the rumbling and controversy over holding the Olympics in Beijing, China this year, they certainly did put on quite an amazing performance. There was a stark contrast between the bright, shiny optimism that was presented to the public throughout the games, and the undercurrent of China's not so-shiny human rights record. Just had to interject a little politics there....
Now that the Olympics are almost over, I am anticipating the closing ceremonies. Will they be nearly as cool as the opening ones? Here's a little recap of what we saw.
The bold use of traditional Chinese colors really drew viewers in.
And the massive scale of performers was hard to grasp.
Repetition of pattern, shape, and beautiful
During this number, the tv announcer mentioned that these costumes were originally created in black, but that during a rehearsal near the end, the designer didn't like how things looked, and had every costume re-created in green.
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I'd love to know how much "digital enhancement" was used, and how much of that bright saturated color was reality.

Evidently, the closing ceremonies are being shown in my area of the world tonight (Sunday), but here's a sneak peak for those who haven't or won't get a chance to see them.
The media guide described the finale as "the grandest carnival of mankind."(source)
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For those of you who saw the opening or closing ceremonies, what did you think? Did the color grab your attention?

Upcoming Color Contest

I'm really excited to reveal a new coloring contest that I'm in the process of setting up for you all. A little teaser: it will be an exterior this time.
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In organizing this, I wanted to ask for your suggestions.
  • What would be a great prize for the winner(s)? (within reason, of course)
  • And would you prefer for the competition to be judged by me, or would you all like to vote for different categories?
Stay tuned!

Bathroom Nightmare: Conclusion

I wanted to share with you the results of our bathroom paint make-over. Several readers astutely suggested brown, and it worked marvelously. I used a deep brown with purple undertones to bring everything together. We went from a hideous space with a mish-mash of crazy peaches and green to a room where the emphasis is drawn away from the floor, balanced with rich dark chocolate pudding-colored walls with milk chocolate ceilings. Yum.
In this case, there was no reason to draw attention to the ceiling by leaving it white, and so by creating a tint of the wall color, added cohesion to the fifth wall, joining it with the rest of the space. To have painted it the same color as the walls might have felt a bit too oppressive with such a deep tone.
SO MUCH better, don't you think? All your fresh perspectives and fantastic ideas really helped me see beyond what was right in front of me, and develop a solution that brought everything together. You are fantastic colorists!

Chihuly's colors

I just came back from seeing an amazing exhibit of Dale Chihuly, a glass blowing artist, at the de Young museum in San Francisco. For those of you in the vicinity, I highly suggest checking it out. Very accessible art, Chihuly creates glass forms like you've never seen before.
There is a great flickr slideshow you can check out, too.
To give you a greater appreciation for the process behind how these pieces were conceived and created, there's a documentary called Chihuly in the Hotshop that I believe you can rent.
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To get an idea of scale, these things are huge- much wider than one person could wrap his arms around.
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The riot of color is intense, and to really appreciate the nuances, you really have to give each piece a chance to sink in. Otherwise, it can be rather overwhelming. The emphasis here is obviously on theatrical impact.
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But I love the subtleties that emerged once you really took in each object on its own. Just lovely.

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Each room showcased items from a particular series. Can you see how enormous these things are?
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This one was called Tabac baskets, and were modeled after Native American woven baskets, both in their slumped forms, textural drawings, and subdued natural tones. A total departure from the dayglo colors of all his other series.

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A bit like stepping into a Dr. Seuss book, don't you think? Wild colors, crazy twirly swirly shapes... My question is, how the heck is that balanced not to tip over? Can't you just see this color combo in a child's playroom or brightly colored throw pillow?
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This gondola was literally exploding with insane glass pieces. Displayed on black glass with dramatic lighting, the overall look was quite striking.
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Love the contrasts created here with the saturated lilac stems against greyish-brown wood. It's the juxtapositions that really make this work.
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These balls were based on the Japanese fishing floats. But on a much grander scale, sometimes up to 40" in diameter, and up to 80 pounds each.
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Notice the pairing of brights next to more muted tones, lights next to darks, small balls beside larger ones? The contrasts really help add to the dramatic impact of these designs. Something to think about when you are doing your own designs.

Which is your favorite? Why do you like those particular colors?

Olympic's Water Cube goes LED color crazy

For any of you who have been watching the Olympics on tv (or maybe even in person!), you must have noticed the spectacular "Water Cube" aquatic center created especially for the Beijing Olympics.
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A few fun facts about the Water Cube:
  • Approximately 496,000 LEDs in red, green and blue illuminate the exterior of the building
  • The Water Cube is made of 3,000 “bubbles,” each with the ability to display millions of different colors. The design was inspired by soap bubbles.
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  • The exterior displays a different color pattern each evening. The patterns are computer-controlled. It's programmed to display different colored designs, including ones inspired by themes including “Blooming Flowers,”” Rainy Day” and “Night at the Disco.”
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  • The Water Cube’s bubbles trap more heat than glass, reducing total energy requirements by 30 percent. This is the equivalent of mounting solar panels on the roof. (source)
The concept behind the ever-changing facade is quite brilliant. "We wanted the building to dematerialize, to change moods, to react to changes in the environment around it," says Min Wang, a design principal with China Construction Design International (CCDI) (source) "Water has no fixed image. It can be still, it can reflect the sky, or it can have big waves." How cool is that? I love the idea of movement within a permanent structure. And what better way to achieve that goal than with color!

What were they thinking?

Talk about hideous color choices. I have a new one to add my collection.
My mother-in-law pointed this out to me in her hometown of Capitola in Santa Cruz, a super cute little beach town on the coast of CA.
Evidently, this old-time strip mall just got a "refreshing" face lift from management. What I want to know is, WHAT were they thinking?!

Fitting into the environment

Notes from our cross-country drive

It was my turn to drive, and as we were zipping across Ohio (at least, I think that's where we were!) I was admiring the green countryside when something caught my attention in a big way. Fumbling for my camera while trying to keep our car on the road, I managed to snap a few pictures as we whizzed by. Can you figure out what I was so excited about?
Here a clue- it's a man-made structure...

Did you guess the power lines? If not, take a closer look at their color.
That's right, they are a beautiful shade of sky blue! How thrilling to see that a public works department took the time and foresight to select a color that would blend harmoniously into the environment. After all, power lines don't have to be white or gray or black.

How cool is that? Have you seen any man-made structures that have been colored carefully to complement it's surroundings? If you've got pictures, please share with us, and I'll post your discoveries!

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Color Names

Have any of you seen the new Dell computer commercial on tv? The ad is for colorful laptops, set to a rather cute and catchy song about colors.
"Colors" by Kira Willey
I am green today
I chirp with joy like a cricket song.
I am orange today
Loud and messy like fingerpaint on the wall...

I love that companies are branching out to offer a variety of color options for their products. After all, not everyone is satisfied with gray, silver, or black, which used to be the norm for most electronic devices.

But I digress.

I like the new approach, but whenever I see the commercial, find it unsettling that the names of the colors don't match up with the colors you see in the video. Check it out here.
"I am orange today" is matched up with a bright fuchsia laptop.
Does anyone else find it uncomfortable when the names of colors don't match up with the actual colors?

Our Stuff Finally Came

Just a quick update for you all:

More than a month after we said goodbye to our possessions, we finally received the shipment today. Phew! We now have to file an enormous claim with Bekins (horrible, no good moving company) for reimbursements and missing items. Wouldn't you know it, the things missing in our shipment were my architectural color chip boxes. So sad. I guess it could have been worse. Of course, I haven't actually opened any of the mangled boxes that arrived today, so who knows how my computer held up. Cross your fingers it's okay...

Anyways, I should be back up and running with regular posts just as soon as I set up my office. More to come very soon!

Color Nightmare, Part II

I love, love, love everyone's great ideas to help fix up my nightmare bathroom. From lilac to clay, everyone had such creative solutions, I was super impressed. Reader (and fellow color consultant) Jessica even went so far as to do some virtual mock-ups with some paint ideas. Thanks SO much!
Balsam 567, Arizona Canyon 1211, and AF-630 Kalamata (all BM)

After giving it some more thought, and considering all the wonderful options you all suggested, we have settled (so far) on a rich brown with purple undertones- BM's Rural Earth 1239. The purple (suggested by several readers) was a great idea, as it turns the peach and green into a variation of a secondary color scheme (orange/green/purple)
A quick virtual mock-up to get an idea of how it will look.

I swear, I must have tried out practically every color in the fan deck. I didn't want to add any more activity to an already colorfully-overloaded space, so finding something to neutralize the peach that didn't clash with that mint was really hard. Reader Kelly mentioned it felt bottom- heavy, and I think that is really true. All that activity down below, with nothing to balance it above.
So, there's no turning back now, as the gray primer is up! Next step, the real paint. Then, if we're satisfied, onto figuring out towel, rug, and curtain colors. Any thoughts?

Thanks SO MUCH for all your wonderful help- I really appreciate it!