Guest Post: Harmonizing colors

Today, my guest blogger is Safir Kaylan. She is a color specialist whose work has encompassed major home appliances, counter top appliances, stand mixers, furniture and textiles. She has worked for Whirlpool Corporation and its subsidiary brands such as KitchenAid, Kenmore, Maytag, and Jenn-Air. The full spectrum of color subjects, from science to art and design, is her passion. Recently, she has
been supporting, communicating, and advocating color education, color relativity and the recognition of color by contributing feature articles to various media, namely Decotime and Maison Francaise. She also has a blog,

Inspired by The Mediterranean colors
by Safir Kaylan

Recently, I have been focusing on harmonizing colors with free studies based on Josef Albers' methods while traveling back and forth between Turkey and Michigan.

The idea of East and West combined with the Albers' intuitive approach to color inspired me to write a few words about the colors of Mediterranean.

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Josef Albers was a teacher, writer, painter and color theorist. In his print series of Homage to Square he examines the interactions of colors using the simplest form squares arranged concentrically. He also developed a pedogogical method to teach color for design and art students. He says that color has many faces and can be deceptive. Albers also points out that “Color is the most relative medium in art”. Alber's course was not a theory of color, but a method intended to sharpen the eye and provide some understanding about how color behaves in different contexts. (source)

The Mediterranean sea is surrounded by twenty one countries and three continents. It is where east and west mingle.

The Mediterranean region has a pleasant climate, rich history, plenty of vegetables and fruits, beautiful nature, healthy kitchen and a mix of diverse cultures. The use of colors in interiors, for objects and in art represents the richness of this region's characteristics.

Some interiors have a mystical quality about them, as if two unlikely elements have come together to form a composition. This reminds me of Albers' encouragement to use any colors and to make them work. Also, the quality of the Mediterranean colors originates in its rich natural resources. The quantity of colors used in spaces create dramatic sensations and interesting visuals. The use of materials is natural. The finishes also reflect the authentic textures of the environment.

Some of the Mediterranean colors are rough and earthy. Some of them have evolved from the beautiful nature of the region. Others depict the climate and the farmland. They include colors like warm terracotta, buttery yellows, corals, eggplant and lavender.

Yellows, oranges and deep reds represent the fantastic sunsets of the area. Yellow, pink and greens are found along the coastal areas in lush countryside. Seaviews are breathtaking. Blues are inspired from the sea ; they bring splashes into spaces. Nature provides a great sense of color harmony. Surrounded by this fabulous natural palette one could not consider using any other tool for selecting colors but his or her own intuition and senses.

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This “hard to explain” sense of color balance that exists within each of us grows more complex as we explore new places. For me, discovering Albers' approach to colors as well as my various travels have brought me to this new place where seeing colors become an inspiring and delightful experience. Colors give us a large amount of possibilities. As professionals in the field of design and art, exploring in the magic of color with the hopes of bringing its subtlety into our projects can be a strong starting point.