The first thing French-born, Tokyo-based architect Emmanuelle Moureaux does when she sits down to tackle a new project is decide how many colors she’ll use. Eight? Fifteen? Thirty? Lime green? Lollipop pink? Sky blue? Whether the end product is an outrageously cheerful bank or a rainbow-bright lacquered cabinet, color is Moureaux’s preferred tool for evoking rhythm, depth, and emotion.
The architects of In Situ Design were so inspired by painter William Engel's super-concentrated "pour" paintings that they based the entire schema for new hotel The William on Engel's saturated color palette.
Scientists at 3M developed a film substitute for dichroic glass—whose iridescent coating is inspired by butterfly wings—that's coated with metallic oxides to provide its mutable finish.
For noted color enthusiasts, the Amsterdam-based designers Stefan Scholten and Carole Baijings have taken a slightly different tack in 2014. One of the most unusual—and lauded—commissions they presented during Milan Design Week was made of clear, etched glass. They relished the chance to break down their usual motif of colors applied in geometric grids or gradients. “It’s very layered and very new,” Scholten says of their Elements tumbler collection for J. Hill’s Standard, an Irish crystal manufacturer. “We’re using matte and polished finishes to adjust the compositions because texture is a huge influence on the experience of color.”
Among several major exhibitions of renowned textile artist Sheila Hicks's work in 2014—including a site-specific installation for the Whitney Biennial in Marcel Breuer’s Madison Avenue landmark, a temporary installation during Art Basel, and an addition to her first corporate commission at the Ford Foundation headquarters—Hicks put together a yearlong display at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris. The constantly-evolving Baoli—whose title references the immense, stair-stepped wells dug into the ground throughout western India—comprises 1,500 pounds of pigmented Sunbrella thread, bound together with acrylic net. The installation is visually distinctive, but, Hicks says, “The color I use is not conceptual or abstract; it’s color that has texture. There’s a big difference.”
Read our Q&A with graphic designer Ruth Lande Shuman, whose non-profit organization Publicolor has bringing the power of color to underserved New York City students since 1996.
Did you know the "signature" yellow of New York City taxicabs has never actually been standardized? That's just one of the factors Nissan considered when designing the ideal sunny hue for its new Taxi of Tomorrow.