Tangerine Tango and Other Colour Treats
December 13, 2011 2:00 PM
This week seemed especially full of colour treats.
Treat #1: Pantone announced the Colour of the Year for 2012 and it is a favourite of mine! Tangerine Tango, Pantone #17-1463 (or variations like PPG Bay Coral 127-6 and PPG Cinnamon Stone 129-7). Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute said, "Reminiscent of the radiant shadings of a sunset, Tangerine Tango marries the vivaciousness and adrenaline rush of red with the friendliness and warmth of yellow, to form a high-visibility, magnetic hue that emanates heat and energy,” How perfect!
Room designed by Susan Diana Harris Interior Design, image from sfgate.houzz.com
Chairs designed by Herman Miller
Wishbone chair, designed by Hans J. Wegner, manufactured by Carl Hansen & Son
Deborah Lippmann's 'Super Model' nail polish
Treat #2: My daughter took me to Red at Canadian Stage, a play set in the late 1950s in the studio of New York abstract expressionist painter, Mark Rothko. It portrays him as he works on what was the largest ever modern art commission - $35,000 for a mural series for the Four Seasons Restaurant in the then new Seagram Building on Park Avenue. Rothko actually did thirty red paintings but not one ever hung in the restaurant. Rothko found the place too vulgar for such serious works. He gave back his advance and sent nine of dark red canvases to the Tate in London, England. They arrived the day he committed suicide in New York. By then in his paintings he was mostly using black. You may enjoy this video I found which takes you to the Tate for a recent show that reunited the thirty red pieces.
One from Rothko's Seagram commissioned series.
Treat #3: Cindy Bisaillon’s The Power of Colour series aired on CBC’s Ideas. I had the thrill of being part of it and in the company of some of my favorite colour authors:
- Victoria Finlay who wrote the delightful Colour: Travels Through the Paintbox.
- Philip Ball who wrote Bright Earth, a fascinating history of colour pigments.
- Charles A. Riley who wrote an odd but unique book called Color Codes: Modern Theories in Philosophy, Painting and Architecture that connects colour to art, music and literature.
In the second episode I especially like Riley’s description of van Gogh’s yellow house in Arles and the effect of its colour.
Treat #4: My hot-off-the-press copy of Eve Ashcraft’s The Right Color arrived. I confess I am a little envious of this New York colour designer who got to work with Martha Stewart on her first colour collection, the Araucuna Collection, based on the colour of Stewart’s hens’ eggs. Stewart might be challenging to work for, but she is a colour genius. Years ago, one of her colour team told me about going out to her farm and having to colour match things like the fur on the back of her dogs’ ears and the tarnish on her pewter collection. But most challenging of all was when she waltzed into the studio, threw her pearls down on the worktable and said, “Look at all the colours in these. They are beautiful and I want them all!” Yeah, Martha!
Eve has just done what I would kill to do: her own collection of 28 colour essentials (made by Fine Paints of Europe, the Farrow & Ball of U.S. paint companies). The collection includes two reds:
- Persimmon a bright red with the energy of Tangerine Tango
- Pomegranate a dark brooding red that evokes Rothko’s Seagram Series
Ashcraft’s book, which showcases the collection, does seem a bit like an ad and her colour guidance seems to state the obvious (maybe that is because we colour designers think alike - it was as if she were inside my head). But she did make me think about using colour on stair risers more bravely. White gets too scuffed and shows the dirt. I often tone it down or do two alternating tone-on-tone colours. But she used dark blue in an orange hall of a Georgian home. It did not look at all garish. It fit right in. Thank you Eve, for one more way to ditch some white and unify colour.
It was a great week!
Janice Lindsay is one of Canada's leading colour designers, with a wealth of experience in residential, commercial and institutional projects. She is a colour consultant, travels the continent speaking about colour and design, and is also a casaGURU GURU.