Posts tagged ‘design’
“Color can be a powerful way to evoke feelings and to connect interior and exterior spaces.”
Jody Beck of Traction Architecture became interested in architecture through studying art and architectural history.
“I loved the way that buildings could be unraveled to tell stories about distant times, places and cultures. By understanding the soaring space inside the nave of a Gothic cathedral, or the meticulous proportions of Palladio’s villas, you can learn a lot about the aspirations of the people who built them.”
The view of space as a conduit to story inspired us to learn more about this successful Florida-based company that often uses Modwalls‘ tiles in their work.
How does your company’s approach differ from other architects?
The phrase that most defines our work is “design for thoughtful living,” and by that we mean creating architecture that addresses the spirit of a place – not just its physical characteristics, but also the subjective narratives that it evokes. Many of our projects are houses, which, while humble in scale, are the single most important piece of architecture to the family who lives there.
We strive to create thoughtful spaces that address the way that people live and interact. We are interested in design that celebrates the mundane activities of the everyday, in creating moments that are suggestive of old memories and capable of generating new ones.
How do you use color in your work?
Our work is generally pretty subtle, especially when it comes to finishes. Sometimes we like to let a well-chosen color set the mood for a space. We try not to overpower the sensory experience but a judicious flash of color can have a big impact.
“Seagrass” is a favorite but also, in the strong Florida sun, we like some of the quieter shades such as “Thistle” & “Rain”. We like the richness and consistency of the colors in the Modwalls’ tiles.
Color can also be a powerful way to evoke feelings and to connect interior and exterior spaces.
In one of our projects, the Bougainvillea House, a deeply inset window is positioned at eye level to serve as an oculus to focus the view. The exterior head, sill and jambs of the oculus are painted a vivid blue that casts a calming glow into the space suggesting the sky and the nearby sea.
Speaking of color – you lit up the sky with your Sky Striker installation. Can you tell us a little about that and how you came up with it?
Sky Striker was an interactive urban experience that transformed an iconic cylindrical-shaped Tampa skyscraper into a giant carnival game.
Participants – young, old, big and small – lit up the city’s skyline by swinging a mallet and striking a carnival high-striker that was wirelessly connected to light fixtures throughout the Tower. With each hit, the puck shot up the machine and simultaneously illuminated rings of light around the building, broadcasting the strength of each participant across the skyline.
We wanted a way for the average ‘passer-by’ to be able to interact with this landmark in Tampa’s skyline and have that person be able to transmit what they were doing visually to people across the city.
Inevitably, people miles away were staring at the blinking lights in the skyscraper thinking ‘what’s going on downtown?’ Tapping into that sense of wonder and observing people engage with architecture on a range of scales was both fun and thought-provoking for us and our firm.
What are some examples of how design can enhance the every day?
One example that comes to mind is the creation of framed views. Sometimes, instead of providing the maximum view possible, if you deny a general view but curate a specific view, you can draw attention to aspects of the environment that may otherwise be overlooked. For example, a view highlighting a single tree or branch of a tree can illuminate the texture of the bark or the arch of a twig – the details that are hard to notice when viewing the whole forest.
How can transformed spaces transform lives?
We design many of our homes around an open den area, which we think of as a “modern hearth.” It’s often elevated above the main living space, so that it is visually connected but separate. It’s a special space where family can gather for a wide range of interactions – helpings kids with homework, working on a puzzle, planning the next pillow fort, or simply a place for quiet contemplation.
“Red hibiscus – it’s almost like a kiss.”
That is how artist, resort-wear designer, and illustrator, Dana Cooper, describes a color. “Green, for me, is the color of happiness. It’s one of my favorite colors – specifically lime green. Also, turquoise and aqua because they remind me of the ocean.”
Cooper’s resort and swimwear reflect the colors and environments of her native home in Bermuda. Her father was a sailor so when she wasn’t with him on the boat, she was running barefoot on the beach.
“You’re surrounded by the Atlantic, and the colors of the sky…it’s like watching God in motion.” She talks about shades of blue, orange, magenta, and “tons of rainbows.” These are the colors she captures in her work, first as an illustrator, and then as a clothing designer.
WHEN ONE DOOR CLOSES…
“In 2005, I got divorced, and I designed my first beach wrap. It was basically a leap of faith.”
A textile manufacturer from Bali encouraged her to take her colorful illustrations off the page and transfer them to fabric. She started with a leaf design found along the shores of Bermuda and Florida and added beads to it. Much to her surprise, the orders started pouring in.
“An old friend of mine who works in the fashion industry started a company and wanted to take my design one step further, so we went from a square beach wrap to dresses, skirts, and other stuff.”
Soon her line was sold at Saks, Calypso, and small, hip boutiques. In 2013, she branched out on her own.
“People respond to the prints; they resonate. They’re seeing a landscape. It’s a landscape embedded in my mind.”
She splits her time between Bermuda and New York, and is proud of the fact that all her work is made in the U.S. and hand sewn in New York. Her line includes SPF fabric, which is in high demand, and there has been interest in expanding her collection to include home textiles such as duvet covers, pillows and sheet sets. “People have remarked how soft they are. They’re like a baby’s blanket.”
To view more of Dana Cooper’s designs, visit her website and receive 10% off their first order – just mention your friends at Modwalls!
Micheline Auger is a freelance writer who loves art, design and all things Modwalls.
What do tiles and chakras have in common? “Chakra-wha?”
According to yoga philosophy, chakras are several points of physical or spiritual energy in the human body. Each chakra has a corresponding color and affects us in its own unique way. When you walk into a room and feel really good, is it amazing design or the vibration of color? Or both?
“When the energy center, or chakra, is blocked or weak, physical and emotional dysfunction can occur,” says Dr. Alicia Armistead of Healing Arts NYC. Dr. Armistead is a color therapist, chiropractor, and one of only a handful of practitioners in New York City to be certified as a Master in Nutrition Response Testing.
So how does it actually work? How does color work with the chakras to promote healing and balance?
“There are different ways to go about color therapy,” says Armistead. “Many times a patient explains their emotional state and physical symptoms with a color therapy practitioner and the practitioner decides which chakra to work on. When working on a chakra, different colored sunglasses can be used. For example, if the patient needs to strengthen their root chakra, I would then treat it by having the patient wear red sunglasses for 60 seconds. This treatment of color into the eyes stimulates the brain at a wavelength of about 700nm which resets the chakra energy.”
Armistead has developed the use of muscle testing or applied kinesiology in her approach to working with the chakras.
“In muscle testing, I put my hand in the patient’s energy field and if an energy field is weak, the muscle testing will show that. After finding out which one(s) go weak and then prioritizing which one needs the most healing, I then have the patient wear the appropriate colored sunglasses that correspond to the weak chakra.”
What if you don’t have access to a color therapist in your area? How can you use color to improve your life?
“There are many ways to stimulate the chakras other than wearing different colored sunglasses. For example, if you want to work on your throat chakra, you can wear blue, color a room blue, decorate with blue fabrics, blue candles, etc.”
“My treatment room is colored a light purple to help have patients’ crown chakra open for healing. I also wear purple-lensed sunglasses in my daily life which help my own crown chakra. I pick out my outfits in the morning depending on how I am feeling and what chakra I want to strength for the day. So if I feel my root chakra needs help, I will specifically wear red that day.”
So the next time you enter a room and feel calm or agitated, look around and see what colors are present. Look at our tile samples and see how they make you feel and then imagine being surrounded in that feeling. Does that feeling suit a kitchen where you might want a sense of vitality and optimism, or a bedroom where you may want to nurture a feeling of calm and serenity? Dr. Armistead helps us remember that spaces are both inner (your body and mind) and outer (your home and office), and that color transcends the surface to affect the beautifully essential.
Have you ever gone to a paint store, fell in love with a color, then came home and put it on your wall and your beautiful little heart sank? How did that warm “Bahamian Coral” (Ok, 80’s, I know) turn into the interior bathroom wall of One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest? Who knew that “Sea Breeze” was really lost-in-the-back-of-the-fridge pea soup? That’s where a color expert comes in.
“It is absolutely overwhelming to be confronted by seemingly millions of different colors, especially if you are also under time constraints,” says Jennifer Ott of Jennifer Ott Design. “Even if you don’t have the budget for full interior design services, you might be able to swing a quick consultation with a designer or color consultant. Many color pros will work for a fixed fee, or will charge hourly but are willing to take on small jobs — as little as a few hours worth.”
Jennifer’s company provides exterior color consultations to homeowners anywhere in the world. They use renderings and large-size paint swatches to help clients visualize the colors they recommend, all for a fixed fee starting as low as $395.
“When you factor in the cost of numerous unsuccessful paint samples, or, worse, the cost of having to repaint your entire house because you are unhappy with results, a few hundred dollars up front to get a great color palette can be a smart investment.”
For those of you that happen to live in the San Francisco Bay area, Jennifer can also help you with interior color consultation. But if you don’t, fear not! We have some handy Jennifer Ott tips just for you.
“When selecting color for a space, I advise clients to focus first on items that are big, expensive, and come in limited colors and patterns. By picking those items first, a palette will start to develop, and it’s easier to then add in things like tile, paint, and decorative accessories that come in all manner of colors and tend to be the less expensive items in a space. I find this is more successful than trying to select colors for everything in one fell swoop, which is almost always overwhelming and stressful.”
What about color trends? How do you update your home without running into the fear that soon it will become outdated? Jennifer advises to avoid trends unless you’re willing to change everything when the next trend comes along. She works closely with clients to help them figure out what colors they love and then advises them on the best way to incorporate them.
“I’m not a design tyrant or diva and I don’t let my ego get into the way. I want to partner with homeowners to find the best solutions to their design challenges. I crave and savor the back and forth interaction I have with clients who care about and are engaged in the process.”
What if you like bold, vibrant colors and lots of texture? How do you find the right balance? (Which is really the key to having it all!) Jennifer suggests that a good rule of thumb is to limit those colors to items or areas of your home that are deserving of the attention. If you have an item with an interesting texture that you want to highlight, it’s good to let it stand on it’s own and leave the bold colors to draw attention to shapes and forms.
“This is actually the basis of a successful light and neutral palette — you need to include items that have pleasing and varying textures, sheens, and finishes, to create a rich and interesting space. My most frequent piece of advice is to use bold colors for items that are relatively easy and affordable to change out — items such as paint, accent pillows, throws, etc. Neutrals are great for things you want to keep around for a good long time, such as your flooring, countertops, and cabinetry.
There are so many way to use color. You can use color to make a room seem larger, warmer or cozier.
“I follow the notion that cool colors visually recede and warm colors advance. So if you want to create a warm and cozy vibe, go for the warmer hues of red, orange, yellow or brown. If you are looking to make a room feel more open and expansive, go for the cooler hues of green, blue, purple, and gray. Darker colors usually feel heavy and somber, so I avoid using them in large amounts. They are best limited to accents in a room, and are actually great for adding drama to a space. I also tend to tailor the color palette to the homeowner’s climate. Those residing in cold and overcast climates should consider bringing in warmer tones, wheras those in hotter climates might favor cooler hues.”
So the key to having it all is working with a color specialist, clarifying what you love, and creating spaces and places that make you feel good.
Shawn Dulaney has worked as a painter for over three decades. Her paintings can be found in extensive public collections worldwide, as well as in the private collections of author Annie Proulx, actor Steve Buscemi, artist Jo Andres, talk-show host Conan O’Brian and musician Stuart Copeland.
Her landscapes have also appeared in episodes of TV’s Sex & the City and Portlandia, the films It’s Complicated and Interview, and in the HBO series Enlightened. Her work has been reviewed in ARTnews Magazine and the New York Times, and has been featured in Parabola Magazine and New American Paintings.
Modwalls wanted to grab a few minutes with her to talk about her approach to color and design. She describes her work as “layered constructions of color merging to form spacious abstractions where nature references correspond to human emotional state.”
William Zimmer of the New York Times says, “Shawn Dulaney is deliberately out for grandeur. but she is also out for intimacy. Her paintings take advantage of their innate ambiguity and declare themselves to be very current in the thinking that lies behind them.”
How does color inform your work?
I love the alchemy that happens between physical materials, intuition and inspiration. I use color as the primary vehicle in attempting to create something experiential and ephemeral.
When I start a painting, I have a sense of what it will feel like at the end, then I begin to search for that feeling usually to find something else entirely. I may start with some reference, i.e. a cloud, a horizon, an event in nature, etc., and then it becomes a process of reducing that down to its essence. This way the color can be experienced as a metaphor or vehicle.
I am inspired, nourished and transported by color.
The art world, as in design, can be influenced by trends. How do you deal with the influence of trends in your work?
Trends don’t influence me. I try to be true to my own voice and essence. When I work, it requires a focus much like meditation where I empty my mind and become receptive. I know this spills over into my daily life. It helps keep me grounded and in the present moment.
To contact Shawn about her work, email firstname.lastname@example.org