A Turquoise World Is Not Enough

Friday, March 26, 2010 colour Aesthetic Philosophy

I love blue. It speaks to me. Like many artists and designers before and with me, I’ve learned to draw on all colours with equal dexterity, tailoring palettes to each client, purpose or project, but for myself and in my home, no other hue comes quiveringly close to big sky blues and watery turquoises. No colour holds sway over my consciousness like midnight blue and International Klein Blue, nor sings like the sapphire-domed mosques of Samarkand…or this blue mini-village (a house!) in Rotterdam!

Photos: Stijn & Marie (via The New York Times Magazine)

Stormy blues recall summers on the Pacific coast, foraging for shells in ever-fading light. A singular vibrant hue achieved by layering Mr. Sketch blue and turquoise, infused with some anonymous chemist’s syrupy rendition of blueberry and mango, awakens ancient memories of art-making in the sun-dappled light of my parents’ dining room floor. Blues are unbound oceans and thrown-open windows, densely alive with both past and future history.

I’m glad to see blue at the forefront of The Great Western Collective Consciousness (blue, or rather turquoise, so consumes Erin of House of Turquoise that she blogs about turquoise interiors all day, every day), but I’ve been observing trends long enough to know that for every in there’s also an out. A proliferation of periwinkle pillows now inevitably leads to a box of blue tchotchkes destined for Goodwill later.

SO…nearly 719 words, 23 pictures, and 3 videos later, let me tell you how it really is:

I write about blue (and turquoise) because I love it (them), and I keep blue (and turquoise) because I love it (them). If yellow was my favourite colour, and yellow happened to be the Pantone Colour of the Year and yellow accessories started popping up everywhere, heck, you’d probably have just read…790 words dedicated to the jaunty wonder that is yellow.

Stephen Drucker, Editor-in-Chief of House Beautiful magazine, writes

I’ve been a decorating magazine editor for thirty years. I’ve patiently endured decades of the so-called “science of color.”

I’ve been through “prisons should be painted pink because it calms down the inmates.” OMG, love love love pink, let’s not make shivs, let’s compare tattoos.

I’ve read “studies” that show people who like purple are individualistic and people who like yellow are happy and people who like red are outgoing. No shit.

I’ve sat through endless color “forecasts” about how everybody’s going to buy yellow towels for their bathrooms this year because it’s the hot fashion color. Trust me, they won’t.

Color is like sex. It’s mysterious. It’s unknowable. It never looks the same twice. No two people see the same thing. No two people feel the same thing. I once went to China on a cruise ship. Eight hundred of us got off the ship wearing white, because it feels festive and shippy and says “I’m on a cruise.” In China white is the color of mourning. We looked insane.

Color is mostly unpredictable. Explain this: My biggest selling issue at House Beautiful in three years was a “color issue” about neutrals.


Why are we so determined to make color into a science? Why can’t we just leave it alone and enjoy it?

(Read the complete article here on Huffington Post.)

Look to colour not as an answer, but rather as a starting point for a question. What colour(s) do you like? How do particular colours make you feel? Do you associate memories with colours? Only by asking questions, by searching yourself for the right questions, by experimenting, by simply being curious…can you truly create a colourful event, interior, outfit, et al. that resonates with your unique and inscrutable soul.

Let colour be a discovery! Go forth and multiply! Paint the town red, if it be red that sets your loins afire. Put on pink in Paris, and experience the romance of la vie en rose. Play mime for a day and (silently) ask yourself, “Does it matter if it’s black or white?” Colour is fun! Have fun with it.

And with that, one for the lovers,

the leavers,

the libertines,

and the dreamers.

Thoughts and essays on the art and design of experiences, spaces, things and living from Christina and I-D BOHEMIA

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