Integral ColorViews Blog
It’s not quite a “household word” yet, but is definitely becoming a regularly accepted fact: including as many references to “nature” as possible—in any kind of space—leads to more healthy living and working environments. How this plays out in a very real, practical way is documented in some very interesting articles. You might say, it’s even a matter of common sense—and dollars.
We humans need to be connected to nature.
We hear this so much that it borders on sounding trite. But it’s an innate aspect of our biological makeup—we’re “hard-wired” with this need, and it’s a good one. The very real, physical concept of Biophilia brings it into a larger scale of relevance; architectural projects ranging from a variety of workplaces, manufacturing, offices, and especially health care, can reap the largest-scale benefits—from improving their financial conditions to creating more socially healthy civic communities, in general.
According to a fascinating short article I recently read, * ‘Biophilic Design Could Save Millions of Dollars,’ including more vegetation in cities would visibly reduce crime rates “7 percent,” and subsequently save tremendous amounts of money “in incarceration costs from violent and property crimes.”
At this point you might be saying…Ok, that’s interesting but “What About Me? What can I do in my own home go introduce a more nature-relevant quality?”
Even on a smaller, personal scale
there’s a huge benefit to creating associations to nature. Whether you have a small rented apartment, or a condo or home of any size that you own, you can really make a difference in the lives of yourself and family members.
So, on to a few quick comments about using color in your home or workplace, to help introduce some more natural qualities in addition to the houseplants you might already have, and your garden (which are a great start, by the way). We’re back to often-discussed topics included in what I often talk about: Supportive Color Design.
- Lighting: incorporate as much natural lighting as possible. Be sure to test your paint colors in all available lighting condition in your setting.
- Color: Specifically the benefits of using Full Spectrum Paint: Eliminate black and gray from your walls. Full spectrum paints using a minimum of 7 tints in each color will get you the closest to the colors of sunlight–at least as close as you can get considering it’s paint.
- Shapes: Beyond the typical room shapes, look at shapes in nature and see how you can bring those elements into your own home.
- Space design: Creating a comfortable and supportive interior environment: arrange your furniture and other decorative items in an orderly and balanced way for maximum comfort, taking into consideration their sizes, shapes, and placement in the space.
From the original article titled “The Economics of Biophilia” prepared by the environmental consulting and strategic planning firm, Terrapin Bright Green, is this statement by E.O. Wilson, the person who defined Biophilia:
“Biophilia is the innately emotional affiliation of human beings to other living organisms. Life around us exceeds in complexity and beauty anything else humanity is ever likely to encounter.” – E.O. Wilson, 1984
How do contemporary designers incorporate Biophilia in their own work? In ways not specifically “interior design” but even in specific products used in interiors. Wall coverings, office cubicle textiles, and the drapes in hospital patients’ rooms are just a few. Textile designer Laura Deubler Mercurio, whose work is shown in the image below, is a long-time colleague of mine through the IACC (International Association of Color Consultants). She is completely involved in Biophilic and fractal design, creating exciting, beautiful and thoughtful designs for woven textiles, that are used in the three types of locations I just mentioned.
Personally, I’d heard about Biophilia many years ago, and since then that awareness has had a significant connection to my own approach to Supportive Color Design, that applies to interior or exterior color design. Thanks to Eco-Structure.com, a publication of the AIA, for bringing this in-depth article to my attention.
What you’re reading in this post is intended to encourage you to read the entire, original article that you can download from the Terrapin Bright Green web site.
It’s not borrowed. It’s multicolored, and it’s sometimes blue.
Not talking about “June weddings.” In this case, it’s the ICFF show (International Contemporary Furniture Fair). A great place to see international contemporary culture expressed in design. Sometimes reflective of something old, and in many cases something new, and always interesting.
In any case, I always find this show enjoyable on many levels. Seeing many of the latest new products, color trends and design trends from international designers, and talking with some of them in person, is an experience I find fun and inspiring.
So, to share just a few of the items that piqued my interest for a number of reasons…
I enjoyed a brief conversation with Jamie Harris, the artist who created these beautiful hand blown glass light fixtures
Still on the subject of light, check out these amazing solid acrylic tubes. Colors infuse the entire material throughout, and the colors change as you move around the piece according to viewing angles. Even the edges are luminously multicolored
Imagine the setting for these beautifully sculptural light fixtures.
Moving along to see some furniture, something I always enjoy.
Note: the picture on their web site is Not of their ICFF booth…at least not the one I saw there.
And last, but not least, for now…
So much to see and enjoy in one day, these are just a few of my favorites.
Do you have a favorite? If so, which piece–and where would you use it?
A question I received recently about using deep color prompted me to share this topic with you. First of all, I’d like to state that Yes, you can be “Happy” using deep colors.
Q: We recently moved…
into a new contemporary high-rise home , and ditched all the British colonial/country French stuff. We’re still living with builder’s paint and are getting eager to make a change. We’d like to try something new (maybe charcoal!) but afraid it will end up a somber cave instead of elegant and crisp.
A: The question of using deep colors…
always comes with the concern “Won’t it make the space feel small?” Since there is not one simple answer to this, I wanted to briefly touch on a few ideas about the subject. You might call it “advice on psychology of painting darker colors”—but that has such a formidable sound, I’d rather call it “some tips about using deep colors.”
Psychological color associations are so interesting. “Darker colors” often are described as serious, depressing, sad, formidable (see above comment), and other similar mood-and-feeling descriptions. The flip side of the description might be “sophisticated, intimate, cozy, meditative, exotic, solid…” and so forth. In other words, there are many ways to look at how we describe and feel about color!
But psychological associations aside, we have the physical attributes of the space (lighting, room size, wall shapes, ceiling height, floor color and material) and the question of function (what you want to do there) are all part of the picture and process of choosing the best colors for your needs.
A few ideas on making a space elegant and crisp using deep colors
- Deep on the walls and ceiling, bright contrast on the trim.
- Select brightly colored accessories
- Use texture and light
- Use the deep colors of walls as a dramatic background for artwork or collections
- Use a deep color on an accent wall to extend the view in the room and expand the space.
Deep, earthy EcoHues Full Spectrum – Fieldstone in a very small bedroom, opens to EcoHues Full Spectrum – Pewter on walls and ceiling in the adjacent powder room. Cabinets and lower walls are EcoHues Full Spectrum – Char-Plum Gray.
Deep color on the walls of this kitchen “gallery” is Chocolate, from Ellen Kennon Full Spectrum paints.
Deep color again, this one is EcoHues Full Spectrum – Atlantis. Note the wall color is also used on the ceiling in the alcove portion of this space.(below)
Below: Deep on the trim, with contrast color on walls and ceiling (in this case, the ceiling is a soft tinted white)
Walls are Ellen Kennon Full Spectrum – Mustard Seed. Trim is Benjamin Moore HC-67.
Do have an experience using deeper colors that you would like to share?
My goal is to help create the best possible spaces with colors that help you enjoy your life and accomplish what you dream of doing. Let me help you “Get outside the box of off-white“ with colors for your vibrant life.
Silly mistakes will happen. Most recently here: posting something by mistake, then deleting it to try to correct the error, then deciding to re-post.
This recent post was brought to my attention today by a friendly reader who wrote me an email that the page was no longer available.
What’s good about that? Now I can make it better.
I’d posted an image of a decorative finish, a project in which I’d painted a linen-weave strie design in two colors, two layers. The problem was that I’d not included any info on the picture!
This can be a lovely way to create a hand-painted wall covering, using colors to create depth and interest.
How you do it
First layer, apply glaze evenly, blend, then drag vertically with a wallpaper brush. When it’s dry, do the second layer: the same process, different color, drag horizontally.
Tape off vertical sections and work in alternating areas. You will actually save some time because you can use a faster-drying glaze. By the time you work your way around the room you may be able to go back and do the 2nd layer. Granted, this may not work for all sizes and shapes of rooms but it is one way to do this process.
What’s your experience?
Have you made tech-errors that were embarrassing? On the other subject, have you tried DIY-decorative finishes that did not work out?
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