Berlin Philharmonie

September 28, 2010


Color Theory and my Toes

September 16, 2010

I was getting my nails done with my mom one day and decided to get my nails painted this bluish-green color. It was a cross between an emerald green and turquoise blue. A few days after I got my nails done, I was hanging out at the park with a friend when I looked down at my feet and noticed my nails looked extremely blue. I was a little surprised at the change in color i saw when i was at the park, as opposed to when I was back in the nail salon. I figured one of the reasons why my toes happened to look blue at the park, and a cross between emerald and turquoise at the salon, was that at the park I was surrounded by green trees, green grass, and the like. Compared to the green environment around me, my toes has lost that hint of emerald and appeared to be completely blue. Who would have figured I would see the notion of color theory on my feet, particularly my toes.

Another change in color happened when i was at work. In the interior environment, my toes appeared to lean more on the green side than on the blue. Thinking back on my reasons for the change in the park, I concluded that because the interior environment i was in at the moment was void of any green and was mostly a mixture of grays and black, that the hint of green in my toes was more profound when there was a lack of green in the surrounding environment.

Unfortunately, it is very hard to see the difference in the images. There is a major disconnect between the color our eyes perceive in real life, compared to the color a digital camera captures.

“The Light Inside” James Turrell – Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

September 16, 2010

As stated by Wikipedia, “Depth sensation is the ability to move accurately, or to respond consistently, based on the distances of objects in an environment.” (

And a little more scientific, “Human space perception is discussed in the context of the environmental geometry around a moving eye. It is shown that the interpretive scaling of visual angle is a key factor in size, distance, and motion estimation.” (

The major reason for a lack of hand-eye coordination most likely comes from depth perception or depth “sensation”. This apparently is the sense that one’s eye is linked directly to the movements of one’s body, informing them where other objects are located as well as the surrounding environment elements (ramp, stairs, walls, etc). Without color, the eye seems to perceive surface as a continuous plane, not allowing a differentiation of these elements. I am stuck between trying to decide if coming in contact with a space that is monochromatic is distracting from normal bodily activities such as walking, or whether makes an individual more conscious of their movements.

On one hand, you will definitely need to be more conscious of your movements, but it could be just because of a lack of depth perception and after tripping multiple times, like i did when experiencing the red level of the Seattle Public Library, your mind starts telling you to pay attention to your movements. In this case, it would be an after effect and instinct to consider one’s movements through the space. On the other hand, it can be seen that one is so conscious of their movements first and foremost, that it becomes difficult to maneuver in such a space. In both scenarios, eventually the individual becomes aware of their movements for some reason or another, which is the fascinating aspect of monochromatic spaces.

This is thinking reminded me of artist James Turrell and his work that plays with depth perception and perception of space. Just as a monochromatic space begs for attention in the definition of planes and objects, his projects are often ambiguous in the lack of definition of where one object or plane begins or ends, often making the installation beyond trippy, but utterly confusing to the eye, mind, and body.

Central Saint Giles Elevation – Renzo Piano, London

September 6, 2010

The project is a 500,000 sq ft mixed-use scheme by developers Legal & General and Mitsubishi Estate Company and sits on a 0.7ha island site between Oxford Street and Covent Garden.

Doing some research… Here is what I’ve found regarding some color explanation of this building. I found this particular opinion interesting…

“……None of which explains the colours. Here you have to return to the planning system which demanded a building that was big and not-big at the same time, and which made Piano think that he had to go for a “fragmented” design, which would break up its bulk. He wanted to draw attention to the overlooked location by making a bit of a splash. He also claims to have been inspired by the colours of nearby brick walls, and by looking in the windows of local shops selling musical instruments, at the gaudy casings of guitars and drum kits.

This last explanation sounds a touch tenuous. I’d believe him more if he just said he felt like it, and that he wanted to break free of the many limits that designing speculative offices places on architects. But the important question is: does he pull it off? It might be charming in a four-year-old to splash colours around – “I’m gonna do this great BIIIIGG house wiv lotsa red an’ blue an’ orange an’ pink an’ green an’ purple” – is it in a 72-year-old architect?

I think he does pull it off, largely because of what the coloured stuff is. It is glazed ceramic, made with beautiful precision and assembled with a certain complexity. It’s not just a sheet of applied plastic, but something with depth and richness. And, powerful though the colours are, there’s judgment in their precise tones. I am glad there’s one building like this. I dread, however, cheap imitations. If other developers and their hack architects think they can get planning permission with slapped-on primaries, I will need a cool dark room in which to hide.”

Hotel Silken Puerta American in Madrid Spain by Zaha Hadid

September 1, 2010

Seattle Public Library – Rem Koolhaas

August 31, 2010

A more professional photo of the red space within the library.

Seattle Public Library – Rem Koolhaas

August 31, 2010

The red space was so shiny and monochromatic even my camera couldn’t properly focus within the space.

Palais des Congrès, Montreal – Hal Ingberg

August 31, 2010

Serpentine Pavilion – Jean Nouvel

August 31, 2010

Billy Wilder Theater

August 31, 2010