Syrie is often credited with being the first designer to use all white, and while that isn’t entirely accurate, she certainly did her part to make it extremely fashionable in the ’20s and ’30s. Syrie’s all-white rooms were never stark white — she loved to play with shades of white and mix in pale greens, peaches and blues. She also loved to modify pieces and would strip, paint, pickle or crackle everything she could get her hands on; even the most precious of antiques were made to conform to her decor scheme. Her favorite pieces were French provincial antiques, and once any dark wood or paint was lightened or removed, they became the perfect complements to her rooms in shades of white.
Furniture was Maugham’s specialty: French provincial antiques and her own designs alike received the Maugham treatment. They were pickled or stripped, painted, or finished with a secret craquelure technique. “Cut it down and paint it white,” she would order her craftsmen.
People often raved about Maugham’s bright eyes, her pale skin and her black suits and frilly white blouses from Molyneux and Balenciaga. Her prices were high—“She knew what she could get away with,” observed Victor Afia. “It wasn’t the stuff so much as her talent she was charging for”—and her identification of antiques was often “casual.” Friends remembered her kindness; staff remembered her temper: “She could say ‘Je-e-e-sus’ like she was calling down all the gods on your head,” recalled a former employee. She threw a white satin bedroom slipper at American carpet and textile designer Marion Dorn. She was dictatorial, lowering a ceiling six inches when she didn’t have enough damask for the walls, and she once told a hesitant client, “If you don’t have ten thousand dollars to spend, I don’t want to waste my time.”
The book chronicles Maugham’s role as patron to young artists. She introduced decorative plasterwork by Oliver Messel, furniture by Jean-Michel Frank and his associates, and floral arrangements by Constance Spry. She also collaborated with the architect David Adler and his sister, decorator Frances Elkins. Her influence stretched beyond London, to American homes like those of tastemaker Babe Paley in New York and Jean Harlow in Hollywood. Her work also held sway on Cedric Gibbons’s set designs for Harlow’s film Dinner at Eight (1933). The all-white set required eleven shades of white to create sufficient contrast between wardrobe and furniture. There is an incredible portrait of Cecil Beaton’s sister, Baba, in a sleek, white Goddess-style evening dress, posing in Maugham’s “Party Room,” the room that made her sought-after and that resonated with the so-called Modernist style at that time.
Read more about Syrie in the lengthy articles on the links above
13.12.2012 @ MyModernMetropolis
Denmark-based Japanese artist Yuko Takada Keller creates delicate paper installations that wash a sense of calm and ease over the viewer. Each of her suspended constructions utilizes countless triangular pieces of tracing paper meticulously dyed in refreshing, pastel hues.
10.12.2012 @ Guardian and HuffingtonPost and LearnSomethingNewEveryday-365 FactsToFullfilYourLife
The fruit came first. The English word “orange” has made quite a journey to get here. The fruit originally came from China – the German word Apfelsine and the Dutch sinaasappel (Chinese apple) reflect this – but our word ultimately comes from the Old Persian “narang”. Early Persian emperors collected exotic trees for their landscape gardens, which may well have included orange trees. Arabs later traded the fruit and spread the word all the way to Moorish Spain; the Spanish word for orange is “naranja”. In Old French, the fruit became “orenge” and this was adopted into Middle English, eventually becoming our orange, fruit as well as colour.
10.12.2012 @ FastCoDesign
The Quakescape 3D Fabricator is a machine that turns earthquakes into art. Every time the ground in Christchurch starts to rumble, this machine catalogs it in color.
Humans navigate the world predominantly by sight. And yet there are colors and worlds we cannot see. Infrared light—light whose wavelength is longer than our eyes can detect—exists all around us. But we do not see it. Yet. Scientists have engineered some proteins to “see” infrared.
3.12.2012 @ It’sNiceThat
Carlos Cruz-Diez has been exploring the kinetic movement of colour in his celebrated works, creating interactive manufactured chambers that lures visitors to rethink their perceptions of colour in their everyday lives. The installation works in a very personal way, altering the colour of your skin, clothing and anything you so happen to be carrying on your person. It culminates to create an experience that adapts depending on what chamber you immerse yourself within, drawing attention to the individual experience of processing colour through a disruption in the way that light is received and understood.
n 1856, during Easter vacation from London’s Royal College of Chemistry, 18-year-old William Henry Perkin (1838–1907) synthesized mauve, or aniline purple—the first synthetic dyestuff—from chemicals derived from coal tar. Like Friedrich Wöhler’s accidental synthesis of urea, Perkin’s chemical manipulations were designed to produce a quite different product—quinine.
Perkin set up a factory (Perkin and Sons) on the banks of the Grand Union (then the Grand Junction) Canal in 1857 to produce mauveine. This small dyeworks was located on a 6-acre site just south of the Black Horse public House, in Greenford, West London. This pub survives to this day, and remains a “local” for the pharmaceutical giant, Glaxo SmithKline, which has its world headquarters nearby.
At the Royal Exhibition of 1862, Queen Victoria made an appearance in a silk gown dyed with mauveine. In the Imperial College chemistry archives, there is a sample of silk (approx 5 x 10 cm in size) dyed with a batch of the original dye synthesised in the 1850s, and a “penny lilac” postage stamp originally thought to have been dyed with the same compound.
The new colour fell of of fashion in the late 1860s, but out of one of the world’s first chemistry “R&D” laboratories, Perkin discovered two new dyes, Britannia Violet and Perkin’s Green (the water in the nearby Grand Union Canal was said to have turned a different colour every week- depending on what dyes were being made at the time). In 1869, Perkin synthesised the vivid natural red dye called Alizarin.
You may also find this book interesting: Mauve: How One Man Invented a Color That Changed the World, by Simon Garfield
19.11.2012 @ Oddee
8.8.2012 @ Art&Design
5.11.2012 @ PhillyPainting
Philly Painting is a neighborhood beautification project of unprecedented scale, set in North Philadelphia, around the Germantown and Lehigh Avenues. The goal is to mobilize the community to completely transform the commercial corridor and bring a new look.
2.10.2012 @ KnowledgeToday
The Blue Dragon (Glaucus atlanticus), one of the world’s rarest and most beautiful mollusks.
Glaucus atlanticus (common names sea swallow, blue glaucus, blue sea slug and blue ocean slug) is a species of small-sized blue sea slug, a pelagic aeolid nudibranch, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Glaucidae. This is the only species in the genus Glaucus, but is closely related to Glaucilla marginata, which sometimes is included in Glaucus
21.12.2012 @ PsychologyToday
(picture from LightsAllAround)
Synesthesia is characterized as a condition in which a sensory or cognitive input gives rise to atypical output. For example, you see a black number, and this gives rise to a sensation of green. Or you see a black letter and you taste lemon. One of the best-known forms of color synesthesia is grapheme-color synesthesia, in which numbers or letters are seen as colored. But lots of other forms of color synesthesia have been identified, including week-color synesthesia, sound-color synesthesia, taste-color synesthesia, fear-color synesthesia.
Synesthetic color experience is unique for each synesthete. For example, the letter A may trigger the color red in one grapheme-color synesthete but trigger the color blue in another. In fact, each grapheme has been found to trigger each of the 11 Berlin and Kay colors in different synesthetes (red, pink, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, blown, black, white, gray). Despite the uniqueness of synesthetic color experience, synethetic colors sometimes fall into certain clusters. For example, grapheme-color synesthetes tend to associate A with red, E with yellow or white, I with black or white and O with white.
Read the lengthy article in Psychology Today