Friday, March 4, 2011

Black & White, Then Throw In a Dash of Color

Newborns perceive no color when they first enter the world. Sound and sensation overwhelm them, but soon color enters their consciousness. The primaries first, then, inexorably, all the tertiaries our atmosphere allows. Some designers work this way as well, ready to absorb sights and experience before embarking on a design.

Andre Kikoski's interiors for 1280 Fifth Avenue, a condominium tower, confirm my impression of him as a thoughtful and passionate architect/designer. His concept for the newest luxury condominiums in Harlem derive from Central Park (across the street) and the colors, textures and seasons playing themselves out there.

The Fifth Avenue tower, at the corner of East 110th Street, is the last building to be built along the famed Museum Mile and will serve as a grand archway to some of the most enviable collections in the world. Look for the Museum for African Art, occupying the first four floors of the  limestone-clad structure, to open in 12 to 18 months. The tower and museum are designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects.

Materials Kikoski and his team used in the lobby, elevator and the rest of the interiors include alabaster (or its digital equivalent), teak, limestone, parchment and glass tile. Light plays on all the surfaces because, sensitive to the sights just outside the windows, Kikoski chose to design fairly open, accessible floor plans, with airy kitchens and living areas from which the inhabitants can commune with the park and city beyond. Kikoski rightly called Harlem a "vibrant, fascinating neighborhood" that offered much to all willing to absorb the world beyond black and white.

Check out OHNY's blog:

There are, of course, many ways to perceive color. British band Radiohead's newest, The King of Limbs, offers another burst of brilliance. In the video for the band's single "Lotus Flower," greys, deep blacks and murky whites surrounds lead singer Thom Yorke's spasmodic movements. I thought it a curious choice at first. But the lack of color puts into sharp relief the textures and colors of the song and the album.

The video for "Lotus Flower":

Color is front and center in a 2008 piece by New York-based artist Jean Shin. I'd love to know if it's still installed in the Baltimore federal building, because it's worth a visit.

And despite the stubbornness of many a contemporary architect, color plays a vital role in minimalist design. Check out these posters by graphic designer David Lopez in honor of this year's Oscar best-picture contenders.

1 comment:

  1. Great insight! I see we are both becoming fans of "The Lotus"!!