What Colour for a Salvaged Interior?

Today, I find myself completely immersed in NCS colours as I am at the final stages of colour selection for a restaurant opening later this year. Key to the project is salvaging the fascinating semi- industrial building which is full of beautiful hinges, old bricks, timbers and worn and faded graphics. To keep the spirit of the building intact, the furniture and lighting has been sourced from redundant premises and recycled, stamping a clear message of sustainability and authenticity.

It is therefore crucial not to overpower the project with paint that looks in anyway synthetic. It must be strong and edgy but in no way contrived. As the building is such a large shell which will shortly harbour and protect it’s diners, I decided to look at containers, both man made and in nature to give me a steer.

I will be reporting back on this project as it progresses but please read on for some very good news.

It appears that there are some very exciting developments in the world of vision. As I’ve written about before our ageing eyes changes the way we perceive colour. Building regulations Part M, dictates what colours can be specified for buildings for the elderly as it is assumed that the yellowing of our eye’s lens alters the way we see colour and our ability to differentiate colour contrasts weakens. Particular colour combinations must be specified for door frames and walls to increase the visibility of doorways for elderly residents.

However, I have just received an e mail from  Professor Stanton Newman,
Dean of School of Health Sciences, City University London forwarded by Colour Group GB announcing a lecture tomorrow in London by the distinguished Professor John S Werner from the Department of Ophthalmology & Vision Science at the University of California, Davis.

His lecture, “What the aging eye can teach us about how we see”, will explore the misconception that with ageing colour perception is altered due to filtering by the ageing lens.

Using the one of the most celebrated case studies, the cataract and
paintings of the French Impressionist Claude Monet, Professor Werner
will demonstrate how the visual system continuously renormalises
itself to maintain stabile perception throughout the life span.
Monet’s paintings alongside recent laboratory results (including
high-resolution retinal imaging with adaptive optics).

I very much hope this is the case as working in colour myself, the thought of changing colour perception with age really concerns me. So, possibly some very good news to come out of this lecture. For those living in London, the event is free and is open to the public, details are as follows:

Title: “What the aging eye can teach us about how we see”
Time and Date: 1:15 – 2:15pm, 10th January 2012
Location: Room AG07 College Building, St John Street

14 thoughts on “What Colour for a Salvaged Interior?

  1. Your project sounds like so much fun! For some reason (?) a strong deep teal occurred to me as a counterpoint to the metal and wood. I recently re-watched The Last Station (about Tolstoy’s life) and the walls in one room were that extraordinary shade, both rich and elegant.

    I’m this week eagerly awaiting the arrival of an 18th c armoire I bid on long-distance at auction, pale blue paint. I love everything with sort of weathered patina.


    • I am so glad you commented Caitlin because actually I haven’t seen The Last Station but would really love to. I will hire it next weekend so thank you so much for the idea.
      Good luck with arrival of your armoire, it sounds wonderful and steeped in history and character.
      Interesting you say ‘deep teal’ because NCS have a fantastic deep teal ref S5030-B…….


  2. Wow – I had no idea that we perceive colour differently as we get older. I guess there are no body parts that don’t wear out eventually…

    I’m looking forward to seeing the colour(s) you choose for the restaurant. I’m envisioning an inky blue, for some reason.


    • Ha! I know, ‘wear and tear’ of body parts – not good!

      Mmm, we are on the same wavelength. Inky blue would be absolutely perfect in the space but there are deep bitter dark chocolate brown chairs which I don’t think will work with inky blue, although Im not ruling it out quite yet.


  3. I also had no idea that we perceive colour differently as we get older, so lets hope that it is a misconception. I am loving the colours in the rose bay willow herb photograph, so I am thinking of weathered greyish blues and pale yellow ochre.


    • Well the willow herb you posted on your blog recently obviously inspired me, so thanks for that! You should see my initial mood board, uncanny actually – I had ochre and a deep grey on it. The ochre had to go though because the client wants to keep it very dark and edgy and the ochre was probably too ‘coloured’. Grey has stayed though……but which grey……and once you look carefully there are so many hues within the coloured grey spectrum, I need to be very careful.


  4. Hi Charlene, Thanks for your comment and actually you just made me realise why blogging is so good. The comments on this post today have come from you in Australia, Claudia in Brazil, Elenanuez in Spain, Caitlin in New York City, Kelly in Canada & Sandra in England. It’s so good to be connected with like minded artists & writers around the world. Be in touch 🙂


  5. Your restaurant project sounds so fun! Can’t wait to see/hear more on that.

    Very interesting news about aging vision. UC Davis is not far from me, and they are always coming up with something fascinating to share with the world. Had no idea there was a Dept of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences! Thanks for sharing.


Please leave a comment, I really enjoy hearing from you

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s