Dynamics of Metal Surfaces

Although it’s normally colour I look at, today I am taking a look at metals and their various properties.

I am currently working on a large semi derelict building which reeks of character and punches it’s industrial past at you straight between the eyes. The space will become an edgy new restaurant, its colour palette nodding to its industrial past (the decayed properties of the space make it very alluring ), but should also transport visitors to a new set of urban aesthetics. The building has attitude and the colours and surfaces must acknowledge this.

Our chosen colour palette may require some metallic “lift” so I need to consider various properties that metals can display. Polished metal  has a high light reflective value (LRV) an effect which is magnified when placed next to a dark colour. If for example a gold panel is hung on a black wall, the gold will appear particularly bright. The black wall will absorb light and the gold panel will reflect light so the gold’s will appear luminous in contrast to the black which is absorbing the light.

Placing a reflective metal on a dark background will  make the edges of the metal more defined and the metal will appear “contained”, smaller but very bright. If you place the gold panel on a white background however, the gold panel will appear larger because the gold will “spill” or “grow” onto the surrounding lighter surface.

I also need to consider the “temperature” of metals. Silver is “cooler” than gold although it can be “warmed up” if used next to black. However, place silver against white and its “temperature” drops like a stone.

Silver is also highly influenced by surrounding colours and will actively seek out and reflect other colours in the room – much more so than gold. The Tony Cragg sculpture below is reflecting an adjacent yellow sculpture – also a Tony Cragg piece – presumably the curator has positioned the sculptures carefully in order to create another interactive dimension to the art work.

So now I have considered some of the dynamic properties of metal, I can’t wait to mix them into the equation and use them to breath another dimension into the project – a project I hope to post more on in the coming weeks.

A Game of Furniture Spotting

If you are interested in twentieth century furniture, you may well share the rather annoying habit I have of “furniture spotting” while watching films. Feeling the need to mention product names, who designed them, the year of manufacture is I am sure rather tedious for anyone wanting to concentrate on the film’s plot and I am trying to curb the habit but I thought you may like to do a little furniture spotting in  bica do sapato restaurant in Lisbon, described in the Lonely Planet as a “uberhip dockside restaurant part owned by John Malkovich.

The pink upholstered Warren Platner wire chair (1966) provides a perfect punch amongst the more sober Arne Jacobsen Series 7 chairs (1955).

The terrace chair, Joe Colombo ‘s iconic Sedia 4867 designed in 1968. The first industrially produced plastic chair made from a single mold. Practical and comfortable but also semi- formal in black next to the crisp white linen.

A twentieth century enthiast couldn’t complete the interior without some Mies Van der Rohe in the project (above). The Barcelona stools (1929) give the area a certain lived-in cache.

Look carefully above and you will spot Eero Saarinen ‘s tulip chairs (1955) creating a smooth, sleek modernism to the dining room (chairs which of course appeared in the 1955 Star Trek TV series). And as this is primarily a blog about colour, you will notice the designer has chosen the traditional Japanese four colour palette which dates back to the eighth century. Bright vermillion red, pure white, jet black and sky blue used together represent the “perfect” palette in Japanese culture. A good choice as the restaurant is famed for its sushi.

Well I’m afraid I had to concede defeat with the last piece of furniture I spotted. The lounger (below) was commissioned specially for the restaurant – a brilliant combination of an old army bed and clear plastic upholstery stuffed with hay, genius.

By the way, the food was good too…….