Lisbon’s Light and Colours

For anyone who is even vaguely interested in colour and light  you really must visit Lisbon.  The clarity of the light is close to perfect helped of course by the  Atlantic Ocean and Tagus River reflecting light back on to this elegant city.

Old crumbling surfaces steeped in history, parched in the sun and beaten by strong salty winds present the most magical array of colours.



But in the same city, visit the Expo site built in 1998 and you will see squeaky clean shiny surfaces covering imaginative office buildings and pavilions.

And if this is not enough and interiors are more your thing, you will not be disappointed by the imaginative and often cutting edge designs gracing the city’s food havens – more about that in my next post….

The Hues of Decay

For a paint consultant to love peeling, flaky, rusty decayed surfaces is a bit of an anomaly but I do confess I am totally drawn to such weathered features. I have tried to figure out why this should be so, surely I should be seeking out squeaky clean well maintained pristine examples of paint but no, it’s definitely the ones “in need of attention” that catch my eye.

Of course the reason I and so many others are attracted to these surfaces is because they have created their own unique colour palettes – salt, oxygen, water, pollutants, resins all acting together in an open air chemistry lab to produce a vast selection of colours that we paint consultants can match and use in projects – but generally replicate on smooth and perfect surfaces……

It’s high time I thanked my subscribers for reading and commenting on my blog – you’ve no idea how much I appreciate it. I would also like to point out that I got quite a shock yesterday when I saw my blog on a pc. I work on a mac so the colours I am looking at are much lighter and brighter than the colours on a pc. This is rather an issue as most of the time as you know, I write about colour. It would be interesting to know how many of you are pc users. If it’s a lot, I will try to lighten up my images, just let me know. I also hope you don’t find my way of spelling colour too irritating –  I know most of my readers are American and Canadian, again just let me know!

Rough with the Smooth

I’ve been working with a lot of highly saturated colours recently so I now feel more than ready to pare down my palette and experiment with less weighty hues.

However, when I use colours which display only subtle contrasts I like to introduce an extra dimension to the room through texture.

Generally speaking, the more light reflected from a surface, the lighter that surface will look, not just in colour but it will appear physically lighter as well. A rough surface which absorbs a lot of light will appear “heavier” than a smooth surface which bounces much of the light back into the room. It is therefore easy to make textural contrasts by placing rough (heavy) surfaces next to smooth (light) surfaces.

rough and smooth textures

Textural contrast definitely adds a new layer to a room and the more layers you include the more interesting the space appears. However, it’s a relatively new concept to mix textures. If you visit a museum of a mansion house you will not see many textural contrasts in the interior but you will see plenty of colour contrasts. Textural contrasts is something that was introduced at a time when monochromatic colour schemes were popular and it became evident that the space require another layer of interest.

The “texture tool” is also great for changing a room’s ambience from a summer to a winter season. Rougher (heavier) textiles can easily be added to create some winter warmth and weight while lighter sheers and silks help to lighten a room for summer.

The recent trend for paler, cooler, less saturated colours looks likely to carry on past the Summer Solstice and through into Winter 2011/12 so make sure you add that third dimension into your interior and start experimenting with texture.