Barbara Cianci Horton, President Horton Lees Brogden
I admit that I love black and white movies, but I own a color TV. Color is vital to our visual world. That said, I organize our CD's by colorùnot by composer. Recently an art installation was created by an artist who rearranged a San Francisco bookstore's books by colorùnot author. My kind of store! We recently designed a color-changing lighting system for the Metlife Clock Tower building in New York City, which celebrates holidays, events, and acknowledges special occasions. It is a wonderful way to integrate color into architecture and celebrate our civic responsibility to the community. And I love when someone tells me that the building's color puts a smile on their face when they look out their living room window. More color please.
Tilotyama Nandy, Student, Masters in Architectural Lighting Hochschule, Wismar, Germany
Color is in fashion, especially when it comes to exterior lighting, but looking at these buildings, there is surely misuse of colored light in architecture. Each color has its respective connotation,
association and symbolism. It is necessary to understand the interpretation of these individual colors and the sensation created by them before applying it to architecture, and though associations with a particular color can be universal (for example, blue light recalls water, sky, and mysticism), color symbolism may differ from culture to culture. Colored light can impart identity to a space, but can also destroy it.
In Europe colored light is used quite intelligently and meaningfully, unlike in Asian countries, which suffer "colored light pollution." The reason for the misuse is apparent: the understanding of "colored light" by the lighting professional, and therefore its application to architecture. What we need to do is understand the space/architecture, its identity, and its inhabitants, before drenching it in the rain of colored light!
Kalynn Weiss, Southern Regional Sales Manager Erco Lighting
Through the ages, color has illicited emotional responses. The easiest and least expensive way to achieve this is with paint; another, with lighting. By use of color filters, LEDs, or the T5 RGB technology, the lighting designer can paint with light. This is easier said than done, however, because of blending and balancing color. Just because a budget allows, color may not benefit the design. We have to depend on the design influence the architect and consultants have on the owner to specify the materials appropriate for the environment they are building. There are all levels of design and clients. Some projects will be inspirational and some will not. Without the use of color, we might end up with a Richard Meier white project. Hmm, what would be wrong with that?
Paul Gregory, Principal Designer Focus Lighting
Just as beautiful reds and low-angle colored light can be found in the sunsets that coat the Mediterranean, the colors of light found in nature, when used tastefully in architectural projects, cannot be viewed as gimmicky. The creative use of light and color can evoke and convey emotions, making a project truly memorable, and inspiring the occupants to feel a connection with the space.
Color illumination is playing an increasingly important role in contemporary lighting design. The design arena is more competitive today, requiring that people be more "impressed." The bar has been raised, competition is fierce, and designers are required to "think outside the box" in order to get the owner's project recognized. Used in a sensitive way, colored light can add uniqueness and versatility to the design.
Thanks to people like Flavin and Turrell, colored light has become its own art medium. The role of color has always been an issue in architecture. Lately, we have been bombarded with color in architecture, from red then blue then green color-changing glass panels on office building fa?ades to brightly lit restaurant interiors. Color illumination must be used tastefully in the architectural lighting arena and carefully integrated into the design, using color to reveal the architecture and convey emotion, not using color for the sake of color.
Jesse Lilley, Communications Manager Martin Architectural
I was at a RIBA conference recently to "explore the potential of color in the built environment." There was agreement that architecture, where once monochrome, is now increasingly comfortable with color and colored lighting. The question for architects and lighting designers is no longer "should I," but "how?"
Jonathan Speirs of Speirs and Major Associates in London put it like this: Clients around the world are realizing that in order to develop a 24-hour economy and create vitality around their developments, it is important that their after-dark environments attract both 'esthetically and increase a sense of security. The use of color is increasingly being used as part of a building's appearance after dark.
There are many good and bad examples. Our primary concern is that, in many cases, the profligate use of color is not adding to the external or internal appearance, and hence, detracts and creates an eyesore. But where color reinforces the architectural concept or where it enhances the visitors' experience and understanding of a building, it is a positive tool and one that architects are only recently beginning to appreciate.
From our point of view as a manufacturer, we realize that the irresponsible use of color and the inevitable backlash that will follow could cause us harm, which is why we always encourage criticism and vigorous discussion.