the world’s rarest colors
Mummies, Brazilwood and crushed beetles are the origins of some of the world’s most unusual colors. The Forbes Pigment Collection, located in the library of Harvard Art Museum, contains almost every pigment you could think of, including the rarest materials.
More than 2,500 different specimens collected from all across the world, each with its own backstory, origin, production and uses, are part of Edward Forbes’ life project. Forbes, an historian and director of Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University from 1910-44 is considered the father of art conservation in the US. It was widely through his extensive study of pigments that Forbes was able to determine the authenticity of paintings, knowing that centuries ago, finding one specific color meant trekking to a single mineral deposit in remote area in Afghanistan - the only place where it could be found.
Today, the collection is used mostly for scientific analysis – providing standard pigments to compare to unknowns. For the last 10 years, Narayan Khandekar, director of the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies at the Harvard Art Museum, is rebuilding the collection. Describing his research as the “work of a detective”, he adds to the collection modern pigments to better analyze 20th century and contemporary art pieces.
“Every pigment has its own story”, explains Khandekar the purpose of exploring key compounds of materials and mapping out precise chemical composition of pigment.
Apart from its scientific justification and its contribution to the study of art works, the pigment library is an intriguing place; Floor-to-ceiling walls of color, glass jars in rainbow colors sourced uniquely from the most unusual places; “Mummy Brown” extracted from Egyptian mummies, “Cochineal Red” made of beetles or “Cadmium Yellow”, bright and highly toxic.
Lior Fisher Shiloni
stories of light
Studio Dennis Parren, known for it’s CMYK Lamp, that projects coloured shadows, is a multidisciplinary design studio that focuses on using natural and artificial light as a design material. With a team of three designers and a network of experts, partners and freelancers they create their work.
They design from the idea that light is everything. Without light there is no colour, and no life. « We use light as a material to progress and innovate the way in which we experience, think about, and look at light. We use the mystery of colour and light to create new concepts, and use cases for light to innovate, educate, inspire and amaze." says Dennis Parren.
‘Gradient’ challenges you to stop and think about what you are actually looking at, as the eyes and mind try to make sense of what you are seeing.
Like the sun, white light consists of Red, Green & Blue light (RGB) and by carefully placing white expanded polystyrene shapes in a pattern under the RGB lights, they controlled how much light each shape reflects and which colours blend, resulting in a magical field of different coloured gradients.
By rotating the position of the red, green and blue light, different gradients became visible before making a dramatic pause to white light showing that this is no trick, just the simple blending of colours on white shaped material.
With ‘Reflections’ Studio Dennis Parren wanted to show how light reflects by trapping it inside different shapes. Catching the light and forcing it into a shape amplifies the reflection as it has nowhere to go. Dennis: « This results in a magical spectacle of bright colourful, almost fluorescent, light. »
LED technology has been a revolution for the light industry. A very popular, mass produced and cheap product is the LED strip, most often seen hidden away behind panels or underneath surfaces. Studio Dennis Parren wanted to do something new showing that there are other ways to use such a great product.
The Dotted Lamp uses the LED strip to show that it can be transformed into a delightful, simple and elegant lamp. In this case the design was inspired by the colourful an freely floating, dreamy jellyfish, a marvel of nature.
Light can be controlled by design to create beautiful patterns that tell us stories of colours, shadows and reflections.
We are living in a world full of boundaries, Berlin-based artist Katharina Grosse is trying to take these boundaries away with her art. Colour is the main feature in her work and an element to push boundaries and the imagination. She explores the impact of colour on regular materials, surfaces and architecture. Grosse: “colour has the potential to make us think.”
Easily recognizable, Grosse’s trademark are bright, fresh colours sprayed onto physical surfaces including wood, walls, plants and piles of dirt, creating an imaginary world within an actual human space. Turning these everyday objects into bright coloured installations, Grosse is creating a new reality.
Working with industrial spray guns expands her body’s reach and makes it very easy to move on rough surfaces or paint under difficult circumstances. This way of working makes it possible for her to create art on an impressive scale, think of architectural installations or even whole landscapes.
Bamboo van Kampen
Bamboo van Kampen, 26, is an all-round creative specializing in visuals and colors; she forms half of the Berlin-based duo Arturo Bamboo.
blue on blue
When I bought my plane ticket to Fez, pushed by a friend who showed me a photo of a pictoresque blue street, I was sure I was going by the sea. Sometimes it’ s extcing to leave without knowing exactly where the destination is. and what will happen.
The swimsuits I put in my suitcase were not to be useful since Chefchaouen is located in the middle of the Marocain mountain chaine of the Rif, surrounded by kif fields and hills full of horned goats (the translation of Chaouen is long horns).
Even if the town was opened to foreigners in the fifties and was nominated Heritage of Humanity by Unesco, Chaouen (the way locals call the citadel) exit the classic touristic routes of Morocco as Marrachech, Essaouira or Rabat. Visiting this place in low season, you can feel to be the only foreigner. The reason being its distance from the country’s main airports. From Fez, it takes 3 hours to arrive with a taxi, but it’s surely worth it.
The reality feels better than what a photo could picture. Leaving the cars and mess behind, I felt astonished by the peaceful beauty of the old Town, the Medina , of Chaouen. A labyrinth of blue streets, stairs, doors and windows, an unreal scenario, a blue picture that I will keep with me for ever.
Different stories surround Chaouen and the reason why the medina is fully painted of an intense pale blue. From Jewish to Berber, from Spanish to Andaluse, every people has contributed to build this place, to change it into an incredible meltin’ pot of cultures, creating its magic.
Slowness is mandatory here, the main occupations could be wandering through the streets, sneaking around the souks, talking with locals, visiting the river side full of nice bar where you can sit enjoying an avocado milk shake or a mint tea.
I couldn’t help taking millions of pictures of every lazy cat staring at the sun, of every blue door and window. of every tone of blue, of the hundred medina’s streets, of the artisan fabrics small shops or the amazing view upon the town from Casa Perleta’s terrace.
The photos can well reproduce the incredible beauty of ChefChaouen, but only getting lost in there can let you feel like being under the sea, or in an upside down world, in which the sky continues over the horizon , painting every wall and thought.
Fashion Designer and trend researcher, Chiara lives trying to catch every kind of inspiration. Based in Milan, four years ago she founded a lifestyle magazine with her best friends.
Man may not have walked on the moon in almost half a century, but increasingly our collective gaze is turned towards space. Since Felix Baumgartner’s jump from the stratosphere, our imagination has been captured by missions like Mars One, which has chosen 100 men and women out of 200 000 hopefuls to (perhaps) settle on Mars within the next two decades, and the Dawn spacecraft releasing photos of mysterious lights on Ceres, a planet far, far away.
If that boundless fascination with space had a soundtrack, it would certainly be Flavien Berger’s dreamy sounds, and in particular Océan Rouge, a song which he released last June and which was masterfully put into images by fellow collectif_sin member Robin Lachenal. From the road-trip which gets you out of the city and begins your journey to a manmade seaside resort on Mars, to the bizarre creatures and awesome waves which make up your long summer days, and finally the road back home with your head filled with beautiful memories, the 14-minute short takes you on a ten day holiday that is as strange as it feels familiar. In the lyrics, the extraordinary context is juxtaposed with mundane stories of summer romance and seaside descriptions, and out-of-this-world landscapes as those imagined by Ray Bradbury’s in his Martian Chronicles, which Berger names as one of his influences.
Talking about his newest album, which came out with Pan European Recording in April 2015, Berger explains that “I think that one hour of music is like a trip, temporal as well as spatial. What I would like to do is to offer this album, like someone would offer an amusement park attraction, or a film.” Painted with carefully chosen vocabulary and enhanced by floating synthesizer themes, Berger’s lost worlds are vividly visual, they’re a musical science-fiction tainted with nostalgia. Still, the dreaminess in Berger’s songs is counterbalanced by a strong bass which keeps driving them endlessly forward. Part of a growing French electro scene which embraces its mother tongue, Berger is one musician that’s worth to keep one eye out for, as much for his poesy as for his talent for artistic collaborations.
Mathilde Leblond is a trendwatcher based in Buenos Aires with a passion for creativity, beauty and the future. For Trend Tablet she contributes posts about some of the most arresting artists and creators which she scours the internet to find out about.
To balance our digital life we are looking for more and more sensual experiences, this explains why there is a trend for multi-sensory experiences. The goal is to heighten our awareness of the links between the 5 senses and makes us feel super-alive.
The Waldorf Project is one of those innovative projects: it is an immersive experience on a grand stage, in which art is taken in through all of the senses. It is a fusion of theatrical performance, choreography, visual arts and sound, together with the finest in food design and wine.
We were happy to feature the first chapter in Trendtablet two years ago. We are excited to share the teasing of Chapter Two. Once the event is on stage we will provide you with inspirational photos and a detailed report.
Chapter Two will delve into colour creating monochromatic environments in which the atmosphere, emotions and sheer power of colour saturation will be explored. The guests will experience what it feels like to eat, smell, hear and touch colour. At its zenith a new taste will be realized.
Seven pioneering practitioners in the worlds of visual art, choreography, theatre, design, electronic music and gastronomy unite to add their skills and imaginative minds. One can imagine the synergy between a food designer, a choreographer, a production designer, a product designer, a sommelier, and a sound designer, all directed by artist Sean Rogg.
The project will run in London over a number of installments for seven nights -Thursday 5 -Wednesday 11 February 2015 - with only 48 guests per night.
One of the most refreshing new talents in the world of knitwear and womenswear design is Ryan Roche, an avid pink devotee, upstate New Yorker and mother of three. Roche begun her creative journey with her conscientious children's wear label Mor Mor Rita, established ten years ago in Williamsburg.
Shortly after its launch, requests from brand enthusiast mothers for larger, women’s sizes, were too hard to ignore and Roche launched her namesake brand in 2011. It was a natural transition between the two, thanks to her prior following and since then the brand has gone from strength to strength. Currently waiting to hear results of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund in early November, where Roche is one of the finalists.
Her use of the colour pink is one of the brands most discerning factors; the colour features in every collection predominately and ranges from nudes and peaches, to neons, and back again. But rather than the age old stigmatism surrounding the ‘pink is for little girls’ idea, the palette is subtle and becoming, even tough at times. Quoted saying that, “no better colour exists in so many lovely shades”; within Roche’s world, pink is for women, and all their variations.
From time to time though, this intriguing use of specific colour overshadows the brilliance within the rest of the work. Beautiful hand crocheted pieces adorn nearly every season, as well as luxurious cashmere, knitted by a women’s cooperative in Nepal that Roche has been working with since 2004.
Not only that; the garments themselves are all relevant and contemporary - not that brazen transience found on the innumerable mass consumption catwalks - but a different fad free sense of style, shape and modernity.
The new Spring 2015 collection is a beautiful melange of quintessential wool knit, cashmere and silk, but with beautiful interjections of indigo denim pieces that bring a beautiful depth of contrast to the pastel hues.
Roche’s designs reflect our resurrected societal need to revive artisan labour, this ‘know-how’ is critical to ‘the future of our planet’ says Lidewij Edelkoort; “society at large is weaving new alliances and spinning different connections”. The fluid, earthy hand made aesthetic appeals to our need to once again reconnect with human values and ground ourselves, understand our clothing and salvage its perceived value. Ryan Roche is at the forefront of this movement, allowing her customers to connect with their clothing, tell their own personal story through her crafting capabilities.
The different shades, colours and hues have the power to overwhelm, but it seems that the origins and journeys of these pigments are obscure and forgotten. Today, colour is a commodity mechanically made and claimed for mass consumption, once colour had a unique aura, power and magic that brought stories alive.
Colour Provenance is a visual investigation and interpretation into the ancient world of colour. Through developing a thorough understanding and knowledge of how colour was sourced, crafted and utilized in the past, Laura Daza hopes to both celebrate the ancient rituals and alchemic techniques that were once used but also make people re-appreciate colour through the process of experimenting and re-manufacturing authentic ancient pigments that are increasingly being lost. It seems that today we have lost touch with the origins of colour, as we move away from natural materials and traditional methods.
Colour making was a laborious process. For instance, Medieval and Renaissance masters would have apprentices to grind the pigments for them and source the most precious and difficult to find ingredients to produce colours.
In this project, Daza tells the story of 8 colours, Whiteshell, Saffron, Ochre, Verdigris, Malachite, Azurite, Mummy Brown and Lamp Black by reviving its history, origins, secrets and authentic methods for producing them. Inspired in the purity of the ancient Egyptian colour palette and the materials used to manufacture them, she reinterprets these colours and recipes by resourcing raw materials.
For instance, recreating green from malachite, considered to be the first green ever used by humanity. Her journey has taken her to many places and experiment with a range of different materials such as bones, eggs, mummies, minerals and shells as a modern alchemist. Mummy brown, one of her colours, has an interesting story, which its true to its origins, mummies were grinded to make pigment.
Laura Daza designed a ‘DIY Colour Recipe Book’, a useful handbook for people to make and experiment with colour, which highlights these ancient colours giving back its value and meaning. It shows key tools, secrets and her experience recreating them. The revival of historical recipes for making colour such as Cennino Cennini’s ‘Il libro dell’ Arte’ and ancient Egyptian manuscripts, were part of her process. Laura hopes to take you through a fascinating journey into the past to help us understand and appreciate colour in a different way.
Laura also designed a collection of bespoke vessels that display, highlight and contain colour pigment. Each vessel represents different colours from the Colour Provenance palette. Each piece is handcrafted as a precious jewel using the same materials used for manufacturing colour pigments; she used uncommon materials that in old times were precious and today usually we discard them very easily. These vessels remind us about the importance of colour and how it has played an important role in humanity.
the coloured constructivists
Clean graphics are fencing off bright and bold colour blocks on casualwear inspired creations. The constructive designs by the sisters Tina and Nikita play with minimalistic silhouettes on one side and the explicit use of colours and patterns on the other. Inspired by pop art, the colours are almost reinterpretations of the post-modernistic Memphis designs. For their latest collection, the colours and graphics on detergent packaging inspired Tina and Nikita to extract their colour card by scanning a box of Daz detergent.
Daring colour tones are standing out of the crowd and emphasize a playful character with a grown-up and mature twist. Outspoken geometrical surfaces are disorderly tessellated into a mosaic grid, in a way that all together the pieces orderly belong together, as an inseparable family.
Their fresh and almost rebellious approach made them selected as one of the semi-finalists for the LVMH prize, an initiative to encourage and help young designer to establish themselves in the market.
The India-based Tina and Nikita (MIUNIKU) have both studied at the London College of Fashion and were selected by eight creative directors from its houses. Together with twenty-nine other semi-finalists they presented part of their collection to forty professionals in Paris during the fall/winter 2014-15 ready to wear fashion week.
The colours of today never come on their own. Colour has become a discussion of volume and a description of matter. Different colours evoke different feelings therefore we feel colour. The Holland-based fashion photographer Carmen Kemmink has been capturing her ideals of fashion for the past fifteen years. Graduated as a fashion designer from the Royal College of Arts in Arnhem and the Royal College of Arts in The Hague, she developed a great sense for clothes, fabrics, colors and shape which come to live in her work. In her art she researches the notions of perception and alienation and often involves a combination of different arts such as video and photography. A crossroad between beauty and eclectism. The pictures are delicate and yet strong, demonstrating her fantasy world.
Carmen’s photography has been published in national and international magazines and she also works for catalogues and advertising. Not forgetting her art roots, she has been selected for the Fashion & Foam exhibition in MOAM, which presented young talented photographers reinterpret works from three iconic photographers. There is always a twist to her images, which make them unique.
Photography: Carmen Kemmink@houseoforange.com
Styling: Roel Schagen@ericelenbaas
Make-up: Lisselotte Saarloos@ericelenbaas
Hair: Daan Kneppers@NCL
- carmen kemmink
- carmen kemmink
white white (color) white
Mona Kim is a Korean-American creative director based in Paris after having lived/worked in Milan, New York, and Barcelona. She’s involved in projects that range from fashion advertising to experiential spaces for brands, and cultural institutions.
Ostuni, Known as “The White City”. Puglia, Italy.
Text & Photos by Mona Kim
Mona Kim is a Korean-American creative director based in Paris after having lived/worked in Milan, New York, and Barcelona. She’s involved in projects that range from fashion advertising to experiential spaces for brands, and cultural institutions. She shares with us "underworld, otherworld" Enjoy!
Iridescent - Fractal - Futuristic - Irreal - Dreamlike
The strange forms, textures, colors…of underwater organisms. It is awe-strucking.
A sublime source of influence and inspiration for: Fabric, Objects, Architecture, Materials, Fashion, Computer Animations, Light Installations, Scenography …even an App.
There is a connection between the underwater to the outer space.
A possibility to emulate the beauty down below to the overland in which we inhabit.
There is silence down there... Yet there is sound, expressed through electric colors, and the furtive movements of preys and predators that dance in continual struggle to maintain balance.
I hope we will take care to preserve these magnificent artworks of nature.
The work of Raw Color reflects a sophisticated treatment of material and colour by mixing the fields of graphic design and photography.This is embodied through research and experiments, building their visual language.
Daniera ter Haar & Christoph Brach work on self initiated and commissioned projects in their Eindhoven based studio. With the series of still life's, they try to capture the characteristics and associations of certain color shades. For example, reddish is represented as tensed, explosive and dynamic, skin shades are shown by softness and purity.
The used objects are part of their inspiration archive that is permanently growing through the years. Raw Color created the images for the New York based online design magazine 'Sight Unseen'.
After a studio visit and a long chat they decided to make a photoseries that visualises their approach and fascination about colours, materials and their character.