COLOUR IS EVERYWHERE. IT SURROUNDS US, IMPACTING OUR EMOTIONS AND PERSPECTIVE, YET WE RARELY STOP TO EXPLORE COLOUR AND WHY IT IS SUCH A PROMINENT ELEMENT IN OUR LIVES.
The opportunity to attend the Leeds College of Arts Creative Networks event on ‘The Future of Colour and Application' was the perfect chance to further our understanding on how colour is used and why it has the effect it does.
Starting the evening with a presentation of his beautiful work was Kit Miles, textile designer and founder of self-titled studio Kit Miles. Alongside the stunning pieces, Miles explained the studios' values of quality, exquisite draughtsmanship and an innovative, often surprising use of scale, colour and imagery and how colour is a vital element within their creative process.
The contrasting themes of botanical and futuristic blade runner were brought together through Miles's explanation of the colour choice. His description of how colour brings layers to the designs creates context for each piece, changing our perspective of each design, understanding how various elements stimulate different emotions.
When asked about his process and choosing the colours, we learnt to let our colour choices flow, allowing the colour palette develop over time as the design starts to take shape. Apart from being inspired by the elegant designs, I learnt that colour is meant to be fun and it has the ability to add depth and gives the simplest design a story from which we draw emotion and perspective.
The second speaker was the inspirational Dennis Parren, who travelled all the way from the Netherlands to talk about his studio and the amazing projects they have completed over the years. The Dennis Parren studio stems from the idea that light is everything; without light there is no colour and no life. Each project changed the way in which we view and experience light, seeing it as a tool for innovation and unlocking the full potential of the colours it produces.
Parren explained how light and colour worked before introducing his first design, the ‘CMYK Lamp’, a 3D printed model that ‘plays with the mystery of light and colour casting an elusive network of lines of cyan, magenta and yellow light on the ceiling.’ He uses LED lights due to their incredible properties such as small size and low consumption of power.
Our favourite projects of the presentation were ‘Gradients’ and ‘Reflections’, two light installations for the Musée de la Mine in St. Etienne. ‘Gradient’ focused on the blending of colours formed by light. Using white 3D shapes as a canvas and controlling the amount of light that each shape reflects created a magical blending of colours that could be altered by changing the position of the red, green and blue lights.
From this ‘Reflections’ was created, exploring how the light reflects by trapping it inside different shapes. The reflection is amplified when the light is trapped creating amazing fluorescent colours. Though both projects have the same set up the results were completely different.
After viewing Dennis Parren's work, you were really challenged to think about how the light behaves and it was difficult to make sense of what you are seeing and understand why it was happening. But then that is all part of the studios charm.
To finish, the Berlin design duo Blond & Bieder presented another new and interesting take on colour and how it can be applied in design. Their studio mixes textile and product design to create innovative designs that experiment with new techniques, materials and technology, yet each maintain a traditional element.
Their first project ‘Algaemy’ introduces us to the experimental and scientific side of the studio. With an ever-growing concern of the number of chemicals being used in the textile industry designers are exploring natural dyes and their application in the textile industry. Blond & Bieber took this issue and investigated the potential of microalgae and how it could be used in a creative context. The colours produced from the algae were beautiful and after showing the process of preparing and applying the algae, the designers explained how colour is a huge feature in their work.
Working with natural colour they discovered that the algae dye reacts to sun light by changing colour, resulting in a unique garment that tells a story of its own. The same garment can look different depending on the wearer. Blond & Bieber were truly inspirational and their take on natural dyes is innovative and is vital research that can be further developed to aid the textile industry.
For more information or to look up similar events check out the Society of Dyers and Colourists website; www.sdc.org.uk