Feeling Blue–It’s all about Blue, Now and Then

Although the new Pantone color of 2020 is Blue, many years back Yves Klein the artist declared a most vibrant blue.

The French artist Yves Klein was renowned for his dedication to color in his work, and blue was his signature shade. According to him, blue was infinite and untethered to any concrete ideas, mirroring the sea and the sky in all its vastness and mystery.

Ressource, a French design laboratory and paint manufacturing company, has partnered with the Yves Klein Archives to reproduce this gorgeous color in an homage to both the artist’s work and vision. They have perfected the technique that yields the richest, most radiant blue, informed by the famous International Klein Blue, utilizing the original craftsmanship that Klein so masterfully refined.

Ultramarine Blue, in Klein’s words, “goes beyond proportion,” symbolizing freedom and majesty, and a boundlessness of spirit. Ressource’s paint will certainly transport you there.


Yves Klein

Blue Monochrome


Klein famously declared the blue sky to be his first artwork and from there continued finding radical new ways to represent the infinite and immaterial in his works. One such strategy was monochrome abstraction—the use of one color over an entire canvas. Klein saw monochrome painting as an “open window to freedom, as the possibility of being immersed in the immeasurable existence of color.” Although he used a range of colors, his most iconic works often featured International Klein Blue.

New Year, New Blue

Identifying a “color of the year,” a tradition Pantone started 20 years ago, has become a revered practice that many industries rely upon. The year 2000 was designated the year of Cerulean Blue, and two decades later Pantone has once more embraced the familiar, comforting hue. The company announced that the year 2020 belongs to Classic Blue.

In its research, Pantone has noted the current ubiquity of blue across a wide array of business and commerce, including the art market, beauty industry, the technology sector, and vehicle manufacturing. Classic Blue appeals to many senses, and Pantone has joined with other companies to develop and explore the smell, sound and even taste of Classic Blue in a clear appreciation of the multiple ways we intrinsically experience color as human beings.

From a psychological vantage point, blue symbolizes loyalty and tranquility, restoring calm not just to the room it highlights, but also within the human psyche, encouraging feelings of stability, confidence, and patience. No one will argue that the prevailing state of affairs in much of the world has inspired the opposite of these emotions, and the reintroduction of blue as the guiding hue promises to do more than just enliven a room in your house or office. It may very well help restore our sense of trust and hope for the future in a climate of flux and anxiety.

Colors from Paris

Some glorious design trends were presented during Paris Design Week in January of this year, and one of the most thrilling was the focus on color. The freshest tones borrow from nature, as human beings have done for centuries, and the names assigned to these hues further illustrates this tribute.

Rust colors mimic the deep reddish-orange of a sunset or autumnal leaves. Mossy greens invoke the forests and a sense of calm. Pale purple was an interesting newcomer to the scene: rugs and rooms accented with this soft shade of grape exude an aura of gladness and allure.

Inspiration from the raw environment has influenced even designers of dinnerware. L’Objet’s creative director introduced a new collection of plates and bowls in a golden shade reminiscent of straw, both deep and warm. Citrus orange, with its bright and lively feel, has been embraced by fabric houses in joyful anticipation of spring.

The classical Parisian palette of cream and gray has returned to the forefront of contemporary upholstery and luxury paint, inspired by the muted peacefulness of mountain peaks or seashells weathered by time. Tortoise brown is being used to embellish carpets as well as interior walls. This stimulating fusion of deep reds, blacks and caramels evokes the color of natural minerals in the earth and is both bold and soothing.

Trends in Luxury

Last year we observed a shifting of preferences within the luxury segment of real estate that is predicted to continue throughout 2020. Here are 4 of the exciting new trends, according to the North American Luxury Market Report.


  1. There has been a notable geographical shift among luxury homebuyers in general from major cities to new markets in less populated, less expensive regions; from major cosmopolitan areas to destinations that have long been overlooked and undervalued, increasing the attention and, therefore, the desirability of purchasing or building homes in these communities.


  1. Affluent millennials across the country have been investing in luxury properties as a step toward expanding personal wealth. The trend among this demographic is also to embrace lesser-known communities outside central metropolitan areas, where new business blooms to accommodate them. At the same time, increased life expectancy means Baby Boomers are confidently selling suburban properties and moving to locations within city limits that offer greater choice and convenience.


  1. There is a burgeoning call among investors and artisans to approach architecture and design from a holistic standpoint, with a focus on constructing a home environment that is healthy, sustainable and versatile — and also, of course, luxurious. An increase in eco-sensitivity has fostered the trend toward creating harmony between outdoor and indoor environments and making choices that invite and involve natural elements into the architectural scheme of the home — for example, considering things like the placement of doors and windows so that natural light can be optimally utilized.


  1. Luxury home buyers have been eager to use paint colors in their home that strike a balance. Bold hues in tandem with neutral ones in the same room add dimension and charm. Geometric patterns on the wall beautifully conjure nature and organic life. Plants and other natural elements blend with man-made pieces to lend harmony to the landscape. Materials like wood, natural pigments and terra cotta combine to let the outside in and vice versa. A new attention to the balance between masculine and feminine elements and energies has also contributed to this trend — dark tones, striking patterns and heavy leather are mixed with light colors, clean lines and soft, subtle fixtures.

What Endures

Louis Kahn, renowned American architect, planned the construction of numerous civic structures. Among them was public housing, viaduct systems, and streets and roads in the city of Philadelphia. He did not arrive at his distinctive modernist style till he was in his fifties. His projects since this turning point include art museums, assembly halls and libraries; religious centers and parks; and the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California; and the National Assembly building in Dhaka, Bangladesh, considered the masterpiece of his career. His buildings are a concentration on space and material and weight, rejecting any overt loyalty to historical styles of architecture.

We can pursue details of Kahn’s early years, his years of education, his fonts of inspiration, his travels, his visions and his acclaim through biographies of the man and recorded interviews of his admirers and critics, but what more intimate and singular account can we find of a life than through the eyes of a person as profoundly affected and entwined as a family member? Kahn’s son, Nathaniel Kahn, spent several years assembling a narrative of his father after his death. “My Architect” provides a portrait of Louis Kahn that explores the underlying dimensions of a life popularly known but never thus witnessed.

Uncramp Your Style

What can you do to make a small space feel practical and comfortable, and most importantly — uncrowded? The ideas in this article come from Urban Outfitters’ team of directors and designers, and they are strikingly versatile. Even if your home is not the tiny staged space these artists and builders had to work with, the arrangements are inspiring, and thoroughly inviting.

Pieces of furniture (especially the more mobile ones) can have multiple uses. When is a stool not a stool? When it is also a side table. Doors can become tasteful palettes for storage with a sleek, minimalist rack hung over the top. This featured set makes excellent use of the kitchen area by creating an open cabinetry feel with hanging shelves and hooks for pots and pans. The designated living spaces are functional, and they flow.These 200 square feet are anything but square.


An Aesthetic ‘Promised Land’

Who were some of the pioneers of interior design?


Before she became an esteemed novelist, Edith Wharton was a practicing decorator and designer —  interests to which she was passionately dedicated. Rather than innovating new styles, however, what Wharton and her collaborator and friend, the architect Ogden Comden Jr., sought to do was re-establish the “grace and timelessness” of home decoration that would stand in stark relief against the tawdry and obnoxious ways families such as the Vanderbilts were flaunting their wealth and status at the end of the 19th century.


The pair wrote a book in response to this threat of bad taste, The Decoration of Houses, which remains the keystone among books on interior design and architecture published since. Wharton wanted to educate the rich by promoting the beauty and efficiency of “well-made, well-mannered” spaces and pieces versus what she deemed to be their conspicuous flaunting of the vagaries of the Gilded Age. Among the original recommendations, many still adhere: the sanity and security of investing in comfortable couches and chairs rather than souvenirs and novelties; designing homes that are useful to the needs of its inhabitants instead of overzealously adopting what is currently in vogue; striving for an easy proportionality within a room as a way to nourish inner calm and contentment. Indeed, the sensibility of these ideas remains inarguable.



What Was Is What’s New

What’s on trend for 2018? Not surprisingly, the future is beckoning from the past.

Wood has been a signature element in architecture for hundreds of years, one of the longest-standing building materials in existence. Its popularity has been continually longstanding as well, and this year is no exception. Crafted into shapes and patterns both smooth and intricate, for use as doors, windows, floors, fences, furniture and in marquetry, wooden structures are both functional and beautiful. Woodwork brings warmth and style into every environment. This article in Soho Concept praises the fierce return of the woodworker’s craft into homes, offices, outdoor spaces, schools and businesses — with emphasis on the flexibility of recycled wood in new designs.


What else is gaining pace this year? Micro-spaces, nooks, alcoves. Every home has these potential zones embedded within them. Put up a partition (like a folding paper scrim) in your bedroom, or divide a large family room into 2 with a see-through cabinet. Items as simple as a few cushions on the ground can create an intimate additional living area. This piece assures us there are multiple possibilities for repurposing corners and corridors in our homes, making the absolute most of our space by reimagining the way we frame and modify it.

Ethical Architecture

Buildings can be beautiful. They can be ballasts against the elements, safeguarding the lives inside. Their materials can be smartly sourced, and interiors shaped and styled to make the most out of the character and conditions of the natural environment that surrounds them. But what about architecture that is driven by considerations of how its human population can best be aided and supported through the specific features of its design?


Our visual faculties connect deeply to our emotions. Colors, for instance, have emotional valences. There are those that conjure feelings of unrest and anxiety; some that promote tranquility. Similarly with shape, dimension, tone and texture — all contribute toward feelings of well-being (or the opposite) as we encounter and interact with these things.


This article in Architectural Digest collects the most interesting and successful projects that had that notion in mind: Homes and buildings, inside and out, should nurture and strengthen the lives inside. These architects traveled toward this central idea from various directions — physically, yes, but also politically. The refugee camp in Germany, for example, was designed to foster a sense of community for the residents by creating open and airy meeting spaces inside.

Explore the rest here: https://www.architecturaldigest.com/gallery/design-for-good-2017

Opening to the Arch

This article from Design Sponge collects images of an array of architectural arches, in homes, shops and offices, to remind us that the square doorway is not the only type of threshold we can cross. It is a design that has been used for centuries, and continues to be seen in modern architecture because of its visually pleasing shape, attractive and welcoming.


The arch can symbolize many things. From a physical standpoint, it is one of the strongest, sturdiest types of construction, based on the way that the shape allows stress and weight to be distributed and supported. An arch in the home is like a symbol of protection, then, which is a wonderful thing to experience in your personal space. The arch allows motion, while ensuring stability.  


What about the beautiful image of an arch as a gateway? Crossing through an arch in one’s home can act to infuse both rooms with their own distinctive feeling and purpose, making the passing through from one to the other a special, mindful act. There are even ways to imitate the form, without actually having an arch-shaped doorway. Make one to frame a cabinet’s contents, or even to enhance the warm nature of a bedroom by adding a painting or picture of an arch above the bed.

See more ideas here: http://www.designsponge.com/2017/11/arches.html