does the color make the room?

does the color make the room?  or, does the room make the color?  ‘colour prejudice’, an article by sir david tang in the 2-3 april 2011 FINANCIAL TIMES, makes you think about which comes first.

click here to read the article.

tang thinks that color is abstract, therefore, color is only substantiated by objects.  so, if an interior designer has a strong color sense, they consider it more important to conceptualize the textures and tonalities of the materials and furnishings for a room than to develop the color scheme.  for example, tang describes the texture of the beige lacquer walls at MR. CHOW restaurant in london as ‘sumptuous’.

what if the walls at MR. CHOW were painted in a flat finish, instead?


MR. CHOW restaurant | london, united kingdom

photo credit MR. CHOW
and, he compares the brass paneled pillars at annabel’s, a private club in london, to the gilt columns in the egyptian hall at harrod’s department store.  both are golden, but one is more overstated than the other.

annabel’s | london, united kingdom

photo credit annabel’s


the egyptian hall | harrod’s | london, united kingdom

photo credit flickr

many of the memorable rooms that tang mentions in the article are quite colorful.  the orange window coverings at chateau le grand montjeu in burgundy, france, owned by the late sir james goldsmith.  the (formerly) yellow armchairs in the lobby of the hotel du cap-eden-roc in antibes, france.  the turquoise chairs and banquettes at restaurante jockey in madrid, spain.  the cardinal (red) suite at blakes hotel in london.

the cardinal suite | blakes hotel | london, united kingdom

photo credit blakes

is the color what makes these rooms memorable?  or, are these memorable rooms colorful?

for my interior design projects at innerspace,  i often treat a room as a neutral shell, and use the furnishings to create visual interest.  and, i often suggest selecting the materials and furnishings before choosing the paint colors.

so, i think that the room makes the color more often than the color makes the room.

what do you think?

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