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Sunday, March 18, 2018

The ISCC-NBS system of color designation is a system of naming colors based on a set of 13 basic color terms, it was first established in the 1930’s by a joint effort of the Inter Society Color Council and the National Bureau of Standards.

The ISCC-NBS system believed colors should have names. The objective of the system is to assign precise names to the individual blocks of color of the A.H. Munsell color system, using ordinary words. And the systems goal is to designate colors in the Unites States Pharmacopoeia, the National Formulary and in general literature. And the system should be acceptable and usable by science, art and industry, and should be understood, at least in a general way by the whole public.

The backbone of the ISCC–NBS system is a set of 13 basic color categories, made up of 10 hue names and three neutral categories: pink(Pk), red(R), orange(O), brown(Br), yellow(Y), olive(OI), yellow green(YG), green(G), blue(B), purple(P), white(Wh), gray(Gy) and black(Bk).

Then there are 16 intermediate categories, such as: reddish orange (rO) so an adjective and the hue name.
other example: purplish blue (pB).

These categories can be further subdivided into 267 named categories by combining a hue name with modifiers. Like the subdivision for Purple, you have all these works for how the color feels/looks, like: “blackish” (bk.), “dark-ish gray” (d.-ish Gy). So they really wanted to find a way to objectively measure a color. And I feel that this way is pretty objective for a color naming system. I find that this system is fast and easily communicated through the system they made using the brackets.

Moses Harris’s Natural System of Colours Wherein is displayed the regular and beautiful Order and Arrangement, Arising from the Three Primitives, Red, Blue, and Yellow, The manner in which each Colour is formed, and its Composition, The Dependence they have on each other, and by their Harmonious Connections Are produced the Teints, or Colours, of every Object in the Creation, And those Teints, tho’ so numerous as 660, are all comprised in Thirty Three Terms

Friday, March 16, 2018

Moses Harris, who lived from 15 April 1730 until 1788 in England, was a fanatic entomologist (this is someone who studies insects). As the first photograph had yet to be taken, it was common to use engravings to use as imagery to support your research. Moses did not outsource the making of these engravings, he made them himself. As the difference between two insect species is sometimes very subtle, the colours of Moses’s engravings needed to be very precise in order to be able to determine a species correctly. Thus grew his interest in colour.

Moses Harris engraving

In Moses’s quest to record insects as best as he could, he needed a new colour system that could help him when he was making the engravings of the insects. He decided to create his own colour system by using a  source that he as an entomologist was very familiar with, namely nature. He claims that blue, red and yellow are the prime colours, because those are the colours to be found back the most in non-domesticated flowers, thus nature must like them the most. He called them the prismatic colours, because those are the colours that are reflected by the prism. Which is quite remarkable, as his whole research is about colour in pigment and not in light. The colours green, orange and purple he calls the compound colours, as they are made up from the prismatic colours. As Moses thinks that nature divides the prismatic colours and the compound colours, he decided to also seperate them into two different colour wheels that together make his colour system. It is said that Moses is the inventor even of the colour wheel.

He finished his colour system somewhere between 1769 and 1776 with a lot of enthusiasm. A bit too much enthusiasm maybe, as he named his colour system:

“Moses Harris’s Natural System of Colours Wherein is displayed the regular and beautiful Order and Arrangement, Arising from the Three Primitives, Red, Blue, and Yellow, The manner in which each Colour is formed, and its Composition, The Dependence they have on each other, and by their Harmonious Connections Are produced the Teints, or Colours, of every Object in the Creation, And those Teints, tho’ so numerous as 660, are all comprised in Thirty Three Terms”

Now this was a bit too long to go on the book cover of his publication about his newly realized colour system thus they shortened it to: “Moses Harris’s Natural System of Colours”

Moses Harris's prismatic colour wheel Moses Harris's compound colour wheel

William Benson Cuboid Colour System

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The English architect William Benson developed a color system for practical application in the decorative arts. He kept well informed on the scientific findings in the color field. With experience in pigment mixture as well as his own experiments with a prism and mixtures, Benson fully understood the difference between light and colorant mixture.
In 1868, Benson published ‘Principles of the Science of Colour’, which describes a cubic color system. Based on this system, he derived rules of color harmony for color-design use. Later editions appeared in 1872, 1876, and 1886. Benson attempted to cover the totality of color sensation in appropriate geometric model named the Natural System of Cours. Benson’s system is a conceptually additive one. He considered spectral colours to best approximate pure color sensations:

In their binary mixtures, the primary colours red, green and blue form the secondaries, taken to complement the primaries, as determined with the help of edge spectra.The cube stands on its black corner, and three edges extend outwards to the basic colours of red, green and blue. 

Screen Shot 2018-02-08 at 15.21.34

From the top, the edges lead to a yellow, a “sea-green” and a pink corner. Benson’s cube contains 13 main axes which he divides into three groups:

‘Primary axes’, connecting the central points of opposing side, meaning that the primary colours changes involving  3 axes.

‘Secondary axes’, connecting the middle points of opposing edges, meaning that two primary colours will change involving 6 axes.

‘Tertiary axes’, joining opposing corners meaning that all the three primary colours will change involving 4 axes.

Benson gave exact colour names to all the many points;

He named all the colours on his cube,mostly in name pairs to accurately describe the intermediacy of the colours, and where they would lay spatially. His model might be one of the first three dimensional color model.

Screen Shot 2018-02-08 at 15.22.09

genuine product of light and shadow

Wednesday, March 7, 2018


Athanasius Kircher,was a German Jesuit scholar and polymath. As he had outstanding talents and  wide range of interests in mathematics, geology, medicine, etc.  he has been often compared to fellow scholar Roger Boscovich and to Leonardo da Vinci.


Kircher also was a follower of the theory called DE COLORIBUS which argues that all colors (yellow, red, and blue) are derived from mixtures of black and white.


As we can see in the diagram below, all the color points of the system can  be reached from white and black, and this shows his fundamental view on colors as genuine product of light and shadow.



In his system, all combinations of colors are produced with three colors between white and black and all the possible mixtures are shown on half-circles. 


For example, in the case of green, which is a mixture of yellow and blue, it is located at the overlap of yellow and blue and takes a special position as it is in the center with red below. 


His idea of combinations of colors was already pioneering and had a big influence on the color theories in that time.


It remained influential until Isaac Newtons’s experiments with light refraction came out. In fact, the prism, and its effect on light, was something already known to Kircher, but he made an incorrect ordering of colors from bright to black. Newton was the one who defined the right order of the rainbow colors.




Although, his system still has significance for the color theories for these reasons.


It is a linear diagram with red, yellow and blue as the basic colors

It is  a theory behind De Coloribus (all colors are derived from mixtures of black and white)

It also provides a firm idea of mixed colors, characterised by semi-circular bows




Sunday, March 4, 2018



Robert Ridgway (Illinois, 1850-1926) was an ornithologist who, next to hundreds of publications on bird species, wrote two books on color-classification. In the first book, A Nomenclature of Colors for Naturalists (1886), was relatively simple, but already gave 186 colors their own names, which was different to how colors were described at that time; usually they were named and described subjectively.

Looking for a way to create a more advanced and expanded work, Ridgway published his second book in 1912: Color Standards and Color Nomenclature, with 1,115 new names for colors. This way it was a lot easier to communicate about specific colors between taxonomists in all kinds of scientific fields. Ridgway’s system is still used a lot in taxonomy to this day.



Maxwells Colour System

Saturday, March 3, 2018

The scientist James Clerck Maxwell discovered the additive colour system and showed the first colour photography. He lived in the 19 Century influenced by the Works of Isaac Newton and Thomas Young. He has impact on our knowledge of the Saturn Rings, Electromagnetic waves and the RGB colours.

Maxwell Photography

In his student years at the Cambridge he was fascinated by the questions:

What are colours? Why do we perceive colour? And why are we so coloured?

At that time he read the studies of Thomas Young. Young thought that painters have a much better understanding of colours then scientist had at that time. They used the primary colours to get the full colour spectrum of a painting. He found that there’s a significance of these three primary colours and that Biology has a role to play. He assumed there are three receptors for each of the primary colours in the human brain. By mixing these we receive our full colour view.

Maxwell read about this theory and wanted to prove it by mathematics. He developed a tool to trick the human brain. By spinning the right amounts of red, green and blue on a wheel, it seems like the colours are melting together to white. With this experiment he could prove that what we perceive as white is actually a mix of colours. And that there’s a difference of mixing colours in light and colours in pigments.

Colour Pyramid

From this he developed a Red, Green and Blue colour pyramid. On each corner there is the absolute of one of the primary colours. Towards the middle you get different hues of the colour and the center is white. The Pyramid is built on a x/y Axe. Mapping out a point on the pyramid gives a value of each of the primary colours.

To display his founds, he was invited to give a lecture on colour vision. What he did was to screen the same photograph with a red then green and blue light on top of each other. Where the colours intersect, there is white.

Maxwell Colour Experiment

At this time there was only black and white photography. With this experiment he made the world’s first colour photography. The additive colour system can be understood as the foundation of RGB colours and is used in the screens of most electronic devices today.

Isaac Newtons Colour Wheel

Friday, March 2, 2018

Around 1665 Isaac Newton first passed white light through a prism and he identified seven colours: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. These colours he referred to the colours of the rainbow and that they were analogous to the notes of the musical scale.


In Newton’s color wheel, in which the colors are arranged clockwise in the order they appear in the rainbow, each “spoke” of the wheel is assigned a letter. These letters correspond to the notes of the musical scale.

What he did was that he projected white light through a prism onto a wall and had a friend mark the boundaries between the colours, which he then named. In his diagrams, which show how colours respond to notes, Newton introduced two new colours, orange and indigo. These to colours would correspond to half the steps in the octatonic scale.


In physics terminology, an octave is the frequency range from x to 2x, and that premise holds true for musical octaves. If light behaved like music, then photon frequencies of the spectrum would also range from x to 2x, and their wavelengths, inversely proportional to their frequencies, would too. Instead, the wavelengths of visible light range from 400 to 700 nanometers, which, if translated to sound waves, would be approximately equivalent to a major sixth.
Therefore Isaac Newtons colour theory was actually incorrect as the frequency range in an octave is different than photon frequencies of light spectrum. Although his theory falls apart his experiments with prisms showed us that white light is a mix of different coloured lights.


Thursday, March 1, 2018

CIE-1931-System is a color matching system. CIE stands for Commission internationale de l’éclairage, which is an international authority for setting standards related to light and color. In this system the goal is not to describe how colors appear to humans but to categorize and measure colors and create a numerically order. Which then also provides a framework for precisely reproducing the measured color in printing or digitally. It’s a mathematical categorization of colors and it’s based on matching combinations of light to colors that appear to most people in this way.


Light is transformed in wavelength and humans can perceive these waves in between 380nm and 750nm. Wavelengths are absorbed and reflected by objects. Inside the human eye we have our own system of perceiving this colors by conephotoreceptors. We have 3 of them and they’re sensitive to different but overlapping wavelengths of light. L is most sensitive to long wavelengths and therefor red, M to middle-long wavelengths and therefor green and S to short wavelengths and therefor blue.


The cone’s of the eye are stimulated by complex spectral distributions of absorbing or reflecting light and then reduces it to numerical values which represents how much the three cones are stimulated. Important to know is that different spectral distributions can stimulate the cones in exactly the same way. This means we don’t need the original light source to reproduce a certain color but we can create a spectral distribution of light that stimulates the cone in the same way in order to reproduce this exact color if we find the right match. And it’s not only about creating a certain color, but it also deals with showing how to reproduce the difference in brightness of the color. And the CIE-1931-system gives us the information we need to find these matches.


The system has 3 functions called the RGB color matching functions. These are three fixed primary colors and the color matching functions are there to show you the amount of each primary output you need to create a desired color when they’re all mixed.


Hering’s 4-colour wheel

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

I am going to explain to you Ewald Hering’s very exciting colour wheel chart containing of not 3 (RGB) but 4 primary colours (RGBY).

Hering was a German physiologist who specialised in colour perception. So basically how our eyes and brains work in relation to colour which we can call “the physiology of visual perception”
A problem that came up was the colour yellow; Helmholtz, another physicist who came op with the RGB model (the Young-Helmholtz theory) had stated that yellow came from a mixture of red and green (so there being 3 primary colours).

For hering this was not in line with the human experience because the sensation of yellow is very important and is not seen as a mixture of something else.

Instead of seeing complementary colours, like in the 3 primary colour wheel (RGB), Hering talked about opposing colours. Being; blue versus yellow, red versus green and black versus white.


So next to black and white there would be 4 colours which can occur without the “help” of another colour.
Every perception (what we see) is a mixture of the six basic sensations (so these four colours plus black and white) opposing each other and thus interacting.

Hering called these colours the “psychological primaries”.

Hering states that in the human eye thus brain there are three processes happening at the same time in order to see colour; the red-green, yellow-blue and black and white sensation. Later on I will explain why Hering also calls these sensations the “opposing pairs”.

(In his system, red green yellow and blue can be seen as primary colours. Anyone who is seeing orange can imagine it to be a mix of red en yellow. But no one looks at red, yellow or blue and sees it as a mixture of other colours.)

Hering wasn’t the first to talk about 4 primary colours. Before him so did Leonardo da Vinci. Only the arranging of the colours in a circular model was something Hering did. So the wheel is his invention with which he proved to have a real point.

The outer ring of the wheel shows how every primary colour has a warm and a cool side.
So warm red is red with a lot of yellow while cool red is more bluish
Warm yellow goes towards red and cool yellow towards green. Etc.

Each primary colour pair in the wheel has the same warm and cool side.
For example: Green and red have yellow for warm and blue for cold which makes them pairing as well as opposing.

Although having the same hot and cold sensations, the opposing colours in the weel cannot be part of each other.
- yellow can be kind of green or red but never blue
- green can be kind of blue or yellow but never red.

Complementary colours complete each other (like in the RGB wheel) but Hering’s opposing colours do the exact opposite.

A lot of us have learned in high school that there are three primary colours; red yellow and blue. The thing is actually that this 3 primary colour wheel is how to mix colours by knowing what colours complement each other and what colours generally look good together.
If we are talking about how we actually see colours, there are 4 primary colours!
So this is the big difference between the two wheels; the three colour wheel is about aesthetics while the 4 colour wheel (Hering’s) is about the psychological relationship we have towards colour.


You have to look at the 4 colour wheel like meters in your head. When the meter goes one way, there is more red, if it goes the other way you get green. If the meter stays in the middle you get zero so no colour (or actually a kind of greyish or brownish), same with yellow and blue.
Then at the same time you have a meter that, for example, goes from a reddish yellow to a greenish yellow and that goes from a yellowish green to a blueish green
And then there is also a meter that adds more or less black or white, also changing the colour.

R – 0 – G , so there is no greenish red
B – 0 – Y , so there is no yellowish blue

There is a greenish blue or a reddish blue (purple)
There is also a greenish yellow or a reddish yellow (orange)

Hering’s colour wheel is used a lot because it shows how the eye naturally perceives colour. So it’s less a bout just mixing paint or seeing how colors can be made in different media in what case you would need only three colours (RGB).

Instead, the wheel is better at showing what happens in the upper, brain level, and describing humans colour sensations.

CMYk printing advices:

Tuesday, February 27, 2018
CMYk is color system used for printing. To print an mage, first you have to separate it into four colors: CyanMagenta,Yellow and BlackEach of this colors consists from halftone dots, when dots of different colors overlap each other you can get all colors of rainbow. By using halftones of each colour, we are able to mix various percentages of all four process colours to print a huge spectrum of colours. If you take a magnifying glass to the full colour image, you will see that it is comprised of dots of various process colour. There is a measure of density of this color dots, it is called DPI, in particular the number of individual dots that can be placed in a line within the span of 1 inch (2.54 cm). If you are printing photo, dpi should be around 300. But if you are printing big board or poster, something that people will observe from the distance dpi can be less than that.


Monday, February 26, 2018

RGB is an additive colour model, meaning that lights are added together in different frequencies to create colours. For example, when red and green lights are added together they create a yellow colour. This is different to a subtractive colour model where colours are created by mixing dyes, pigment paints etc. which then absorb parts of the full spectrum of colour frequencies available in white light and reflect other frequencies which then give the surface it’s colour.





RGB is used in digital colour sensors and digital colour displays and projectors. Each pixel on a screen has three tiny light sources, red, green and blue in colour. These emit different brightnesses which in the combined effect create the specified colour of the pixel. The sum of all the pixels on the screen will create an image.




These three colours, Red, Green and Blue, are chosen because they correspond to the way the human eye sees colour. We have photoreceptor cells in our eyes called rods and there are three types of rods. One which detects long-wave frequencies of light, another for middle-wave and another for short-wave. Specifically, these correspond to the frequencies of blue, green and red.




CMN Colour System

Sunday, February 25, 2018





The CMN system was first introduced in Venice, 1986. Colours transform; they get brighter and darker until they eventually become white or black, as well as altering the quality of transparency and reflectiveness. The system shows why and how colours appear, change and disappear. Eat point of the tetrahedral structure marks the different qualities in reflectiveness, transparency, brightness and darkness the colour can posses. This single tetrahedron can be combined with others and create a complete range of spacial models required to find the origins of the colour as well as reflect the intentions of the observer. Despite transparency and reflection stemming from an object which is illuminated, the colours appearing will be the result of the contribution made by the observer. The effect these two qualities have on colours is at the forefront of this colour system, as it is the first to consider transparency and reflection in a colouring ordering system.

The tetrahedron constructionwas a form first seen in Plato’s geometrical idea of colour. The radiance must appear along side the colours and have equal value, only white being allowed dominance. The tetrahedron is taken as a basis, three can be assembled with their tip representing white interlocking acting as the central point and remains colourless. This forms a second triangular plane with a colour appointed to eat corner. The white centre being empty allows colours to be mixed. This idea given by Plato is not a formally constructed colour system, rather the personal view is intended to aid understanding the colour mixtures he describes.       pyt02    pyt03

Herman von Helmholtz colour theory

Saturday, February 24, 2018

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Friday, February 23, 2018


Hermann Ebbinghaus (1850-1909) was a German psychologist who pioneered the experimental psychology of memory. He is mostly known for his discovery of the forgetting curve (describes how the ability of the brain to retain information decreases in time), the learning curve (graphical representation of the rate at which you make progress learning new information) and the spacing effect (phenomenon whereby information is learned and retained more easily and effectively when its studying is spread out over time).


However, Hermann Ebbinghaus has also been known thanks to its colour system. Indeed, the concept of the double pyramid gained in popularity thanks to the latter.
In 1902, he proposed a new version of Hofler’s double pyramid.

Capture d’écran 2018-02-08 à 15.31.27 Capture d’écran 2018-02-08 à 15.31.32

Ebbinghaus constructed a colour system rest on this system of double pyramid but made few modifications: he put rounded corners and an inclined central plane.
He rounds off the corners of the solid as he considered the transition between colours as fluid and not sharply defined. The Hering-type fundamental opponent colours are located at the six corners (black, green, red, blue, yellow, white).
The resulting chromatic body, from the four primary colours, links Leonardo da Vinci’s idea that colours vary in brightness and can thus be differentiated. The idea was to separate and so distinguish those four colours due to the variation of brightness.
The base-square of the double solid is tilted in such a way that the best yellow hues, which are relatively bright, are nearer to white, and the best blue tones, which are relatively dark, are nearer to black. His system does not predict the mixtures of colours and the complementary pairs are not arranged opposite one another.

2             3


In 1893, Ebbinghaus published a «Theory of Colour Vision» in the Zeitschrift für Psychology (Journal of Psychology), in which he mentioned that humans perceive colours through higher mental processes. As a psychologist, he knew about the perception of the four elementary colour (yellow, red, green, blue) and thanks to physiologists knew there were only three photo-sensitive substances in the eye’s retina (rods, cones, photosensitive retinal ganglion cells) thanks to which the phenomenon of coloured vision and its anomalies could be explained.
In addition, Ebbinghaus has discovered that two white hues produced by spinning either red and green or blue and yellow, appeared to be the same at certain levels of brightness, but appeared different when the illumination was reduced or the speed was reduced.



Michel Albert-Vanel’s Planetary Colour-System

Thursday, February 22, 2018

In 1983, the Planetary Colour-System, was introduced by frenchman Michel Albert-Vanel, with the intention to organise colour perception multidimensionally.

Albert-Vanel created a so-called Plantetaric Room, in which the colours move like planets in a solar system. The floating planets represent four primary colours, which refer to the psychological primary-colours of Ewald Hering. Albert-Vanel incorporated Herings’ psychological primary colours (Yellow, Red, Green, Blue) into his planetary room. The secondary colours – that connect the primary-colours – are moons and thus orbit the planets.


We almost never see colours isolated but in combination with others, which puts them directly into a context. The planetary system tries with the introduction of new parameters to describe this context in which a colour exists. In order to point out an individual colour, contrast and material are added to the usual parameters of hue, brightness and saturation.


The contrast-parameter unites three new scales (again hue, brightness and saturation) describing a group of colours (the context), to later point out the individual isolated colour.

The scales of the material-parameter describe first if a colour is active (light) or passive (pigment), second if it is transparent or opaque and thirdly: matte or gloss.

With the incorporation of this context a colour is put in, the planetary system involves the natural effects of our colour perception. It considers, that we see colours differently depending on the surrounding it is put in.


Interview to Mr. Martelli

Wednesday, February 21, 2018


A few weeks ago I had a really sensible idea. I would have a sit-down with one of architecture’s most progressive faces, ask my questions and occupy their precious time, all in the name of a little assignment. I sent this email out to some emails pulled from the internet nethers:


“I know that Mr. Koolhaas and Mr.Martelli (as would be anyone at OMA reading this) must be supremely busy, what with a world filled with commitments, responsibilities and the occasional pause for breath, but I was hoping you could spare a few minutes to a young, art enthusiast with lofty expectations, and help me in contacting him.”


Several fumbling attempts at communications; email, instagram, other emails; (and some weeks) later: I had secured a meeting with Federico Martelli, a proper, nice lad, in Rotterdam the next day. That Sunday I was quite nervous, the interview seemed to have fallen through altogether and only materialised in the last 12 hours. Federico was scheduled to jet off somewhere exotic that day, and I had never conducted an interview. The anxiety gripped me, what to do? I got on a train before I knew where to go, cleared it up with Federico en route, and finally met him in person. I asked Federico Martelli if he was Italian, he said “No.”. Misleading names are a rare sign of genius. After formalities and inviting him to cake and coffee, we presumed to the interview.

Throughout, Federico would emphasise certain things that were of importance to him. Among them are some I would like to focus on: temporality, durability and that architecture make up the foundation on which him and Rem Koolhaas designed Base °1 and °2.

Martelli explained me how He, Koolhaas and the Stedelijk curators approach the project since the beginning. The collections is recognised as one of the most important in Europe,

the walls are filled with the history of the Stedelijk’s past; more than a century of choices made by directors and curators. What has grown is a 90,000 piece archive to choose from, a supremely diverse catalogue of art reflecting the individuals who have shaped the museum’s existence. The new approach can properly adjust to this diversity as free-choice pathways do away with traditional ideas of how we are guided in our experience. It rids the audience of rooms that follow formulas, instead creates open mazes in which “each wall is a theme”. New meanings can be created by the visitor as two or more walls make relations.  Clusters of relation can converge as themes relate to a multiplicity of closely placed others. To summarise: The collection is on display with purposively selected highlights and clusters created by the walls. Two or more walls implies spaces, so relations. These relations are not obligatory and the route around the space remain undetermined and personal.






Federico stresses this point, him and Rem are architects. They have designed and built “walls”, not free-standing art display cases, hangers or frames.

The walls are constructed to be solid, Federico and the team spent ages testing re-design to be durable and immutable. They are meant to look solid, some arch over unmoving, as free-standing extensions of the building’s skeleton. This perceived solidity for the audience is a reaction to a fragility in how artwork has been displayed in the past. Free-standing wall within museums, including ones used at the Stedelijk for decades, are seen as aesthetically temporary, provisional. They allow for flexible re-constructions for new exhibitions or for creative freedom in presentation. Bases °1 and °2 extend this trend of mobility and flexibility, yet attach a material solidity that optically asserts permanence. The new walls further allow for greater threshold of art to be displayed, being heavy enough to support differently weighted works. The team faced another challenge to its goal of perceived permanence in the bases’ lighting. Martelli tells of internal discussions with some offering critique of a lack of natural light, arguing that certain, special, artworks would suffer in a space without openings for natural light to filter through, thus being in constant exposure to artificial light. On the other hand, artificial lights if implemented smartly, were found to be able to highlight some works more efficiently, say a cold light that could expose a Mondrian’s vibrant colours. So while the base lacks the natural setting that windows and openings for light to filter through, it can control the direction of light completely thus maintaining the base in one state over time.

Altought all the internal debate, discussions and the good amount of compromises the result of almost 2 years of work is clearly visible today inside Stedelijk.

At this point everything turn out to look like a confidential chat between friends in addiction of some little secret funny stories that of course I am not gonna revel and keep together with the memories of my “official”  first “serious interview” of my life.

This experience teach me how many factors are as important as the final result, how many things for the viewer are imperceptible in their individuality but essential to make the whole well balanced and made by  smart studied choices. I hope I successfully find out a bit more about this project and maybe  answer to some of your questions…


stay tuned for the next one

Final Selfie with Mr. Martelli

Final Selfie with Mr. Martelli


Where order is born is born wellbeing.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Alvar Aalto, one of Finland’s most famous people who reshaped architecture and furniture of public buildings on the basis of functionality and organic relationship between man, nature and buildings, is now called the “Father of Modernism” in Scandinavian countries.


He was born Hugo Alvar Henrik Aalto, on February 3, 1898, in Kuortane, Finland (at that time Finland was part of Russian Empire). He was the first of three children. His father, J. H. Aalto, was a government surveyor. His mother, Selma Hackestedt, was of Swedish ancestry, she died in 1903.

Hence, Hugo Alvar Henrik Aalto was educated a lot by his grandfathers. His grandfathers were both very close to nature, one of them was a forest guard. Alvar Aalto has a child use to play a lot in the forest. It was obviously through him that the outdoor world, particularly the forest became so important in Aalto work. The forest with his towering tree trunks and his various rock shapes is a world a constant changing forms which inspired Aalto a lot. Aalto probably found in nature the basic geometrics patterns for his architecture and furnitures.  The forest thought him also that nature is a sensitive ecological system in which men must find his place.

Aalto’s relationship is pretty clear according to the paintings he did as a child. He hesitated few years either to become a painter or an architect. According to his saying, he decided at the age of nine that he wanted to become an architect.

Aalto has been educated in the idea of National Romanticism, the Finnish version of Art Nouveau. Aalto rejected it, such as pretty much his whole generation. However he took one important feature from his predecessors : the idea that his creation should perfectly fit into nature.

Around 1920 a softer version of the strict modernist aesthetic emerged in Scandinavia, characterized by the use of (curved) wood in combination with shapes, colours, and decorations inspired by nature. The resulting furniture arose from the ambition that design should offer both beauty and functionality, and be affordable to everyone.

Aalto rejected a lot of furnitures of his time, he wanted to find a material that makes chairs pleasant to sit in. A lot of Aalto’s furnitures were also inspired by the shapes of nature. He often solved practical problems with abstract experimentation of forms with wood. Aalto experimented with bending a bunch of wood to create chairs.

Through experimentation with wood Aalto discovers specific properties which could be useful of men. For instance, in the interior of the Viipuri Library Aalto created rooms inspired by nature which specific functions. Such architectural solutions as a sunken reading-well, free-flowing ceilings and cylindrical skylights, first tested in Viipuri, would regularly appear in Aalto’s works. Aalto differed from the first generation of modernist architects (such as Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier) in his predilection for natural materials: in this design, « wood was first introduced into an otherwise modernist setting of concrete, white stucco, glass, and steel ».

Aalto’s work with wood, was obviously influenced by early Scandinavian architects; however, his experiments and departure from the norm brought attention to his ability to make wood do things not previously done. He was one of the first architect/designer to be able to find a way to bent wood in order to create theses beautiful organic shapes. Aalto studied architecture at Helsinki University of Technology, however during a large part of his career Aalto created a lot of furniture. Like Le Corbusier, Aalto considered that furnitures and architecture should be a collective and cohesive ensemble that creates order. His experimental method has been influenced by his meetings with various members of the Bauhaus design school.

After traveling through Europe, he was exposed to International Style and soon adopted the natural materials and organic forms of this approach into his aesthetic.

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