After their books on patterns Barbara Glasner, interior designer and freelance curator for design and architecture and Petra Schmidt, freelance author and lecturer in design theory, have now tackled the subject of colour.
Chroma, the Greek word for colour, is both the title and the subject of a book about colour in architecture, furniture design and graphic art which covers a range of disciplines with a refreshing freedom from ideology. The focus is less on colour theory or pseudo-creative instructions pregnant with meaning on the use of colour than on the very latest contemporary works which generate inspiration, play with our perception and - as Gerhard Richter puts it – evoke the desire to see.
FF Architects, Luckenwalde library 2008
These numerous, well-selected works are divided by the authors into the categories of "monochromatic", in other words featuring a single colour, "multichromatic", in other words from multi-coloured to pallets which cover the entire chromatic spectrum, down to "achromatic", in other words using black, white and grey. In an introductory essay Isaac Newton, Goethe, Itten, Albers and Küppers are of course touched on, functional aspects are contrasted with subjective perceptions and symbolic meanings, dogmatic rules are opposed to almost anarchist lust for colour.
Massimiliano & Doriana Fuksas, Zenith Concert Hall Strasbourg 2007
The really exciting part comes in the appendix, which contains a number of interviews. Whereas Fernando and Humberto Campana - perhaps not entirely seriously – announce that "the material prescribes the colour", Sauerbruch Hutton declare: "For us colour is a tool." Konstantin Grcic, on the other hand puts it with concision: "For me red is a total mystery."
Fernando Brizio, Painting With Giotto Vase 2005
Katharina Grosse, This Is No Dogshit 2007
Authors: Barbara Glasner and Petra Schmidt (eds.)
to the Birkhäuser website
320 pages, 317 illustrations
Format 30,4 x 25 cm, bound
Birkhäuser Verlag, Basle Boston Berlin 2010
Recommended publisher's price: 59,90 EUR
German edition ISBN 978-3-0346-0091-0
English edition ISBN 978-3-0346-0092-7