This is a comprehensive introduction to working with colour in interior settings. Part I is a history of interiors from the point of view of their colour systems. It spans a breadth of periods and locations, from prehistory through to the Renaissance in Italy and Greece; the 16th-18th Centuries in France, England, and America; and on, to the 19th Century and beyond. Among the most notable interiors which are covered are Fresco of Elegant Ladies from the Palace of Knossos, Crete; The Black Wall from the Roman villa at Boscotrecase near Pompeii; Le Corbusier's reflecting blue wall at the Villa Savoye; James McNeill Whistler's Peacock Room, at the Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; and lastly, The Tassell House, Brussels Part II is an easy-to-understand outline of the basics of colour theory and its underlying science, including optics, prisms, light physics, and colour wheels. It addresses such topics as the symbolism and psychology of colour, as well as more practical matters of pigments and dyes. Part III is a practical guide to the would-be decorator on the use of colour to enhance interior settings and to create specific effects. It has practical and easy to use advice on colour schemes as well as a discussion on the ongoing nature of trends.
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Ethel Rompilla is a professor of colour and an associate dean of the New York School of Interior Design in Manhattan. The recipient of numerous awards for her teaching of colour, she is also a practicing interior designer. Prior to her educational work, she was a designer with the firm of Hellmuth Obata Kassabaum Architects in New York and a collaborator with furniture designer Norman Diekman.From Publishers Weekly:
Whether it was in a cave, an early Minoan palace or an American Federalist home, people have always looked to bring color and design into their living spaces. Both science and psychology influence the art of marrying style and pigment: "Nature has always provided the visual stimulation of color, light and texture, while history has shown the human need for variety and change," writes Rompilla in her breathless survey of 3000 years of architecture, art history, color theory and science. Complementing an eclectic assortment of 125 illustrations (including 95 in color), the text is concise, lucid and well-organized. Such an ambitious synthesis could have easily become either chaotic and dense or thin and overly simplistic, but Rompilla hits all the highlights and stays on point, even when covering Aristotle in a few lines: "He believed that the rainbow had only three fixed, or primary colors: red, green and blue (although yellow was visible), and he assigned these three primaries to pigment as well." Broad ranging despite its brevity, her introduction to the study and practice of color for interiors leaves the reader with the sense of the complexity and depth of the subject-and might inspire some to study further. Except for a few anomalies, such as an out-of-focus photograph of Josef Hoffmann's Palais Stoclet, the art is well-chosen, nicely reproduced and beautifully incorporated into the book's coffee-table format.
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