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S H E R W I N - W I L L I A M S® W h e r e C o l o r a n d C r e a t i v i t y C o n v e r g e Vo l u m e 3 • I s s u e 2 • 2 0 0 6

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Techno-Color Forecast

Color Rx

“M” is for Metamerism

Editorial Advisor: Tresa Makowski Executive Editor: Bryan Iwamoto Editor: Kim Palmer Managing Editor: Laura Pigott Executive Art Director: Sandy Rumreich Senior Designer: Cate Hubbard Senior Editors: Jim Thorp, Mara Hess Production Director: Pam Mundstock Project Manager: Linda Usgaard Client Services: Steff Gumingo STIR™ magazine is published by Hanley Wood, LLC, on behalf of The SherwinWilliams Company, for interior designers and architects. We welcome your questions and comments. Please direct correspondence to: Sherwin-Williams STIR Magazine Hanley Wood 430 1st Ave. N., Suite 550 Minneapolis, MN 55401 Phone: (612) 338-8300 Fax: (612) 338-7044 E-mail: Web site: Printed in the United States, © 2006 Sherwin-Williams, Vol. 3. Issue 2, 2006

Order Sherwin-Williams color samples online at For product or compliance questions, call the Architect and Designer Answerline at (800) 321-8194. For local service and advice, please see your SherwinWilliams Architectural Account Executive or your local store.

STIR Advisory Board Emily Blitzer Paul Segal Associates New York, NY Kathleen Neama The S/L/A/M Collaborative Glastonbury, CT Ann Newton Spooner, IDS national president Ann Newton Spooner Interior Design Charlotte, NC Karin Schluer, Allied ASID, LEED certified WESK Interiors, Inc. Millington, NJ Leslie Shankman-Cohn, ASID Eclectic Interiors Memphis, TN Zara Stender, CID, IDS, Allied ASID, CMG vice-chair ZaraDesigns Reno, NV Kristine Stoller, NCIDQ certified KSID, LLC Sharon, MA Abby Suckle, AIA Abby Suckle Architects New York, NY Denise Walton, ASID, NCIDQ certified Denise J Walton Design Scottsdale, AZ



isiting the major design shows this spring, I was struck by the ways technology is transforming today’s spaces.

At the Kitchen/Bath Industry Show in Chicago, I saw voice-command faucets, toilet seats that raise and lower themselves, even spa tubs equipped with built-in plasma TVs and surround sound. The Hospitality Design Show in Las Vegas featured sensory lighting that enables rooms to illuminate automatically when they sense your presence. Even more intriguing to me is the way that technology is influencing color palettes, as you’ll see in this issue highlighting Sherwin-Williams colormix™ 07, our annual forecast. Technology brings us new materials, such as special-effects textiles with built-in LED lighting or luminescent chameleon fabrics that change color with their light source. But that’s only part of the impact. By giving us easy desktop access to a global array of resources and inspiration, technology also alters the way we and our clients see the world. Our 2007 forecast includes multicultural influences, green living, retro-inspired looks and 21st-century neutrals. One way or another, these design directions are shaped by technology’s growing reach. Whether we celebrate that or react against it, it’s all part of the color mix.


Sheri Thompson Director, Color Marketing and Design The Sherwin-Williams Company

The trademarks and copyrights of Sherwin-Williams appearing in STIR are protected. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.


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ON THE COVER COLORING THE FUTURE Sherwin-Williams® colormix™ 07 forecast sets the stage for the coming year’s color themes. Technology plays a starring role, propelling us into the future as it drives us to reclaim the past.





Sherwin-Williams ProGreen™ 200 interior paint benefits the bottom line and the environment. Sherwin-Williams Service Connection™ hooks you up online with homeowners in your area. Master the lingo with the help of SherwinWilliams’ glossary of essential paint and color terms.

Add a little sparkle to your decorating style with the shimmer and shine of Hollywood Glam.

Karim Rashid, product designer, interior designer and modernist proponent, sees color and technology changing our world — for the better.




Vibrant colors, along with a cheerful design, create a mood of energy and optimism at a California physical therapy center.

Learn more about metamerism, the perception phenomenon that makes color matching a challenge.


6 HEALING COLOR From nursery to nursing home, the right colors in health-care settings may help patients get well soon.



21 GOING GREEN New York City’s Solaire project, the nation’s first “green” residential high rise, is a case study for sustainable urban living.

23 FINAL TOUCH Scratch the surface of tattoo color.




Budget-Friendly “Green” Commercial Coating Solution High-quality, low-VOC paint can test budgets, but not the new Sherwin-Williams ProGreen™ 200, a competitively priced interior paint that meets or exceeds GS-11 standards. At 50 grams VOC per liter, the product complies with environmental regulations and is ideal for new commercial construction. Available in Eg-Shel finish, this low-odor product can be used in occupied areas, so everyone on the job can keep working without interruption. Go to and check out the “Green Solutions” section for more indepth information about “green” coating options that meet LEED, OTC, South Coast or CARB requirements. You can also see case studies, access the latest information on VOC coating limits, and find links to other sites that will help you make the right coating decisions for your projects and the environment.




Color Chips Charting the Crayon Since 1903, when Binney & Smith introduced the first Crayola crayon, people have been fascinated with the origins of the color names. Originally there were eight colors: black, brown, orange, violet, blue, green, red and yellow. The color “flesh” was voluntarily changed to “peach” in 1962, partially in response to the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. By 2003, 120 colors were available, with fanciful names such as inch worm, jazzberry jam, mango tango and wild blue yonder. Red Rider In 1931, the CocaCola Company used its signature red color to dress Santa and market its products at Christmas. Although this was not the first redrobed Saint Nicholas (a 1653 English woodcut portrays a red Santa), it took

LOOKING FOR RESIDENTIAL PROJECT LEADS? Connect online with homeowners in your area who are seeking design help through Sherwin-Williams Service ConnectionTM, a new Web service bringing homeowners, designers and contractors together. As a designer, you can: • Register online, free of charge. • Post your business profile online and update it anytime. • Get matched automatically to local prospects looking for design help. Prospective customers can view your detailed business profile and submit an inquiry through the homeowner section of the Sherwin-Williams Service Connection Web site. Leads you receive have already identified themselves as interested in the types of services you offer. For more information or to register your business with Sherwin-Williams Service Connection, go to ■

this major marketing campaign to help convince the world that Santa was a jolly old man in a red suit. Rings of Olympus The Olympic spirit of inclusivity starts with ILLUSTRATION BY VALERIA PETRONE

its symbol. The official Olympic logo was created by Baron Pierre de Coubertin in 1913 and consists of five interlacing rings of blue, yellow, black, green and red. At least one of these colors is found in the flag of every nation.

CAN’T FIND THE WORDS? Good communication with clients and colleagues begins with a shared vocabulary. Go to to access a glossary of essential paint and color terms that will help you say what you mean and mean what you say. Here are some examples: Bleeding — The diffusion of color matter through a coating from underlying surfaces, causing color change. Gloss — The shine or luster of the surface of a coating as light is reflected back at a 60 degree-angle. Leafing — The propensity of flat pigment particles, such as metallic powders, to align themselves parallel to a coated surface. The result is often a silvery or brilliant finish. Sheen — A radiant brightness or glow, due to light being reflected from a smooth surface at an 85 degree-angle ■


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The “M”word Understanding metamerism can help design professionals avoid costly color mistakes


ail Mayhugh believes paint color is alive. “It will change from morning to noon to night because of light coming through windows, or lights being turned on,” says the Las Vegas interior designer, a phenomenon that scientists refer to as color inconstancy. But what if it “changes” on the way home from the paint store? “A classic example is someone who chooses a berry red or bluish-pink color,” says color consultant Jill Morton, CEO of Colorcom in Honolulu, Hawaii. The paint appears to perfectly match a fabric or other sample. “Then, when they get it home, suddenly the color looks salmon.” The paint hasn’t actually changed, of course. The perceived difference in color is caused by the phenomenon called metamerism, in which two colors appear to match perfectly under one light source but do not match at all under a different light source.




Color perception is the result of a complex interaction between the light reflected off a surface and the chemical properties of its color source. Technically, this is called the spectral reflectance curve. Metamerism occurs when colors respond differently to light because of the way they were formulated; their spectral curves are different.

Different pigments, different properties “If you look around a room, all the objects you see — fabrics, ceramics, paint — have different types of colorants, dyes and pigments, each with differing properties,” says Roy S. Berns, professor of color science, appearance and technology at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. Unlike the way we hear sounds, which we sense at individual frequencies, we see color by transforming many wavelengths into just a

few signals, Berns says. “As a consequence, many combinations can result in the same color. If you had an infinite amount of time, you could make all colors match for one type of viewing condition for one person, but once you change the lighting, the different pigments and dyes will respond differently.” Different light sources can result in different effects, says Thomas A. Hough, color science specialist with Whiterock Design in Tucson. “Light from a tungsten light bulb has more yellow content, while light from a fluorescent lamp has more blue content.” Colors that appear the same under one type of lighting can respond differently under another. Mayhugh, owner of GMJ Interiors, has seen this effect firsthand. “I’ll be out shopping with clients, looking at fabrics in stores under fluorescent lights, thinking the fabrics match or coordinate,” she says. “Then we bring them home into incandescent lighting, and



Your Colors in Context To ensure that the color you choose looks as good at your project site as it did on

maybe they won’t work at all or not in the way we expected.” Color inconstancy tends to occur more often with complex color hues, says Morton, also the author of “Color Voodoo,” a series of publications about color. “Purple, brown, puce, mauve, sage green, celadon green — those are the colors that are more likely to ‘shift.’”

Finish also has an impact Paint finishes also can affect color appearance. Because shinier surfaces reflect light in a single direction while flat surfaces reflect light in all directions, colors can appear different in matte versus gloss finishes, Berns says. “To minimize problems associated with metamerism, it’s best to use the same paint manufacturer throughout a project whenever possible,” says Sheri Thompson, director of Sherwin-Williams’ Color Marketing and Design. Different manufacturers use different

formulas of pigments or colorants to arrive at a specific hue. The fewer the pigments, the less likely the finish will be affected by changes in lighting. It’s also essential to view colors under the conditions in which they’ll be used. SherwinWilliams paint stores have special light booths that allow you to view paint samples under a variety of lighting sources. But that accounts only for indoor lighting. Outdoor light also can affect the way a color appears. “If you live in the desert, you might have beige light coming into your home. If you live in Hawaii, you’ll have more greens,” Morton says. Both Morton and Mayhugh recommend testing paint color in the location where it will be used by buying small samples of color and painting poster boards, which can be moved easily from room to room for easy comparison with other design elements. “That’s the key,” Morton says. ■

your presentation board, take advantage of Sherwin-Williams’ COLOR To Go™ color-sampling program. COLOR To Go samples are mixed by request in small Twist-n-Pour™ containers. This trybefore-you-buy program offers a virtually unlimited number of paint colors, including colors from the SherwinWilliams palette and custom color matches. To purchase a COLOR To Go sample in the hue of your choice, visit your local Sherwin-Williams store.


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G L A MOUR In a sure cure for tired, muted traditional home decor, an exciting trend, Hollywood Glam, is emerging that has consumers adding a little effervescence to their rooms. According to trend watchers, sleek opulence is back, stemming from a nostalgic interest in the Old-Hollywood “starlet”style of the 1920s through the 1940s. Here are a few ways to bring out the inner diva in your decorating style. Go to for more on this trend.





1. Mirrored Vanity

2. Crystal Light Fixture

3. Gold Leaf

Hooker Furniture’s

Schonbek’s Geometrix

occasional pieces are

high-tech lighting in

Sirena framed mirror

crafted of hardwood

spirals and slices,

by Martin Aborn

in a crackled white

cylinders and spheres,

features a luxe finish

finish and sport crystal

and pyramids and rec-

stenciled by hand

drawer pulls and

tangles imbues Strass

in a gold-leaf

mirrored fronts.

crystals by Swarovski

Florentine pattern.

with dazzling color.

Framed Mirror

3 1






Sherwin-Williams ® colormix 07 stir your senses


B y K I M PA L M E R


umans have a love-hate relationship with technology. We embrace its promise of limitless possibilities. But we also fear its growing, sometimes invasive presence in our lives, and yearn to preserve our individuality. Both sentiments are exerting strong gravitational pull on design, as demonstrated by Sherwin-Williams colormix 07, an extensive analysis of the cultural influences that are expected to color our world. “Technology is giving us things we never dreamed of: new materials, finishes, fabrics and textures,” says Becky Ralich Spak, senior designer, Color Marketing and Design, Sherwin-Williams. Technology also is transforming design from the inside, exposing our eyes and minds to other cultures and design traditions, and even creating a technology aesthetic all its own. “We’re bombarded with more images in a day than our ancestors saw in a lifetime,” says color consultant Jill Morton, CEO of Colorcom. “Visually, we require more stimulation.” But this brave new world has a flip side: a deepening desire to protect the best of the world we’re leaving behind. We welcome our high-tech present, but long for our high-touch past. Nostalgic comforts and handmade artifacts strike a deep chord, says Ralich Spak, because they represent the personal element we fear we’re losing. Technology, ultimately, inspires us to embrace our humanity, says Zara Stender, owner of ZaraDesigns and vice chair for the Western Region of the Color Marketing Group. “The more tech we get, the more we long for connection.”

To receive your Sherwin-Williams® colormix™ 07 fan deck, contact your Sherwin-Williams Architectural Account Executive or call the Architect and Designer Answerline at (800) 321-8194 to have an account executive contact you. SHERWIN-WILLIAMS

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balanced living “Think of green as a neutral. Look what Mother Nature does with green as a backdrop.” — LEATRICE EISEMAN

Naval SW 6244


nly a few years ago, environmentally friendly design occupied a tiny niche. Now, fueled by growing concern about the

Inland SW 6452

Earth’s resources and human health, green design is flourishing like a well-tended garden.

Time magazine’s summer Style & Design cover celebrated “Green Living” and asked, “Is Sustainability the New Luxury?”

But the growth of green has moved beyond luxury status into something more universal. Cost is no longer the bottom line; Sapphire SW 6963

there’s a deeper appreciation of the issues at stake. “There’s more and more awareness,” agrees Karin Schluer, a LEED-certified designer with WESKetch Architecture in Millington, N.J. “More designers are really into it, and some have to be because of chemical sensitivities.” The green movement is part of a broader appreciation for all aspects of balanced, healthy living, says Ralich Spak.

Gallant Gold SW 6391

“There’s more interest in organic products, yoga and Pilates, recycling, and conservation of fuel and fresh water.” The design impact of our growing green-mindedness is a renewed appreciation for relaxed, natural elements and clean, pastoral hues, put together the way nature intended. Think of the cool shades reflected in rippling water or a bowl of fresh

Butter Up SW 6681

blueberries, or the golds and greens of a sun-washed Cezanne landscape. “The Sherwin-Williams yellow family – from soft and warm Butter Up to Gallant Gold – is growing in importance,” says Ralich Spak. “Green design is beyond a trend,” says Leatrice Eiseman, color consultant, executive director of the Pantone Color

Raindrop SW 6485

Institute and author of “More Alive with Color” (2006, Capital Books). “This is not fluff; this is a serious concern, and it just keeps growing.”

Exclusive Plum SW 6263

ELEMENTS • Technology-created natural finishes • Recycled materials • Weathered woods with color washes • Leaf and branch motifs • Weather-resistant coatings





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ELEMENTS • Artisan and global craft traditions • Geometric lines and shapes • Carved exotic woods, embellishments, intricate details • Indigenous materials • Scrolling metal designs

Marooned SW 6020

Gingery SW 6363

sultry origins

Aurora Brown SW 2837

Pennywise SW 6349

“We’re globally conscious now. We have to be.” — ZARA STENDER

Brassy SW 6410


ollywood is more than an influence – it’s a metaphor for today’s multicultural style sampling. Just as the Indian film

industry interprets Hollywood glamour to create a distinctive aesthetic, so do we borrow ethnic elements that appeal to

Leather Bound SW 6118

us and put our own spin on them. Influences from Asia, Africa and the Middle East that once seemed daring and exotic are increasingly finding their way

into American interiors. Even those who can’t travel can go to the Internet and get a pretty good feel for a culture and its Fine Wine SW 6307

architecture, says Ralich Spak. “Technology allows us to reach to the other side of the world without a plane.” “Street couture” also colors our view. As we become accustomed to seeing our fellow global citizens in vibrant ethnic clothing, we internalize those looks. “Multiethnic influences have empowered people to use much more complex colors together,” says Eiseman. “You might look at two strong colors and think they don’t belong together, but when you see them in the context of an ethnic print, they work.” Indian and Moroccan elements remain strong, aided by laser-cut technology that gives textiles and wall coverings the look of heirloom lace or Moorish architecture. Eastern European, Spanish and Portuguese elements are emerging influences. “Spain is what Tuscany used to be,” Eiseman observes. And as the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics approaches, all eyes will be on China, spurring interest in its rich design history. This multicultural medley dovetails with a rising interest in artisan craft traditions around the globe and close to home. The Arts & Crafts revival, in particular, continues to gain momentum. Its clean, simple lines marry beautifully with the spice-infused hues of ethnic pieces, Ralich Spak says, and its underlying aesthetic still resonates. Just as it emerged as a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, its resurgence today is a reaction to the technology-created design of the Digital Revolution. “We live in a world that’s increasingly mass-produced,” Eiseman says. “So we feel a need to go back to something that has value, something that was artfully, lovingly crafted.”




understated elegance “Midtone and deeper saturated neutrals bring new depth and drama.” — BECKY RALICH SPAK


Practical Beige SW 6100

absence, says Ralich Spak.

Pacer White SW 6098

land? Boring? Not today’s neutrals. Their mix of values, of warm and cool tones harmonizing together as they do in

natural stone, represent a subtle rainbow compared with the safe off-white palettes of yesteryear.

Sherwin-Williams’ cool grays, such as pale Krypton and deep Cyberspace, are making a comeback after a noticeable And technology brings a whole new dimension to neutral palettes, adding light and inner luster with textures and

finishes we could never have imagined previously. “Technology has come so far since neutrals were last in the spotlight,” says Ralich Spak. “There are wall coverings that

Krypton SW 6247

look like fish scales, LED lighting that adds texture and dimension, even leather with a luminescent quality.” The Milan Furniture Fair was a-shimmer with metallic finishes and crystal-embedded textiles, Eiseman notes. “Years ago, if crystals were in the fabric, you would feel them. Now technology allows a flat finish that still sparkles.”

Ivoire SW 6127

The range of products with chameleonic colors is rapidly expanding, Morton says. “We first saw it in the automotive industry, with complex grays that shift from silver to lavender. Once we see it in one arena, we look for it in others.” Technology is redefining luxury for the mass market, Eiseman says. “Luxury today doesn’t necessarily mean the most expensive textile. Today you can create a very sumptuous fabric that is synthetic but still looks natural. Technology is allow-

Harmonic Tan SW 6136

ing us to have more.”

Rice Grain SW 6155

Mega Greige SW 7031

Warm Stone SW 7032

Java SW 6090

Cyberspace SW 7076

ELEMENTS • Clean lines, tailored details • Luminescence • Textural interest • Mixed-value neutrals, warm with cool • Relaxed elegance


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virtual re-mix “To younger generations, it’s new and hip. To older ones, it’s ‘Wow, wasn’t that a great time?’” — ZARA STENDER

Peppery SW 6615


Iicture a look that’s the visual equivalent of a “greatest hits” CD with all your favorite tunes from decades gone by. Nostalgia is going strong, with elements and colors that borrow freely from the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. The new spin

this time around is that there are no rules. “Eclectic is the key word,” says Eiseman. “We’re mixing rather than matching.”

Black Swan SW 6279

It’s more than a look; we’re hooked on a feeling – the cozy comfort of a retro kitchen stocked with colorful Fiesta Ware or the warmth of a family evening spent over a classic board game. “This is a very emotional palette,” Eiseman says. “It offers something to resonate with every age group.”

Antiquity SW 6402

Looking back with wistful fondness is perhaps inevitable given our uncertain present. “No question about it,” Eiseman says. “Vintage is not new, but it’s a movement that has gained momentum.” Our nostalgic mood emerged just before 2000 amidst apprehension about the millennium bug, then escalated after Sept. 11. “It’s had legs ever since,” she says. “It’s not going away.”

Storm Cloud SW 6249

And unlike previous retro revivals, our nostalgic mood is irony-free. “It’s not tongue-in-cheek – we’re not making fun of the past,” Stender says. “We’re revisiting it with respect.”

Drizzle SW 6479

Orchid SW 0071

ELEMENTS • Retro silhouettes • Vintage and vintage-inspired pieces • Nostalgic details: rickrack, pompon, quilted appliqués • Brocade fabrics, tropical and Pucci prints • Grass cloth and flocked wall coverings


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kinetic contrasts “This is a very dramatic look – white and black with punches of color.” — BECKY RALICH SPAK

Juneberry SW 6573

Bohemian Black SW 6988

Gulfstream SW 6768

Gold Crest SW 6670

Ablaze SW 6870

Extra White SW 7006

Luau Green SW 6712

ELEMENTS • Laser-cut fabrics • Pop art/graphic art • High-gloss finishes • Patterns influenced by body art • High contrast (white with black, bold accents)


ndy Warhol rarely smiled, but today he’d have much to grin about. The pioneering pop artist’s bold, graphic style is enjoying another 15 minutes in the spotlight. A small Warhol painting of a can of Campbell’s soup recently sold at

auction for $11.8 million, and the 20th anniversary of his death next February will inevitably trigger a new wave of tributes. But Andy can’t claim all the glory. Other modern abstract artists, such as Paul Klee and Piet Mondrian, also are having a major impact on the way we see the world: bright, saturated color accents against a backdrop of black and white; lines that are clean and sharp; glossy finishes. The impact is thoroughly modern and pulsing with energy. “Strong contrast is the driving look and feel,” says Ralich Spak. Apple lifted this look for its iconic iPod ad campaign, featuring black silhouettes against colored backgrounds. “That was such a strong and dramatic graphic imprint that it sparked interest in the original silhouettes,” says Eiseman. The look resonates, in part, because technology has influenced our perception, Eiseman says. “We spend a lot of time looking at screens, moving graphics and pop-up ads. Our eyes have become accustomed to juxtapositions of color. We’ve had TV cartoons for many years, but this is in a much smaller, intensified space.” New to the mix is the pairing, borrowed from the fashion runways, of strong, bold colors with very pale hues, she adds. “Fashion always pushes the envelope, and the more you see something, the more you get used to it.” The pale color functions “almost like a tinted white,” Eiseman says. “They support each other really well, without looking like the sameold, same-old.”


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Health-care designers increasingly tap the power of the palette to promote patient well-being





Color as patient cue Melissa Young, a designer with Sunrise Medical – OneSource in Stevens Point, Wis., proposed dramatic color schemes for the company’s Evergreen Retirement Community in Oshkosh, Wis. “Residents want more than just lollipop colors,” says Young, who used rich, saturated colors such as Hubbard Squash (SW 0044), Bunglehouse Blue (SW 0048) and Rembrandt Ruby (SW 0033) in Sherwin-Williams’ ProMar 200 formulation. The colors do double duty as wayfinders. Each of the four “households” in the facility is distinguished by a different color scheme, so that even patients with cognitive impairment can easily find their way to their rooms after visits to the public areas. It’s not always easy to make color choices that will please everyone who will visit a health-care provider, says the architect on the Evergreen project, Gaius Nelson of Nelson Tremain Partnership in Minneapolis. “People have a lot of variety in their likes and dislikes,” he says. Personal tastes as well as cultural, regional and generational preferences can complicate selections. Cama once designed a psychiatric ward for a hospital that served a Chinese population. Rather than use white, which in China is symbolic of death, she chose muted pastels that wouldn’t be so depressing for residents. And while deep, bright colors can distract and delight pediatric patients, they can be jarring for patients with dementia, particularly if they are used on the floor, where sharp color transitions can leave patients feeling they are stepping into an abyss. Residents of health-care facilities may respond to colors differently than do staff, who besides being in and out of the facility more, may have a perspective driven less by aesthetics and more by clinical realities, such as ease of maintenance and sterility.



ecorated in hospital-issue grays and dirty whites, my grandpa’s tiny nursing-home room gets its only splashes of color from his green cardigan and a framed photograph perched on his window sill, showing him and Grandma. When I visit, I find the drab environment stifling and can only imagine how dreary it is for Grandpa. Grandpa doesn’t complain. But architects, designers and a growing number of health-care administrators believe the right colors — well beyond shades of gray — can make people’s experience with health-care environments more positive, help facilities compete, and possibly even provide therapeutic benefits to patients, from the newborn to the aged. With nearly $20 billion spent on the construction of health-care facilities each year, the stakes for getting it right are high. “We respond favorably to color and light in nature,” says Roz Cama, chairwoman of the Center for Health Design. “Retail designers frequently use this concept to lure customers and keep them shopping longer; hospitality designers use color to make guests feel relaxed.” But, when it comes to health-care design, “we often fail to use the full spectrum of color and light to enhance the healing process.” Even so, Cama says there are signs of change as health-care administrators, heeding research that shows patients in thoughtfully designed spaces have higher satisfaction with their experiences and are more likely to select the facility for future health-care needs, are embracing color. Hospitals are building warm, homey maternity wards to lure “young women who will later make the health-care decisions for their children, husbands and parents,” says Cama. And Grandpa’s nursing home notwithstanding, a rapidly aging generation of baby boomers has geriatric facilities following suit.

“And while deep, bright colors can distract and delight pediatric patients, they can be jarring for patients with dementia…”

It may not be a cure-all, but a landscape scene — even if it’s just a single tree — can help patients heal. Health-care design guru Roger Ulrich’s groundbreaking findings more than a decade ago showed that given either a room with a view of nature — say a window into a courtyard or even a landscape painting — versus a brick wall to look at, patients did better when looking at nature. Everything from blood pressure to recovery from surgery can be improved with a view of nature, and there is strong evidence that even a brief view of real or simulated natural landscapes can distract patients from pain and can significantly reduce stress in as little as three minutes — all without FDA approval.

A palette to soothe Anne Marie Procopio chose serene shades of blue in her design for Franciscan Hospital for Children in Brighton, Mass. Procopio, a designer with Drummey Rosane Anderson Inc. in Newton Centre, Mass., selected cool shades such as Huckleberry (SW 1523) and Sugarplum (SW 1520) in Sherwin-Williams’ ProMar 200 formulation to anchor the hospital’s Great Barrier Reef theme. The theme and colors were chosen to soothe anxious young patients, many with traumatic head injuries that can magnify their response to stimuli such as bright hues. “Blue is a tranquil color,” says Procopio. The restful palette and reef theme give children calming things to look at while they are waiting to see the doctor. “More and more, hospitals are coming to understand the impact of investing in evidence-based [research-supported] design,” says Cama. Working with the Center for Health Design, researchers at Johns Hopkins University surveyed nearly 80,000 articles for patient outcomes related to a variety of design features, ranging from room size to type of window to color, searching for design strategies that can reduce stress and length of stay. Though they found little direct research proving the influence of color, other findings, particularly those showing the positive benefits of lighting and patients’ views of nature, may have connections to the effect of color on patient outcomes. There may be no one color prescription for all applications in healthcare design. But one thing seems clear to the people who are creating the places where we heal: Color is critical. Cama can’t forget the story of a sick little girl who was having a tough time when she came into the Yale – New Haven Children’s Hospital emergency room with her mother. When the child was admitted and transported to a bright and colorful inpatient room that Cama had recently designed, her eyes lit up. “Mommy, can I stay here?” she said. That’s proof enough for Cama. That response alone helps her understand the importance of color in health-care design, she says. ■ Go to for more on health-care design.

The waiting room of Franciscan Hospital for Children (left and inset) incorporates undulating lines that mimic waves.





Room With a View

“There were staff members who initially didn’t like the color selection” for Evergreen Retirement Community, says Young. “But they don’t have to live it 24 hours a day.” In any case, says Cama, interpreting color cues can be tricky. “You can say green is calming, but is it avocado or chartreuse?” And the wrong lighting can foil the most thoughtful color plan. “If you put any color under fluorescent light, it is going to look harsher,” says Cama. Color selection, review and approval must be done under the same lighting conditions, she adds.

A colorful palette (this page and the next) animates the Flex Center’s pool area and invigorates therapy patients.

Making a splash Bright hues enhance healing at a California physical therapy center




hysical therapy can be daunting. Following doctor’s orders to visit the therapist’s office — where a white-clad clinician prods a knee recovering from replacement or pushes and pulls an over-used shoulder — can feel like volunteering for torture. When physical therapist Pam Wain went to design her new Flex Physical Therapy and Fitness Center in Oakland, Calif., she wanted to create a less threatening and more encouraging space. “I wanted a place that patients would want to come back to,” says Wain. She turned to her architect-husband, Pierluigi Serraino of Anshen + Allen in San Francisco, for help. “There is usually a sort of bleakness in physical therapy studios,” says Serraino. “It is never about the celebration of your recovery.”

“My wife is a very cheerful person and has a lot of wonderful energy,” he adds. “Color was a way to create a lively space” that would reflect her attitude. Employing a modernist design with color inspiration from the popular animated film Finding Nemo, Serraino produced an unexpected and celebratory design by washing the 3,200-square-foot space in deep, jewel-toned colors — nearly 20 different ones in all. Entering through the square gray exterior, patients are greeted by a deep-red entry — and it doesn’t get any more subdued as they move through the space to do the work of healing. Colors delineate land-based Pilates physical-therapy and aquatic-therapy spaces and create boundaries for patients working hard to recover.


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Uplifting palette The windowless pool area is bright and uplifting with walls painted in produce-fresh colors including Sherwin-Williams Kiwi (SW 6737) and Vegan (SW 6738), and anchored by strong Tanager (SW 6601) at the floor — all in epoxy finishes to withstand the moisture. Changingarea doors are painted in perky contrasting colors. The land-based Pilates area is awash in sunny yellow. According to Wain, the vibrant colors reflect not only an attitude, but also a regard for clients that is often missing in health care. A drab design, she says , does nothing to inspire clients to heal or to show them that you care. “Physical therapy is often very serious,” says Wain. At Flex, the goal is to inject a little fun into the experience — and the environment. Colors were purposely chosen to create a mood of energy and optimism. “They are very strong and very saturated,” meant to be invigorating rather than soothing, Serraino says. Still, he didn’t want the bold environment to overdo it. “You have to be careful so that the colors don’t become overwhelming.” The carefully chosen, cheerful design is a big hit with her patients, Wain says. “People are shocked; they just love it.”




“... the vibrant colors reflect not only an attitude, but a regard for clients that is often missing in health care. ” Ericka Rodriguez, office manager at Flex, also reports positive responses. “I had one patient who was really grumpy on the phone,” she says. Once the patient arrived and saw the colorful space, her attitude changed completely. “She walked in, and she was like, ‘This is just an amazing place.’” Flex staff members benefit, too. Rodriguez says she used to dread going to work each day, but no more. “[Flex] is such a different environment; it is so bright, and the colors just cheer me up. It changed my whole attitude toward work,” she says. ■



BRAVE NEW WORLD Technology brings us closer to designer Karim Rashid’s vision of a bright, modernist future B y K I M PA L M E R

Product designer Karim Rashid has always been a modernist. “It’s the way I see the world,” he says. With more than 2,000 objects put into production, Rashid has applied his minimalist aesthetic to clients as diverse as Nambe, Mikasa, Prada and Umbra, and has been credited with bringing modern design to the masses. Dubbed “the poet of plastic” by Time magazine in 2001, Rashid has now branched into interior design.


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STIR: We’ve been hearing that modernism is on the rise. What’s your view? KR: No question about it, we’re living in a more contemporary world. We’ll see a huge change in 10 or 15 years. There’s still a lot of money with the older market, but as youth become well off, contemporary style will grow. STIR: Why do you think that’s happening? KR: All artifacts speak about the period in which we live. In the last century, we regressed so much, as if we had no future. We thought we’d live on the moon, then we went and there was nothing there — just dead rock. We lost our optimism about outer space and regressed to earthy colors. We were replicating the past. Now it’s all breaking loose. We’re starting to see new optimism for the future. Technology is affording us a better world. STIR: How will that influence color? KR: When we’re really optimistic, color moves in. We saw it in the original pop movement in the ’50s, after World War II. The economy was strong, and there was optimism about the future. I think we’ve accepted color again in the past five years. It’s a beautiful phenomenon. We’re born with this gift, to see color. Then we get afraid of it. Color is something to celebrate and enjoy. It’s odd that we think it’s something for children. STIR: What’s the design impact of the digital revolution? KR: It’s an interesting time we’re living in, a time of customization. Thirty or 40 years ago, you could have things hand-painted any color. Then we went to mass production and just a few color choices. Now we’re going back to choice through technology and digital color. For the first time, design has become democratic. We can publish at our desktops, customize our Nikes, make our own shampoo and edit our own movies. Now we’re looking at the rest of our environment and wondering, “Why do I have these incredibly beautiful high-tech products and this derivative 18th-century couch?” STIR: How is technology changing the way we live? KR: Soon we won’t need a key for the door. A sensor will let us in. You won’t need to turn on lights; light will follow you around your home. My bathroom in New York is all motion sensors; I don’t touch my tap or flush my toilet. These ideas used to be science fiction; now they’re here. Soon they will be affordable enough for the masses. STIR: You made your name designing consumer products. Why did you decide to branch into interior design? KR: You can really affect a person’s psyche — it’s more of a sensory experience. My theory is that if a product is




really good, it can exist in any color, and with mass production, you can go in all different directions — you can experiment. But in interior design, you only have one chance to get it right. I recently did a restaurant in Belgrade, and I changed my mind about the the floor 20 times. First it was high-gloss pink, with lines like an old mosaic. Then high-gloss black. Then gray. STIR: So what did you end up with? KR: White. (Laughs.) Isn’t that sad? But the rest of the space was so over the top with color and imagery that it needed white. STIR: What were your early color and design influences? KR: My father was a set designer for TV and film, and that probably had a lot of impact on me. He painted super graphics in the house, and we had a big plastic high-gloss orange clock. STIR: What colors do you choose in your own life? KR: For five years, I’ve been wearing only white. It’s a blank canvas. I took all my black clothes to the Salvation Army. My home is crazy — fluorescent orange, bright pink and plums. I change my apartment about every month. I’m kind of obsessed with change. STIR: Do you have a signature color? KR: Pink. I was always fascinated with pink as a child. At my high school graduation (in Toronto), I wore a custom-made pink satin suit and dyed my hair pink. A few years ago, British GQ said, “Karim made pink masculine,” which I love. STIR: What are you most excited about right now, with respect to color? KR: The colors I’m into now are iridescent and changeable. I recently did a park bench in Japan that looks gold, pink or orange, depending on the angle. It’s color with depth. STIR: What color or design trend would you like to see go away? KR: What I wish would go away is this notion that “cozy” is a big fat fluffy couch with pillows. That’s an old idea of what cozy is. You could get a big contemporary couch that was more comfortable. There’s a weird mentality about wood. People immediately want it. They fear plastic. But plastic is so superior! It can outperform wood, it’s lightweight and it’s recyclable. It’s time to accept it. ■

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New York City’s Solaire project proves that high-density housing can be easy on the environment

The Solaire (center) gives off a healthy glow against the Manhattan skyline.



ne of the first families to sign a lease at the Solaire, the nation’s first “green” residential high-rise, included a child who suffered from allergies and respiratory problems. Before moving in, the 7-year-old had never slept through the night. Now she sleeps soundly. “That’s due to the indoor air quality,” says Julie Gross Gelfand, vice president and director of public relations for HLD/Blankman Public Relations, which represents the Albanese Organization, developer of the Solaire. “It’s like a magic bullet.” Healthy indoor air quality — achieved through a state-of-the art filtration system that removes 85 percent of particulates and provides each of the building’s 293 units with fresh filtered air — is just one of many environmentally responsible aspects that have earned the Solaire international acclaim, not to mention Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. An on-site wastewater treatment system — the first in the nation

built inside a multifamily residential building — recycles black water (from toilets and shower and sink drains). Together with a storm-water reuse system and various additional conservation strategies, it ensures that the 27-story Solaire uses half the water of a typical residential building its size. And solar panels built into the Solaire’s exterior walls, as well as energy-efficient windows, lighting and appliances, reduce the building’s energy consumption by 35 percent. “The Solaire symbolizes what can be accomplished with a commitment to utilizing readily available technologies and materials to create a healthy living environment,” says Russell C. Albanese, president of the Albanese Organization, which teamed with design architects Clarke Pelli and a wide range of experts to complete the project.

First in a “green” series Overlooking the Hudson River on Lower Manhattan’s west side, the Solaire is the first of eight buildings to be constructed in Battery Park


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GOING GREEN • Use interior finishes with no or low VOCs. • Buy recycled carpeting — or abandon carpeting and rugs

Light where it counts City in accordance with the “green guidelines” and Green “For the walls, we limited our color choices Building Tax Credit program initiated by Gov. George Pataki • Upholster with natural textiles to a fairly light palette,” says Button. Rather in 2000. Since a green residential tower had never before such as organic cotton, hemp or than relying on wall color to provide visual been attempted in the United States, much of the process linen. Look for material that’s interest, he brought color into the apartwas “learn as you go,” says Tim Button, a principal at been colored with vegetable ments through the “nonpaint” elements: Manhattan-based Stedila Design, which oversaw the (instead of chemical) dyes. furniture, flooring, cabinetry and even building’s interior design. • Buy locally to reduce resources nature. “The color change that the win“Choosing the materials was where the green standards dows offer — especially with the setting most came into play for us,” says Button. “We had two filused in transportation. sun coming through the west-facing apartters we ran everything through: Was the material healthy • Ask for manufacturers’ environments — is spectacular,” says Button, who for people to live with? And was it a renewable resource?” mental impact statements. adds that there are no windows in the In appointing the Solaire’s apartments, Button chose apartments’ hallways. “That seems counnatural and high-end materials, including solid cherry Tips from designer Tim Button of Stedila Design terintuitive, but we didn’t want to waste kitchen cabinets, slate kitchen floors, granite countertops, the natural light — not to mention the marble bathrooms and maple floors. Durability was key, energy loss — in spaces that didn’t matter. We put it all where people live.” given that the Solaire is home to a significant number of families. The fact that the Solaire was fully occupied within six months of comButton chose Sherwin-Williams’ Harmony® Interior Latex (in a flat finish in the bedrooms and living rooms, Eg-Shel finish in the bathrooms pletion, at rents averaging 4 to 5 percent higher than those for equivalent buildings, has made it a case study for sustainable urban living. Since its and kitchen) because Harmony emits no VOCs. (He was familiar with completion, another green residential tower, the Verdesian, also an Harmony because his children have allergies and he researched low- or Albanese project, has risen next door, and one more is in the works nearby. no-VOC paints for his own home.) For the trim and doors, Sherwin“You take the whole package at the Solaire — the service, the Williams’ Manhattan sales representative Herman Stubblefield recomdesign, the outstanding setting — and then you add the green living mended ProClassic Waterborne semi-gloss, which “achieves a finish aspects, and you say, ‘Wow!’” says Gelfand. ■ similar to an oil-based paint but with a low-VOC content,” he says. altogether to minimize allergens.





PERMANENT INK Whether as a sign of rebellion or state control, a symbol of brotherhood or fierce individuality, tattoos capture the imagination. Captain James Cook introduced this prehistoric concept and the word “tattoo” to the modern world with accounts of Tahitian natives marked head-to-toe with intricate and indelible patterns. The use of color was perfected by the Japanese, and today pigments range from organic (carbon black, for example) to inorganic (iron oxides produce rusty red colors) to synthetic (including “chameleon” ink made from polymers that react to black light).





C O M P R O M I S E .

You can rely on Sherwin-Williams to help you meet your green coating specifications and satisfy all your quality expectations. We’ve developed the GreenSure™ symbol to help you identify environmentally preferable products that deliver maximum performance. Look for GreenSure on Harmony and Duration Home.™ Both of these innovative coatings meet our highest standards for air quality, VOC emissions, life cycle cost efficiency, durability, color, and coverage. To learn more, visit your nearest Sherwin-Williams store, see your Architectural Account Executive or call our Architect & Designer Answerline at 1-800-321-8194.

©2006 The Sherwin-Williams Company

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PAID Cenveo

STIR 3.2 2006  

STIR magazine from Sherwin-Williams Volume 1 Issue 1, 2006.