We were asked to post an infographic about what your favorite color says about you. You can find it here, if you care to see it.

The infographic begs a few questions. What is a 'favorite' color? Do people really have one? Do you have one? Does Justin Bieber have one? As far as we can tell, Justin Bieber has no favorite color. Why else would he lean against his grey car in a blue jacket and red trousers? After all, one expects a kid in his position to be able to pick cars and clothes in his favorite color. Could it be that a favorite color depend on mood, day of the week and whether it is about clothes or cars?Justin Bieber
And then, what is color exactly? Most people would agree that it involves light. In that case, how do you determine which color exactly is your favorite? Under which light?

These may sound as silly questions. But if you're in the paint business, they may be more important than you think. It matters a lot how the colors of your paint are presented. The order of colors makes a difference. The lighting makes a difference. They could make or break your color collection. Therefor, it makes a lot more sense to worry about what colors may do together than about what one color may do on its own.

In 1924, Gerrit Rietveld, a Dutch cabinet-maker, left his mark on the world of architecture by designing a radical modern house in bold colors. It is an ingenious composition of colored planes that create rooms and spaces.Rietveld Schroeder
Looking at the Rietveld-Schroeder house today, it is hard to imagine that is nearly a 100 years old. Part of Rietveld's genius was his understanding of the role of color in architecture. He said:

"Light that doesn't meet any surface, is invisible. Material is visible only by virtue of its borders. The border, then, is where the material ends. There is no material without color. There's no color that doesn't depend on the chemical properties of the material. And space is invisible without borders."

This implies that there is no architecture without color. Which then means that color is not just a superficial addition to the architecture. Instead it IS architecture. You cannot separate the color from the architecture.

Rietveld-Schroeder
Rietveld went on to make many more great designs, among others the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. He is now regarded as one of the greatest Dutch architects and designers of all time. 


Fashion tends to go out of fashion pretty fast. Those beautiful clothes today may look outdated only a few months from now. The timespan of fashion is 6 to 12 months. The timespan of a paint job of your house is 8 years on average. The timespan of a building may be hundreds of years. The timespan of a city could be thousands of years. When choosing colors, they have to be picked with the appropriate timespan in mind. In makes no sense to choose highy fashionable colors for a home. But it makes no sense either to choose them for its full timespan of hundreds of years.

Former graffity artist Okuda San Miguel recently transformed an old Spanish church into a magical skate park, called Kaos Temple. Built in 1912, the church of Santa Barbara in Llanera, Asturias, was abandoned and fell apart from neglect. Luckily, a collective called the ‘Church Brigade’ initiated the transformation into a skate park, with help from online fundraising, Red Bull and Okuda's design. 

Kaos Temple
Photo by Lucho Vidales. More photos here.

Born in 1980 in Santander, Spain, Okuda produced street art already as a teenager. After finishing the College of Fine Art in Madrid, he established himself as a 'regular' artist, producing studio pieces that could be labeled as colorful Pop Surrealism.

His Kaos Temple design truly transforms the space. Interestingly, it reminds of the colorful patches of light, thrown by stained glass windows in gothic churches. Looking at it that way, the design could be considered a radical, yet quite respectful way of transforming a church. For now, Okuda regards it as his ultimate piece, his Sistine Chapel. That may sound a bit excessive, but the Koas Temple does indeed instil an almost religious awe. 

The holiday season in the western world brings us primarily red and green, associated with Christmas trees and Santa Claus. Green is easy to explain: it is the color of newborn life. Evergreen plants such as mistletoe, holly and ivy have been used for thousands of years to brighten up the winter a bit and remind us of spring. Red was associated with Adam's apple in the garden of Eden, but also with red winter berries. The robes of bishops were red as well. And then there's the red uniform of Santa Claus, of course.

Why is Santa's uniform red? Because, back in the day, Santa used to be a bishop. No kidding. Santa Claus was introduced by Dutch settlers in America. He is a transformed version of the traditional Sinterklaas figure, later cunningly adopted by Coca-Cola for advertsing purposes. Sinterklaas (pronounced as 'santaclaus') was short for Saint Nicholas, a historical fourth century bishop, popular for protecting children and sailors. In ancient European tradition, Saint Nicholas presented kids with presents, around Christmas time.
And here's where it gets weird. In Holland, until today, Sinterklaas is a very popular figure among kids. Every Dutch kid knows the story of Sinterklaas. How every winter, early december, Sinterklaas travels by steamboat from Spain to Holland, accompanied by a band of 'black' helpers. He brings a huge bag of presents and a book. The book contains all the good and bad deeds of the kids. If a kid did some good, it gets a present. If the kid did bad, Sinterklaas' black helpers will put it in the bag to take it to Spain. Sinterklaas comes during the night. He walks over the roofs of the houses. His black helpers bring the presents down the chimneys. Which is one explanation for the black color of their skin. Another explanation has to do with race: the helpers traditionally used to be Arabic, which is also why they wear funny (faux Arabic style) costumes. Sure, it's a weird story. But no weirder than Santa Claus flying through the air with reindeer.

However, lately the black faces of Sinterklaas' helpers have become more and more controversial. Until recently, In Holland, the popular tradition was considered quite innocent. Hardly anyone made a connection with racism or the American tradition of 'black facing'. Even though, from an American point of view, the connotations are hard to ignore. In the last 10 winters or so, an increasingly loud discussion emerged in the Dutch media. Many people are now feeling uncomfortable with the tradition. So, a couple of interesting color suggestions emerged, to solve the issue. 

One solution is to make Sinterklaas' helpers in all colors of the rainbow. After all, modern houses hardly have chimney's anymore. Smoke black has ceased to be an excuse.


Another solution, which garnered a lot of sympathy, is to turn the racism discussion upside down by making Sinterklaas' face black, rather than his helpers. It is even more or less historically correct, because Saint Nicholas originated out of Asia Minor rather than Western Europe. Ancient pictures portray him with a dark skin.

beirutWhere to go to find beauty, tranquility and color inspiration? Try Beirut, the city that has been badly rocked by wars past and present. The capitol of Libanon is a beautiful modern city, completely remade after the country's civil war. 

Serge Najjar, a 41 year old native photographer, loves his city and fills his Instagram with minimalistic beauty. He has an eye for quirky and unusual scenes, as well as for surprising color combinations.

Najjar usually gets up at 5 am and drives around the city, stopping whenever he sees something striking him. Sometimes he shoots from the street, other times shoots from a neighboring building to get a better view. If someone happens to be in the frame, he’ll ask permission to take their photo. Other times, he simply waits for something interesting to happen.

He says he’s used to the city’s dangers—so much so that the horrific bombing in southern Beirut on November 12 wasn’t particularly shocking. “It is sad to say but we are very familiar with danger in Lebanon,” he says. “We have been living with it all our life—from wars to terrorism to injustice, political and financial crises. We have probably seen it all.”

“My projects are somehow a battle against our lifetime fate,” he says. “It is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel but I somehow am obsessively trying to search for it. This is probably the message I would like to deliver: never give up. Keep on looking for the light.”

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