Materialising Colour

“What dictates the colour of the designed world? Who chooses the colours of a building, a sofa, a lamp or a pair of shoes?” These are some of the questions posed by Materialising Colour, a publication uncovering the littleknown role of the colourist Giulio Ridolfo – an expert who has worked with the likes of Denmark’s Kvadrat for over a decade. The leading textile company is renowned for its rich and nuanced palette, working with cultural institutions such as Guggenheim Bilbao.

This title follows Ridolfo across the world, capturing his “homeopathic” approach to assignments. He moves away from scientific aspects of colour theory – taking research out of the studio and into the landscape. Materialising Colour is a series of visual essays documenting this process, travelling from the Danish coast to western India, as well as meandering amongst Ridolfo’s native Friuli. Mood boards are punctuated by images taken by Howard Sooley – a photographer who collaborated with artist and filmmaker Derek Jarman on the garden at Prospect Cottage. In his work with Ridolfo, Sooley translates road trips into visual narratives, picking up on everyday details. A cup of coffee, a pair of shoes and a chair are all points of departure for future designs.

Readers become immersed in autumn leaves, rolling hills, deep blue waters and forests. The book shows how references from plants, food, music and pop culture can be harnessed into finished products. Colours become more than just aesthetic details – they are culturally rich symbols. In fact, Ridolfo has a catalogue of his own, with samples including Dense Non Sense Yellow and Forever Orange in My Mouth – each highlighting how the experience of colour is deeply personal.

Published by Phaidon. Find out more here.

Images by Howard Sooley.

Posted on 2 July 2020


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