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Little Fish - 7 Febuary 2008

Jonathan Hendry of Jonathan Hendry Architects lets a little colour into his life

Having just completed Phase 4 of a school project, predominantly a fit-out of a 1960s building, the importance of colour has been much discussed in the office. We tend to lean towards natural, muted tones and colours, but when designing for children we wanted to create spaces that were more playful, fresh and vibrant.
The building’s drab existing colours were not reflecting natural light, and consequently the interior was mostly lit by fluorescents. Simply by using white contrasted with walls of colour we were able to give spaces their own identity and maximise the available daylight.
Seeing the staff and kids enjoying their new classrooms opened up debate in the office about why we don’t apply more colour in our projects. Why do we keep colours toned down? Why do I always wear black and white to the office but love the colourful work of James Turrell?
Is white and grey a safe option that will elicit minimal criticism from our peers or are we just too afraid to get it wrong? A bit of both I suspect. Fortunately, I can open the books on my shelf and
see the bold colours used in the work of Louis Barragán and Le Corbusier and the wonderful structures of Richard Rogers.
Banished from our swatch are the likes of RAL 7040 and 9001 – hello to RAL 1028!

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