Undoubtedly orange is a magically dipped brush swathing the New England countryside this time of year. Having not grown up here, the vibrant warm spectrum of yellow-red never ceases to delight. And though the hues now fade and cover the ground, a massive storm of orange gourds will descend upon our valley this weekend as our downtown Keene, NH celebrates Pumpkin Festival. Serendipitously, orange has been on the minds of color forecasters and thus my designing mind has become fully preoccupied with this jocular color.
The painter Wolf Kahn wrote “orange is very blatant and vulgar. It makes you immediately have feelings.” Frank Sinatra described orange as “the happiest color”. “Celebratory, gregarious orange” was a favorite accent color on the otherwise darkly sketched and outlined shapes of Gaughin’s Tahiti painting and Toulouse Latrec’s scenes from Moulin Rouge. Orange is the color of the Golden Gate Bridge, carefully chosen to blend with the surrounding hillsides of the Bay while demarcating the often fog-shrouded structure. The unmistakable color of life rings, life jackets buoys and aviation equipment, orange gets us focused and paying attention. Orange is a revered color in the Buddhist faith where the vibrant saffron robes denote the monks who have reached the highest state of enlightenment. Namesake of the beautiful sweet fruit, orange is the color of our earthly light source and the color of permutation for countless species of flora. Happy, joyful, alarming, spiritual, natural- that is quite a spectrum of responses.
My sense is that intense orange comes and goes in Interior Design and Fashion, but the hue itself is always on the scene- think peach, apricot, harvest gold and terra cotta and you will probably have a nostalgic vision of everything from appliances to bridesmaids dresses. Recently, I have enjoyed seeing the resurgence of fully saturated orange, a common 60s scheme. Predicted to become “the new black” for 2014, vibrant orange is strong enough to outline shapes but without the somberness of black. As an accent color, it is second to none with cream, white, brown, gold, bronze gray and duh (Happy Halloween!) black. Graphics patterns, sculptural shapes and blended monochromatic schemes are working their magic in current décor, infused with intense orange. Orange and blue are still the most complementary of colors and are uplifting our spirits once again. “There can be no orange without blue” wrote Van Gogh and what magic he created with these 2 colors in his ‘Sunflower” and ‘Starry Night” series. So what is to be said of the new orange? Whether it be a full field or just a drop, that is up to the creator. Simply said- the color is powerful and joyful, grounded and spiritual. What more can be said for what the modern soul yearns?