Color Observed: Transformative Green

September 4th, 2014 by Kristie Strasen

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A provocative green by El Greco informs Place greens

Keeping up with the ever-changing landscape of color requires a certain amount of vigilance. Green (as in the color) is in a state of transformation. I know that sounds like the lead-in to an astrological reading but in the world of design and fashion, colors travel the universe in one iteration for a period of time. Then some sort of mysterious cosmic shift occurs and that color takes on a new personality. In the age of the internet with sites like Pinterest and Instagram, these shifts are picked up quickly and if you are not paying attention, you might think chartreuse is the green of the day when suddenly you are knocked over by emerald green everywhere!

Green with a Spanish personality….

I was in Madrid last fall when this recognition hit the tipping point for me. There were shoes for men the color of wet grass, moody olive handbags for women and a wonderful smoky green was in all the store windows. It occurred to me that green has a strong Spanish personality and I started thinking about the Spanish masters and their use of green. I took a photo of an ancient boathouse on a green lake near the king’s country palace in La Granja – and that photo absolutely nailed all the green I was seeing everywhere in Madrid.)

The King’s boathouse nestled in a world of green

So how did that Spanish green make it onto the pages of Pinterest? Or how did colors on Instagram make it into the shop windows of Madrid? It is the great cross-pollenization of the world – the collective conscious that is becoming more and more collective thanks to the internet!

Green inspiration board at Place

Green – as it turns out, IS the second most favorite color in the world – after blue. It is the international color for permission as in “green light” and “green card” and also designates safety as in “green zone”. Green is lucky if you are Irish – or not – as in “green with envy” or “green around the gills”! In the UK where tradition stills holds sway over many aspects of daily life, green represents status but not nobility. The benches in the House of Commons are green while in the House of Lords – they are red.
Green definitely has a way of reinventing itself – think chameleon – and changing its personality. Right now every kind of green you can imagine is out there and being used. And greens are being combined with each other in a wonderful new way: yellow green with blue green, cool, ashy greens with warm olive greens, spring greens with forest greens. You name it – if it is green – it says NOW!
Want to read more about the the ever-changing landscape of color? Click here for Color Observed: The Blue Hour.
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Kristie Strasen has over 25 years experience as an independent design consultant specializing in designing, coloring and styling textiles for both the contract and residential markets.

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