New Exhibit Takes You Inside Hella Jongerius’ Beautiful, Colorful Mind

For Breathing Colour, Jongerius, the art director of color and materials at Vitra, contrasts lightness and brightness, revels in reflection and refraction, and investigates black tones and shadow.

Designer Hella Jongerius (pictured above) has long been fascinated by the phenomenon of metamerism—where two different colors can appear to match, given the right light conditions. She explores the relationship between hue and light through objects like this one in her show at London’s Design Museum.
Photography courtesy Roel Van Tour

In her Breathing Colour exhibition, designer Hella Jongerius invites visitors to London’s Design Museum (through September 24) to explore how changing light influences the perception of hue, to question the modern industrialization of color, and to compare the effects of color and form. Jongerius has been researching color for 15 years and is the art director of color and materials at Vitra; here, in three discrete installations that mimic the light of morning, noon, and night, she turns away from standardization toward more intense, individual, and organic experiences of hue. She contrasts lightness and brightness, revels in reflection and refraction, and investigates black tones and shadow.

She presents her ideas via 3D “Colour Catchers,” abstractions of everyday objects, as well as a range of materials from crystal beads and vases to oversize textile panels. The Color Catchers (pictured below) are Jongerius’s own innovation—faceted objects made of folded cardboard that reflect hues from flat color fields that they sit on, creating complex but easily comprehensible color interactions. Having thus closely followed hues and their variations through the “day,” visitors may better understand why Monet chose to paint a single haystack over and over and over again: he found it different each time.

If you liked this article you may also enjoy “Gere Kavanaugh: Pioneer With a Penchant for Color.”

Categories: Arts + Culture, Design

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