True Colors and Other Short Stories
The public-realm designer needs to provide a canvas for the expression of others that can change seasonally with varying artistic displays.
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Ultimately, this canvas transforms and gives Boston a voice. This introduction of color goes far beyond, say, simply placing colored glass-fiber reinforced concrete panels onto a building surface. The process of integrating color should mimic and celebrate the natural cadence of life or the expression of ideals or history. A great example of this is the integration of pastel movable chairs within Harvard Yard, which simulate the experience of spring among the subtle colors of the surrounding buildings.
This temporality and seasonality can also be achieved through embracing large-scale sculptures, murals, supergraphics, and lighting. This helps bring whimsy into the historic urban halls that are our streets. Another critical aspect of color in our urban landscape is plant material, which can both integrate natural processes into our daily lives but also bring a tremendous amount of brightness into our gray urban setting.
We are not talking about a couple of flowerpots here and there.
Jews grappling with diverse identities show their ‘True Colors’
These uses of color are not simply beautification, they are emotional expressions that reach deep down to our core. Art by Ahol Sniffs Glue. Artist unknown; alley scene in RiNo Art District where street art is transforming alleys into places for studios, galleries, and bars. This philosophy brings moments of seasonal expression, such as temporary murals on the walls and streets, more permanent installations by local prominent artists, and pop-up installations that use bright colors to signify the coming of the seasons.
When done wrong, this use of color is sometimes forced onto the fenestrations or is built permanently into the landscape, which immediately dates a project and reduces the importance of the color in our experience. So why are we so timid with color in our public realm? Boston has several exceptional examples to point to, such as the seasonal giant mural at Dewey Square, the previously mentioned chairs at Harvard Square, or the horticultural displays on the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway.
All of these are successful examples of pops of color, but in a city filled with creatives, these moments are too few and much too far between. We can honor the rich historical context of our public realm while still thinking of it as a canvas for modern expression. Kassia St. Space—public, private, personal, social—defines our relationship to one another in the city. Winter Safe.
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Fall Ethics. All Themes All Stories. True colors Pops of color energize our public realm. Resonance, Super A. The Greenway, Boston Commissioned by The Greenway Conservancy.
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X Short Stories | Clare London, Author
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