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Best of 2015: Eye-Popping Books on Color


By Jill Pilaroscia

For the holiday season, we’ve selected a few gorgeously illustrated new books in which rich color takes center stage.

Abigail Ahern
Images courtesy of Jill Pilaroscia / photographers noted

In her new book on color, Abigail Ahern encourages readers to banish beige, boost color, and transform their home.

Abigail Ahern’s "Colour" takes readers on a journey into the deep with its emphasis on dramatic aquamarine hues. 

Awash in blues and greens, the book is a celebration of the British interior designer’s signature palette, which she describes on her website as “an array of intoxicating, dark, inky bottom-of-the-lake hues, all tempered with the odd bright pop of color and ultra lux new neutrals.”

Photography by Graham Atkins-Hughes

Ahern, who also owns two retail shops in London, is known for her fearless use of color and seductively stunning interiors. Beautifully photographed by Graham Atkins-Hughes, "Colour" exemplifies Ahern's confident style as she encourages readers to be bold, take risks, and have fun with color rather than fear it. She outlines many practical strategies for color, such as using it in unexpected places like inside kitchen cabinets, or building the illusion of space by blurring boundaries between walls and ceilings.

Organized by room and by specific color combinations, "Colour" illustrates gorgeous uses for black and white, bold and dark colors, and even neon.

Photograph by Horst P. Horst/Conde Nast Collection

A young Jane Fonda graces the cover of Michel Pastoureau's new book.

French historian Michel Pastoureau plumbs the depths of a single hue in "Green: The History of a Color." A follow-up to the author’s previous two volumes, "Black and Blue," the book examines the evolving place of green in art, clothes, literature, religion, science and everyday life. As this thoroughly researched book so elegantly illustrates, over time green has been a color of contradictions—a symbol of life and luck, but also one of decay, greed and poison. 


The Grand Budapest Hotel by Matt Zoller Seitz

"The Grand Budapest Hotel" by Matt Zoller Seitz is a compendium to Wes Anderson's critically acclaimed film released earlier this year. This is a visual feast for the eyes with rich illustrations of set design, costuming, and art direction. The book includes interviews with lead actor Ralph Fiennes and key members of the production cast, making it a worthy read for any film buff or creative.

Books on color
Photo of "Architectural Color Design" courtesy of Les Couleurs Swisse AG

"Architectural Color Design" brings together all of Le Corbusier’s 63 color palettes in one beautifully published volume. The palettes, created in 1931 and 1959, are the basis of Le Corbusier’s comprehensive theory of colors known as the Architectural Polychromy. The book is not currently sold in the United States but can be ordered through Les Couleurs Swisse AG.


Jill Pilaroscia

“Life in Color” is co-authored by architectural color consultant Jill Pilaroscia (pictured), BFA, and creative writer Allison Serrell. Pilaroscia’s firm, Colour Studio Inc., is based in San Francisco. A fully accredited member of the International Association of Color Consultants, Pilaroscia writes and lectures widely on the art and science of color.



Tagged categories: Color; Color + Design; Colour Studio Inc.; Consultants; Designers; Aesthetics; Architecture; Color trends; Decorative finishes; Decorative painting; Design

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