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What Is it With This Green?


by Jerome Weeks 2 Nov 2009

I’ve never much liked this color. To tell you the truth, I never even liked it on Art&Seek. But who listens to me? Turns out that all the people who didn’t listen to me at Upper Managment KERA were smart. In Dallas, this green has become Our Trendy New Shade of Light Summery Slime. First, […]

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ampersandI’ve never much liked this color. To tell you the truth, I never even liked it on Art&Seek. But who listens to me?

Turns out that all the people who didn’t listen to me at Upper Managment KERA were smart. In Dallas, this green has become Our Trendy New Shade of Light Summery Slime.

First, it was just the seats at the Wyly Theatre. But by the time the Wyly architects showed up in town to meet the media two weeks ago, the color was all over the lobby like a fungus. The lobby’s little foam seats look like glowing, cube-shaped toadstools. Fittingly, in the restrooms, the entrances seem to have been splashed with Mountain Dew as well.

inside the Wyly theater chamberWhat most people don’t realize is that this is the only consistent color throughout the Wyly Theatre, even in the offices. The entire lighting grid (left), for instance, glows without benefit of electricity.  So, given the opportunity in our interview, I asked architect Rem Koolhaas, Who chose the theater’s lovely color scheme of cement, steel, flourescent and Early Nuclear Meltdown? He told me to ask Joshua, the other architect. But in our video interview, Joshua Prince-Ramus made it clear that things like color choices are personal preferences that architects don’t concern themselves with too much. They’re busy thinking up radical advances in More Concrete. But then he ‘fessed up and blamed the client.

And the folks at the Dallas Theater Center have indeed run with Vile Bile. Their web page re-design is heavy on the green, but it’s a darker, kelly-ish green. The Midsummer Night’s Dream ad campaign, on the other hand, has oozed this very same luminescence on to buses and posters all around town. (The color also appears prominently in the stage production in designer Claudia Stephens’ costumes.) One of the premises behind Prince-Ramus’ lack of interest in color choice is the fact that, as a matter of personal taste, it’s very likely that as many people will hate it as like it. Either way he’d irk somebody, so why choose at all?

main street garden and cafeBut there are definite trends in color popularity, and the Garish Green is out-voting me all over Dallas.  Last week, Unfair Park ran a photo update of progress on the $17 million Main Street Garden on the east end of downtown. Lo and behold, the Lily Pad Cafe is looking distinctly bilious.

Then there’s the Dallas Center for Architecture’s website, which like Art&Seek, has the the Only Color That Clashes With Itself as a primary design element. This confirms my suspicion that the sudden prevalence of Sherwin-Williams’ paint color #47C-8 (“Sweet Rotting Frog”) is the result of a plot by a cabal of architects. They’ve cornered the national supply of this particular hue and are promoting it in their designs, then selling their gallon cans back to building contractors at inflated prices.  A way to rustle up some Real Green for themselves.

dcfa

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  • Anne

    My my, my….such a harsh attack on a lovely color…

    Count me in the camp that absolutely loves the color of the seats at the Wyly, the sweater that Rem Koolhaas wore when we interviewed him there and the ampersand in Art&Seek. In fact, it happens to be my favorite color.That’s not why we chose it for our logo, just a happy coincidence. Re. the seats – that color stands out from the black of the theater and brings some life to its industrial feel. In the lobby and bathrooms it gives a playful jolt – and what’s wrong with that? Think how slick and hard it would look without that.

    What color would you have prefered? Red? Blue? Done to death. Beige? Blah.

    The color, and the shades of it that offend you, have been everywhere lately – from tech and art web sites to spas. Green is fresh. It says nature. It has interesting friends – purple, orange, silver, wood, metal. It can be sophisticated, but it’s friendly. A little something different. Pistachio to the usual chocolate, vanilla, strawberry.

    Speaking of ice cream, we’re having some later here at the office. Maybe that’ll settle you down, Mr. Crankypants.

  • Oh, I definitely think the Wyly needed that single, bold shot of color, just not this one. As for being ‘natural.’ I’m not certain this particular shade of green ever appears normally in North Texas — except, of course, in margaritas, a fact which is making me seriously reconsider my dislike for it.

  • Lorena

    Fact: Renzo Piano started this trend, at the Nasher basement auditorium…
    Fact: Color is an intrinsic part of Architecture, should not be classified on a secondary role, want an example? Barragan, Legorreta, Preddock…ok that’s three
    I agree on how the definition of taste and its aprecciation are an individual exercise, but also that an educated mind, speciallly in the realm of design, is or should always be open to new ideas =new color palettes.
    For the untrained eye, it is more evident: a different color they don’t see too often in bldgs, because this bldg is different, it should feel and look different

  • AndreasP

    The loud green makes a perfect companion (or antidote) to the Winspear’s lush red just over the street.