Abdullah Alkhorayef explains why you should embrace colour in your life
Our columnist wants to encourage you to stop being so scared of bringing some colour to your life
There is a quiet, influential force that lives with us, everywhere around us and in our thoughts, it interacts so elegantly with other forces in our lives that it’s usually overlooked, unnoticed, ignored or even feared—that force is colour.
Colour is one of those ideas that are so big and elusive that it can be hard to grasp. Theories have been written about it, yet I still feel many of us don’t really know how to deal with color and harness its energy in our daily lives. I read that the French often use philosophy to solve practical problems, in this column I will attempt to be French. I want to think loudly about color, its role in our lives, how to understand it, how we can intentionally use it to our advantage.
I don’t want to go into the theory of color or the science behind it, however, I want to show how color can be an easy tool to solve problems, send powerful messages, and gives us a voice, without saying anything.
Take the World Cup in Qatar for example. It’s a tournament of colors; the only way we can identify teams while watching the game is through their shirts. Or look at the lavender initiative of Saudi Arabia, which is to change the red carpets to lavender in official receptions, when receiving world leaders, dignitaries or official governmental events. This switch of color sends many messages, subtly, that Saudi Arabia is changing, it’s not just a desert, and it’s young, creative, and rich in nature and culture. Referencing the lavender flowers that grows in the desert after the rainy season, changing the color of the desert and the smell into a lush and beautiful landscape. Saying so much, with so little.
Also, one of the literally biggest elements of Saudi Arabia becoming an international tourist destination is on it western coast, also literally identified by a color, the Red Sea! Speaking of red seas and red carpets, I was double checking the dates of the red sea film festival on their website, as I’m still waiting for my invitation. Ironically the logo of the Red Sea film festival is black & white, I think they missed a trick there. Why? This is exactly what I mean of color being ignored or overlooked.
In the past couple of years I have noticed a renewed embrace of colors in the design world, from Loewe and Bottega Veneta, to Elie Saab and Saint Laurent fashion shows, to the resurgence of the Memphis School of Design aesthetics, you also see it in architecture, product design and real estate developments in building materials, details fixtures and finishes.
Apparently, I’m very good with color. I hadn’t really thought about it until it was pointed it out to me. To me, it comes naturally, I feel the need for it—like a hunger. Whether it’s in my art, the interiors I design or a development I’m building or an outfit I’m styling. Colour is always there.
The topic of color really started to intrigue me last year, as I was designing a friend’s house. That friend had loved the interiors in my house and other places I had designed. He interacted with those spaces for years, but when it came to his own house, suddenly he was afraid of color. I started getting messages with photos of plain, neutral interiors. No personality. The opposite of what I knew he really wanted. So what happened?
I think many people confuse colors with patterns, they forget about scale, context, and texture, not realize that an orange cushion on side chair doesn’t make the room orange. On the other hand, they happily wear their yellow Al-Nasser shirt without a second thought or the electric blue Al-Hilal shirt confidently. Well, with Al-Hilal you are always confident!
When the context is sports, a car, or a business we subconsciously embrace color, but when it comes to personal style or our home, we are suddenly afraid. Why that’s the case is a question for researchers however, what I would like us to realize is that color is powerful. Especially for us Middle Easterners colors complement our skin tones and our culture and heritage are full of color. I believe it was needed to give life to the empty vastness of deserts and harsh terrains. Color can hide flaws, create optical illusions. They can attract – or distract – attention, signal youth, sophistication, hobbies, interests. They invites conversation. A pop of colour is an easy and affordable way to update a building or you personal style. Color can do wonders if we allow it too.