Contributed by Gloria Jaroff, AIA
Speaker at LightShow West | October 21-22, 2015 | Los Angeles Convention Center

Gloria Jaroff, AIA - Nature's Four Color Wheel A watercolorist paints with pigments, but architects and designers paint with light. We live inside a world of additive color, where combining all colors forms white light, which is also the basis for our artificial lighting system. So why do architects and painters use derivatives of traditional subtractive color wheels to select finishes? Why not color the world the same way as Mother Nature?

The light we see can be broken down into eight additive color wheels organized by value, saturation, temperature and undertone. Nature’s colors are combined in contrasts, the difference in brightness separating an object from its background. Each of us has a unique sensitivity to brightness. As a designer ask yourself some questions: Do you favor high or low contrast? Do you combine bold colors that complement each other, emphasizing differences to create stimulating spaces? Or do you prefer combinations of soft, muted neutrals that appear more restful? What, in other words, is your contrast personality?

I find the plethora of commercial paint colors and color names confusing. There are only four basic colors in nature: yellow, red, blue and green. Each can be described as a combination, or a composite, of a main color and an undertone of yellow, red, blue or green. For example: “peach” is red with a yellow undertone. “Aquamarine” is blue with a green undertone. Think in terms of composite main and undertone colors and you will never have a problem creating a palette.

The principles of an additive color system based on nature can be applied to any residential or commercial interior, building, or art. It’s a valuable tool to architects, planners, lighting designers, decorators, homemakers — anyone seeking to humanize built and natural environments, enrich their life, feed their soul or connect to nature in new and meaningful ways. Mother Nature’s additive color system celebrates our innate connection to the environment.

Thursday – October 22, 2015 | 2:00-3:00 pm
Free Conference Seminar
Let Nature Decide: A New Approach to Integrating Exterior Environments with Color and Light to Create Dynamic Interior Spaces
Seminar Qualifies for: 1.0 AIA LU | HSW; 0.1 IDCEC CEU; 1.0 PDH, LA CES | HSW


Gloria Jaroff, is an Emeritus member of AIA with 40+ years of architectural, lighting and interior design projects – both residential and commercial – on both East and West Coasts. Projects include bank and corporate center renovations for Wells Fargo, as well as theme parks in Japan, California and Paris for Walt Disney Imagineering and Universal Studios. Gloria has lectured on design topics at USC and Learning Tree University and has performed as a jazz pianist at Zipper Hall in the Colburn School of Music, Los Angeles and at the Santa Monica Library for the annual Unfrozen Music Event. The Nature of Color in Interior Design by Gloria Jaroff, AIA She is the author of “The Nature of Color in Interior Design”, a beautifully illustrated work that celebrates our innate connection to the natural world where color combines with light, movement and balance to produce a perfect luminosity. The principles in this book can be applied to the design of a residential or office space, a building, a painting or craft or by anyone striving to humanize our spaces, enrich our lives or feed our souls by reconnecting to the essence of Nature in a meaningful way.

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