Commercial Colour Consulting & the Building Envelope Aug/10
This is an informal interview with Sylvia O’Brien, President & Creative Director of Colour Theory regarding their approach to colouring the building envelope
JK: Sylvia, tell me about your commercial colour consulting service. I understand it ‘evolved’.
SO: Yes, it did evolve. I came from an art & design background & in the late 90’s started collaborating with paint companies helping clients select paint for all interior & exterior application. A natural progression took place when we started expanding & including colour recommendations for all building materials & finishes to our offering. Now , our commercial division is focused on enhancing the building envelope in it’s public
JK: What about some of the project types you’ve worked on for exterior colour?
SO: There’s a lot of refurbishment going on in the Toronto area right now. High rise structures & townhouse complexes built 30+ years ago are in need of repair to the building skin. Our work with refurbishment may include new railing systems, balcony membrane, siding options, roofing options & more. We follow the architect’s or engineer’s lead on what materials will be specified. Our approach with most of these projects is “while we’re coordinating materials’ colour, why not update the look of the building at the same time?”
One of my personal favourite projects brought an opportunity for restoration of a unique 1964 Uno Prii building…. a jewel in Toronto…. which essentially involved selecting the right range of whites in the various building materials required to preserve the building. We had to stick to the strict codes required for a designated Heritage* property.
*( As I’m sure you know, Uno Prii was famous for use of white for the cladding of his sculptural architecture)
JK: Absolutely! Do you work on site?
SO: Yes, I prefer to & usually do. It’s important to see each structure in it’s setting if at all possible. I meet with the engineer or architect or property management person on site to discuss the project. Goals are established at that
time. Depending on the scope of the refurbishment project it may involve two to three meetings or more before the final presentation.
I know I’ve mentioned refurbishment & restoration, but we are involved in colour consultation for commercial & new-build structures as well. At
this point almost all of the work we do is in Toronto & surrounding area.
JK: Do you provide artwork for the building’s new look?
SO: Yes I can. It is most often required when the concept is to be presented to the group of homeowners, especially when the change is somewhat radical.
JK: Sylvia, thanks for taking the time to speak with us about what you do.
SO: My pleasure!
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