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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!

Read more about  colour consulting for commercial projects

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