Shades of Site

…in which five highly visual people share memories and impressions of places that are evoked, for them, by a single color.

Designer and Ash NYC co-founder Will Cooper (@wtcooper) and red.

“It takes me straight to northern India, and in particular to Delhi. It’s an iconic kind of color. Not necessarily bright red, but red in so many varieties and shades, some pale and like terracotta, some deeper. In its various faded glories, it’s everywhere—the old town, the Red Fort. But it makes me think most immediately of the Jamaa Masjid, the mosque in old Delhi. Inside, the vaulted ceilings and walls are all painted the most incredible shade of faded red. The color, for me evokes all of it—the sounds of the crowds, the call to prayer. And so many other things: the textiles, the spices. There are so many colors in India, but red is everywhere.”

Artist Fiona Corsini (@eyewanderer) and blue…and beyond

“A few nights ago in the company of my family we watched an episode of the Planet Earth series, which was one about the life on the coasts. It started off with a series of deep blues to identify the main subject, which was the underwater world. We tend to make the assumption that the underwater world is simply blue, when in fact this is not the case. There were marvelous shots of mesmerizing coral reefs, which in shallow waters offer a rainbow of colors represented both by the flora and the fauna. The corals offer so many shades it is hard even to imagine. It would be terribly diminishing to think about one color, when nature out there offers an abundance of them. Unfortunately, because of climate change, many coral reefs are dying out— turning white, as if they were bleached, and reducing dramatically this precious patrimony of the world.”

Artist, designer and columnist Luke Edward Hall (@lukeedwardhall) and Fucshia

“I’m thinking of that violent, vivid shade of purplish pink. Of all the pinks, it packs the mightiest punch, the opposite of shy, dusty rose. I equate Capri with this gaudy shade, and in particular, the island’s Via Tragara, a street lined with bougainvillea – its thin, papery flaming fuchsia flowers glittering against a hazy backdrop of sea and sky. I dream of a slow, early evening walk along here, a sharp lemon granita in hand, heading towards the street’s end: a large terrace overlooking the majestic Faraglioni rocks.”

Interior artist and photographer Martyn Thompson (@martynthompsonstudio) and Steel Grey

“When I was 27 I moved from Sydney to Paris. For a year I lived on the rue de Savoie in Saint Michel, in a tiny chambre de bonne at the top of six flights of stairs. Navigating this dark stairwell, which often served as a home to the homeless, was quite an ordeal with my camera and lighting equipment. Arriving breathless in the apartment, I’d look out of the window at the steely zinc grey rooftops of the city and the sky beyond…my struggle disappearing into a romance of history.”

Fashion illustrator Tanya Ling (@tanya_ling) and white

“I was born in Calcutta and only stayed there for three months before coming to England. Since I was a child, I’ve visited whilst going through all my decades. Calcutta to me is white—opaque and translucent, from creamy to bleached-out and loud. Most of the Bengali sweets are opaque white and milky; roti and luchi breads, and basmati rice. The traditional attire of gentlemen is white; thin cottons with lots of space. The white jasmine flowers made into garlands; powerful with a musky white aroma. White is children’s beautiful starched and laundered drilled-cotton school uniforms—them rushing and running about everywhere in the mornings. It is widows and elderly women wearing only white saris. It’s Calcutta’s first love: cricket, and its cricket whites. It’s cooling white and creamy-white marble floors, tables and buildings. Even the Ambassador car was normally made in white with a dark reddish-tanned interior. Calcutta is heavy and light white channels flowing through an intensely chaotic colourful place. I think of sensuality combined with discipline.”

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The PRIOR editorial team, overseen by David Prior, works together to write and produce stories that inspire curiosity about, and the desire to connect to, places and people across the world.

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