Thursday 21 November 2013

The Nothing That Consumes: How Battleship Gray Changed Design


Exclusively for Saturated Space, Margaret McCormick writes about the inadvertent rise of an all-consuming grayness so prevalent, so ubiquitous that we no longer even notice it, its insipidness, the lowness of its omnipresent chromatic common denominator.

In 1909 the Royal Navy began painting everything within grasp a vague, nothing kind of colour, one that was intended to be useful, not beautiful. Yet over 100 years later “Battleship Gray” has become the inescapable basis of almost all design and subsequently, most of the physical world. More than a post-war standard-issue metaphor for bureaucratic oppression or a dogmatic footnote in architectural academia, it is the colour of purgatory and boredom, the promise of a future while the soul is mortgaged: doing far more for and to design that it has ever been credit for. Further, the only way to break the bonds of its oppression is to acknowledge it as fact.

Please either use the embedded reader below or click HERE to read the text.

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