Let’s Unbox Color with Susan Fischer

Today we welcome international color consultant Susan Fischer of Lisbon, Portugal to share her experience with the wide world of color! You can find out what Susan is currently up to on Instagram @unbox.color She will share a presentation on color theory February 28th in the Textile Design Lab. Thank you to Magda Ehlers for the cover photo.

Tell us about your creative journey that led you to becoming a color architect. 

I grew up Santiago, Chile and studied architecture. When I moved to Lisbon in 2015 I decided that I didn’t want to work as a “proper” architect anymore. I’ve always considered myself a creative, and being an architect was somehow stopping my creative flow. The city of Lisbon is bursting with color as you walk around, but the interiors are frequently plain or white. This led me to a yearning for more knowledge on the subject of color and I studied to become an International Color Consultant. Since then, I have combined both passions and helped many people to enhance their interiors through color.

What are your favorite design tools when you are selecting color palettes?

My favorite design tools are my eyes! There’s absolutely nothing that compares to my eyes, when selecting colors. I do work with the NCS (Natural Color System) to narrow down my choices, as it is a very smart system to create color combinations for interiors.

Where do you see designers make the most mistakes when they are selecting colors?

Sometimes when they play it too safe and try to get the perfect color palette. I think the beauty of color combinations lies in the unexpected. When we let go of perfection and allow ourselves to play with color, magic happens.

Who are your design heroes? What about them inspires you or influences your work?

I love the work of Brazilian architect Duda Senna. I love how she uses color in a natural and effortless way.
I also love the way architect and artist Emmanuelle Moureaux captivates his audience with an array of colors with each of his exhibitions. I get inspired by so many designers, artists and architects around the world, but find joy and inspiration in normal people through social media on a daily basis.

What happens at your color workshops and events?

I host 2 different kinds of workshops..
One is focused on Color for interiors, when participants come for a day and a half and we talk about color, color psychology, color theory, our own color story, and then a step by step on how to use color for interiors.
Another one is a 1 Day Color immersion, which is basically the first part of the first workshop. Watch one in action here.

Portuguese Association of Color sounds like a very special association,  their mission is to promote the study, research, application and dissemination of all aspects of color covering a large range of fields of knowledge: art, architecture, environment, geography, design, art history, anthropology, advertising, marketing, cinema and image reproduction, psychology, physiology, biology, physics and chemistry. What is your role with this association? 

The association started about 25 years ago in the school of Architecture from Lisbon University, and it has somehow been in a little box for a long time. Last year a new group of people took the lead (I am part of the team) and our aim is to reach more artists, designers, photographers, artisans… everyone that works with color is welcome. We are organizing the first National Color Encounter this March for International Color Day.

Photo from Cottonbro Studio

What is inspiring you lately? (this could be anything from music, to books, websites, people, etc.)

I love the work of Ingrid Fetell Lee, the author of Joyful. I love her approach and I seek to get inspired by the little things not only in my work, but in the way I live my life… I am a joy seeker in my every day.

What have you learned about surface pattern design from hosting color retreats with Elizabeth Olwen? 

Elizabeth is very passionate and contagious when it comes to surface and pattern design and I absolutely love her work. I have actually learned from her the principles of design, because being an architect myself, I wasn’t really aware of those. She is a firm believer in playing with color and letting go of the perfect color combo too.

Can you give us a quick preview into the training you will be offering to our Textile Design Lab members? What can people expect to learn?

I will talk a bit about what color is, what it does, the colors of our memories, and a bit about color theory too. I’m looking forward to it! You can join in our month of color fun right here.

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