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Blue

rippled public spaces at the Borderline vacation home

The fitness studio reveals the colour plan of 14 Street Y

The locker room at 14 Street Y is a burst of warm colours

The community center cafe is dotted with bright furnitureA diagramatic approach to the use of colours to establish clear orientation at the 14 Street Y community center

A diagramatic approach to the use of colours to establish clear orientation at the 14 Street Y community center

Neat

yet stylish; the Delicatessen clothing store

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Showcase 29 Feb 2012

In conversation with Guy Zucker about using colour to establish orientation

Guy Zucker is the principal and founder of Z-A, a New York based studio for architectural innovation, dedicated to exposing the unexpected in the mundane.

Guy Zucker is the principal and founder of Z-A Studio in New York City. His firm has designed libraries in Stockholm and Prague, a vacation home on the border between Israel and Lebanon, as well as the 14th Street Y Community Center and the Delicatessen women's fashion store in Manhattan.

Guy Zucker also teaches a design studio at the University of Pennsylvania for second-year graduate students, focusing on using gradients of colour to mediate opposite agendas—for example, using black and white in public and private areas of a building. Colour Quarterly recently interviewed him about colour in his work.

What is the firm's design philosophy and intent? 

Z-A is a New York-based studio for architectural innovation, dedicated to exposing the unexpected in the mundane. We explore adaptive materials—structures and infrastructures that can adjust and respond to changing needs, uses, users, and identities of a project. Z-A believes that a sustainable project is first and foremost a project that can live longer. A flexible design approach equips the project with the ability to stay relevant over time. Our designs are a deliberate move away from stylistic or formal uniformity, expressing a genuine interest in the mundane, the found or given condition, which is clearly different from one project to the other. Moreover, it is meant to display that starting with the obvious doesn't lead to an obvious result.

What are your sources of colour in design? 

The clear identity of colour in illustrative diagrams, the playful use of colour in fashion design, and the subtle variation of colours in nature—water, sand, earth, and stones.

What do you find to be the biggest challenges in your use of colour? 

Using primary colours in a sophisticated, non-childish way, and using non-primary colours in a non-cheesy way.

How do all of these play out in recent projects? 

The 14th Street Y community center is a diagrammatic use of colours to generate identity and clear orientation.

The Delicatessen clothing store conceptually uses white pegboard as a lace garment and the yellow as an undergarment revealed.

The Borderline vacation home conceptually designs the private spaces as massive sandstones and the public spaces as shades of blue water that ripple around them.

Can you name a few of your recent clients? 

The 14th Street Y community center, Kesher school, Empax branding and the Delicatessen fashion label.

What's your perception of the use of colour in India, and how might you approach colour in a design project there? 

India has an incredible culture of colours! However, I would use colours in India in the same way as everywhere else. I believe that each project is unique and has its own trajectory. Definitely, part of that trajectory is the cultural context that goes into any project.

Author: J. Michael Welton writes on architecture, art and design for international and national publications including The Huffington Post, The New York Times, Dwell, and ARTWORKS. He also publishes an online magazine on design at www.architectsandartisans.com