What inspired me to design Coloraturo, my most recent building toy?
But first, where did I get the idea for the name? I based the name, Coloraturo. on the Italian word “Coloratura” referring to elaborate melodic variations in vocal music- “runs, trills, wide leaps and similar virtuoso-like material”. The multi-hued forms of Coloraturo reminded me of the possibilities for creating virtuoso constructions in a visual form.
I have always been aware of children’s interest and attraction to color- especially subtle color differences. I have been playing around with a more varied palate for a new design building on Colorframes a block set I designed several years ago. Pantone formula guides offered some delicious new possibilities to consider.
I started with a color sequence going from red-orange-yellow-green-blue-purple with gradients in between. For the prism pieces I chose a darker and lighter shade of each of the seven hues as long as they did not repeat the same hues on the interlocking squares. Each piece always had some of the wood left unpainted since the grain of the wood provided some interest in itself. This combination of color and natural wood allowed one to build with color on the inside “walls” or color on the outside “cladding.”
I was also fascinated by some images of Le Corbusier’s Pavillion Suisse sketches and color schemes for the student’s rooms that I saw in the book The Architectonic Colour by Jan de Heer. This led to a rich exploration of images of color in architecture. (More coming up in future blogs.) It has also led to a number of questions about the presence or absence of color in children’s building toys. Does the use of color make a difference in the kind of buildings children make? Does color tend to make children focus less on the form? Does preference differ with age and/or gender?
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