Monthly Archives: September 2011

Eponymous Orange

With a name that resists description to honor its citrus origin, and fittingly usurping one of the few nouns that can’t be rhymed, orange is an exception to the singular identity of other color names. As Michael Rossi recently reported in “Colors/Orange”, Albert Munsell actually denied orange its own name in his widely-adopted color system in favor of YR (yellow-red) due to its linguistic duplicity, and the “scientific convenience” of abiding by the decimal system – restricting the primary colors to Red, Purple, Blue, Green and Yellow(1). Munsell felt that precarious balance which orange occupies.

If expressed on a canvas, it would appear hidden in the thick peeling wallpaper effect of a Clyfford Still, or overflowing in the thin washes of a Rothko. For certain it would be as likely to congeal into a viscid skin on the palette as it would take flight in the lightest turpentine or citrus vapor. In both translations, orange is engaged in a perpetual balance; radiating, oscillating, and alive.

AWA’s mandarin orange is defined in light by the RGB values: 250, 166, 26, and in ink CMYK by the values: 0, 40, 100, 0. In oil paints, the AWA orange would be captured by an approximate mix of 35% cadmium yellow, 5% cadmium red light and 60% yellow ochre. However, the cadmiums can swing it to favor a red or a yellow in mere fractions of a gram, making the proper orange a challenge to achieve. As paint attempts to describe whatever the eyes perceive or long to perceive, a delicate hand must decide.

Across the surface and into the depths of the AWA orange, it floods over clouds when viewed from an airplane window. Indicating either dawn or dusk by its intensity and saturation, the duplicity of orange can strike different moods dramatically; awakening to fresh ideas and renewal, as well as settling into the warm and inviting nature of evening. The various perceptions of the color speak to a key concept of AWA’s thinking; that a variety of interpretations of the same light or color are inherent across cultures, and that this amounts to a richness and depth in design.

Written by: Jackie Guido

(1) Rossi, Michael. “Colors/Orange.” Cabinet Magazine Issue #41 Spring 2011:14-17.

Mark Rothko "Orange and Yellow2"

Heading to IIDEX/NeoCon Canada

We’re pleased to announce that Abhay Wadhwa’s IIDEX/NeoCon Canada’s presentation, Beyond Green: Sustainable Lighting Design Solutions – Global Practices, Local Flavours, is shaping up nicely. As Canada’s largest national design expo and conference, IIDEX/NeoCon Canada brings together over 15,000 interior designers, architects, facility managers, real estate and business executives in a national forum which powers the design industry in Canada. Abhay will be a part of the mix, offering his unique insights to attendees who are eager to understand what constitutes green and sustainable design today– and tomorrow. Watching the presentation come to life has been exciting, as Abhay taps into current efforts, future endeavors and landmark projects that truly illustrate the power of green and sustainable.

Stay tuned for more on this topic, as Abhay heads to Toronto to share his insights with an exciting group of professionals. And, if you’re there, be sure to check out the session on Thursday, from 9:00-11:00 am. For those who can’t make it, we’ll share an analysis, complete with highlights, after the show!

Spotlight: U-Bora Tower

AWA continues its notable work in the Middle East. Today’s spotlight is on Dubai’s U-Bora Tower. Designed by Aedas and commissioned for the Bando Corporation, the U-Bora Commercial Tower is among the tallest in Dubai, with a height accelerating to 263 meters. The towers’ site occupies a prominent placement on the main axis of the Business Bay, with the 60 story commercial tower and a 16 story residential unit alongside. After the tower twisted itself from ground to sky, the subsequent illumination has finally been completed. The lighting scheme for all facades, the site’s landscape and core and shell lighting is designed by AWA.

The lighting design was first conceived in 2006. More than five years later, and in spite of the economic downturn, the design took root. One main effect is a light gradient from a source at the base of the building structure, fading toward the top of the building. Groups of flood lights are directed at the base and center of the tower so that the light levels gradually decrease above. Due to the rotating profile of the building, achieving the required illumination gradient from fixed points on the ground was a challenging task. In addition, the East and West Facades’ vertical slots are dynamically illuminated as a “light thermometer” that rises and falls in synch with the ambient outdoor temperature. This vertical accent emphasizes the unique curvature.

As this exceptional structure came to life, bringing with it a wholly unique perspective on skyscraper illumination, AWA’s design team found it gratifying to see its concepts realized.

Remnants of Architecture

Excerpt from Justin Moench travel Journal January 26 2006……

I am standing here in Rome at the edge of the Palatine Hill, looking over the Circus Maximus. I was walking though the ruins, and when I stopped here I thought it be a good spot to stop and write.

I see all these ruins that I walk though and I think — I couldn’t even tell you who the architect was or what else he built. But here it is centuries later and people are visiting the ruins and buildings that are here.

Will people do the same for the architecture of our time? Will people visit the buildings of our century 1000 or even 500 years from now? The times of technology and mass production has removed the physical history of our time. We rely on computers, photograph, and written word to shape and remember our history and to allow others to remember what we were. But what about the physical?

I see the ruins below me and think of an equivalent in our time and my mind turns to the World Trade Center. But would these ruins be as viewed or even still there if it were not for the historical and emotional significance? Or will the World Trade Center just be another demolished building location like all the others society has demolished to build new buildings? Will future generations imbue it with meaning?

Architecture has grown and expanded its capabilities to design, creating form and function in this modern era. But does that automatically mean it is a better architecture than the one I am leaning on to write this?

Before my trip began I thought that cool modern architecture was the way things should be, but I am not sure if that is really the architecture society needs. But, the reality is that this is what we have in this era of the temporary. Our buildings are functional and not historical. Will I be able help, or be able to make a difference to possibly change that?


Here I am, five years later, in NYC where I now live and work. One day away from the 10 year anniversary of September 11. Society has begun building over these ruins of the World Trade Center. Along with the skyscraper buildings, a new memorial for those lost in the tragedy has been placed on the site. A modern take on the way we view the ruins of our time? Is it too much to look upon the untouched ruins left behind? Do we need to beautify the ruin left behind and create a shining memorial? These are questions I don’t think one person can answer, but I for one feel that those ruins I looked over in 2006 had more meaning and history than any new memorial I have experienced.

I continue to work and try to make a difference through my work and my life as a member of society. Will I have any impact on a change? Only time will truly tell.