John Pawson's World of Colour: Violet

18-3838 Ultra Violet is Pantone's colour for 2018. But did Spectrum author John Pawson discover the colour first?
Jaffa, Israel, March 2016 by John Pawson. As reproduced in Spectrum
Jaffa, Israel, March 2016 by John Pawson. As reproduced in Spectrum

Pantone, the US colour matching firm, has announced its colour for 2018. It’s called Pantone 18-3838 Ultra Violet and its selection, according to the company “speaks to our shared desire for deeper understanding in an increasingly complex landscape, and our eagerness to experiment to reach that level." According to Pantone, 18-3838 Ultra Violet communicates "originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future.”


King’s Cross, London, January 2017
King’s Cross, London, January 2017

Visionary? Ingenious? That's certainly going some But haven't we seen this shade somewhere before? It certainly appears to crop up in John Pawson’s new book, Spectrum. This book reproduces 320 of the architect and amateur photographer’s best photographs, ordered by colour.

The purple pages in Spectrum feature images of art installations in Marfa, Texas, and architectural details in Notting Hill, London; the confessionals of northern Italy; and the contemporary architectural features of Jaffa in Israel.


Possagno, Treviso, Italy, May 2011
Possagno, Treviso, Italy, May 2011

Some shots look like the sort of thing a successful senior architect might shoot as a kind of visual note; others are the work of a man clearly in dialogue with classic minimalist artists such as Donald Judd and Carl Andre; others still look like marvellously well conceived images of someone grounded in today’s global creative order, but with his eyes on the future.


Spectrum John Pawson

Pawson certainly sounds like a good fit for Pantone’s new pigment. You can take a look at some of John’s blue shots here; and his yellow photos here; and, if you like what you see, you can order a copy of Spectrum here. Check back for another colour from the book soon.

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