Paintbox New York

On the corner of Madison and East 69th Street is a minimalist nail studio developing a sharp line in colour combination. This is Paintbox’s new uptown atelier, cutely juxtaposing unexpected shades of colour in a manner both experimental and restrained. Drawing from Josef Albers’ indispensable volume Interaction of Colour, the studio was determined to convey the drama and tension of colour combining in a complimentary palette of materials and uncommon colours.

Any single colour only ever presents itself in relation to its neighbours. While we might be able to hear a single musical note, we almost never perceive colour in isolation. So the focus for the studio became what happens in between. Playing with the chosen materials, and the colours they contain, the intention was to lift the spirits, stimulate the senses and instil serenity.

From the pale bespoke acrylic shelving through the deep upholstery of the clients’ chairs, the colour purple runs throughout the store. Gentler pinks are found in the textured plaster walls, perforated sheer window curtain and coloured concrete basins. A bench upholstered in purple wool sits next to a sofa in yellow boucle alongside a brushed steel reception desk, a silver-back-painted glass desk top and iridescent bar stools, bringing together colours commonly revered as holy, even sacred, with hues more often thought of as cheerful, creative and feminine. Green brings a promise of energy and growth, but also calm, whilst Calacatta vision marble, faux ‘baby ostrich’ leather and ceramic wall tiles in olive likewise prove restful. A glazed pure white lava stone workstation creates a pristine backdrop from which all this colour can be absorbed, while the grey upholstery of the artists’ chairs represents both wisdom and serenity. Grey is the common denominator – present to some degree in all of these tones – tying together this symphony of shades within the one space.

Photographer: Alice Gao
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