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Stewart thinks of the rust-red CNA Center as Chicago’s Golden Gate Bridge, since the San Francisco landmark was originally painted the same hue. “It’s supposed to reflect the sun setting over the water,” she says.
Stewart likes Chicago’s flag so much, she once wrote an entire article about it. The pale blue stripes represent our famous bodies of water, but the red stars make the flag pop. “Red evokes blood, valor, passion, righteous anger, throbbing love--everything a citizenry should feel about their home,” Stewart says.
When Lake Michigan is at its turquoise best, Chicago feels like an urban paradise. But the water changes color all the time--royal blue, slate gray and muddy brown are also standard. Meteorologist Tom Skilling once explained the reasons for this, and Stewart says she loves how active it all is: “Like the colors are in motion.”
The Calder sculpture in Federal Plaza is titled Flamingo, but it's red, not pink. Flamingos are pink from the crustaceans they eat, says Stewart, ?but maybe Calder wasn?t focused on that aspect of the bird?s look.? To her, the sculpture is about evoking their sinuous necks and habit of tucking one leg up.
Photo by Matt Becker.
The black Willis Tower and Hancock Center are the anchors of our skyline. But what if today’s popular blue-gray glass had been in vogue when they were built? “Things would look very different,” says Stewart. As the 19th-century painter Odilon Redon put it: “One must respect black. Nothing prostitutes it.” Photo by Mike Gustafson.
We’ve always been jealous of Northwestern alums, whose team color we adore. “If you’re obsessed with purple, then historically you’re in good company,” says Stewart. Her chapter on indigo and violet delves into stories of royalty and revolution--the color is traditionally associated with wealth and splurging.
Roy G. Biv, Chicago author Jude Stewart's new book about color.
Is it just us, or has this beautiful Chicago fall been making you feel like Dorothy in Wizard of Oz Technicolor?
Our most vibrant season is the perfect time to delve into Roy G. Biv, a new book about color by Chicago design and culture writer Jude Stewart. ??
The Andersonville resident?s coffee-table tome is packed with facts about the colors red through violet (the initials for Roy G. Biv) and how each one affects the ways we think and feel. ??
You?ll find out why pink is for girls and blue is for boys (thank department stores for that one), why orange spells ?cheap!? (the story goes way back) and why race-car drivers say you should never own a green car (they?re unlucky).
With Chicago landmarks in mind, we asked Stewart to weigh in on how colors shape the way we experience the city.
Watch the slideshow to find out how black defines our skyline and why Northwestern has the best team color around.
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