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Elena Manferdini + Jasmine Benyamin: Full Spectrum: Colour in Contemporary Art

Book Release + Symposium

Watch live on Vimeo

W.M. Keck Lecture Hall
March 22, 2024 at 5:00pm

Full Spectrum: Colour in Contemporary Architecture edited by Elena Manferdini and Jasmine Benyamin
Published by RIBA

Color is architecture’s sharpest tool in the box. It has indexed everything from the feminine, cosmetic, and vulgar to the pure, intrinsic, and embodied. Attitudes to color are constantly shifting. They have played a central role in the history of architecture: from the polychromy of the ancients to the great white interiors of high modernism; the figurative flourishes of postmodernism to the embodied sublime of contemporary building systems and facades.

In contemporary architecture, color has emerged as a powerful mode of working and an impactful political proposition. The second digital age has ushered paradigmatic shifts in how architects engage it. Employing the full spectrum of color requires a projective mode of action—one that anticipates nascent futures. It aids in the democratization of visual culture, opening the field to enable a multiplicity of identities by introducing new references and embracing new voices. This volume explores the operative role of color in current practice by proffering visions not of idealized other worlds, but rather radical reimaginings of our present one.

Elena Manferdini is the principal and owner of Atelier Manferdini in Los Angeles and Graduate Programs Chair at Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). With a body of work that spans public art, architecture, and industrial design, her eponymous Atelier has created work that uplifts the human spirit. Her design is known for its vibrant colors, meaningful narratives and its high attention to novel materials and craft. Manferdini has more than 20 years of professional experience and she is a leading voice in contemporary design culture and education. In 2019, Manferdini was honored with the ICON Award as part of the LA Design Festival, which is a prize that recognizes iconic women who have made an indelible mark on Los Angeles, culture, and society in general through their work, character, and creative leadership.

Jasmine Benyamin is a historian, theorist, and critic with more than 25 years of combined professional and academic experience in the US and UK. She was previously Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee School of Architecture and Urban Planning and currently serves as guest lecturer at University of Southern California (USC). A recipient of numerous awards, her recent interdisciplinary research addresses architectural manifestations in art practice and popular culture, with a particular focus on film and photography. She holds bachelor’s degrees in architecture and French literature from Columbia University, a Master of Architecture degree from Yale University and a PhD from Princeton University. In addition to editing and translating several books on architecture, her essays and reviews have appeared in numerous scholarly journals and anthologies. Her most recent book, entitled MASTERcrit, is forthcoming with ORO Editions.