Author Archives: Daniella Ohad

About Daniella Ohad

A design historian of international esteem, Daniella Ohad is an educator, tastemaker and writer. Specializing in 20th Century and Contemporary Design, she has taught at such institutions as the School of Visual Arts, Pratt Institute and Parsons New School for Design.

A Short History of the Color White

We all know that white is the lightest of all colors, but did you know that it has 50 different shades of which only one, pure white, is the most genuine extraction of white?

White means a lot of different things to different people and its symbolism has transformed over and over again throughout history. To the Romans, it meant citizenship and loyalty. To the Renaissance men, a symbol of chastity. In the Rococo, white meant wealth and glory. In the Age of Enlightenment of the late 18th century, it was the most fashionable of all colors. In the 19th century, it meant innocence. In China, reincarnation. In India, white symbolized purity and divinity. To some, it means purity and innocence, to others it means balance, new beginnings or calmness. To me, white is the color of perfection, of the pristine. It has the potential to introduce sparks to a room, a powerful agent to dominate the interior space.

When objects and accessories in white are introduced into the interior space, they can transform and empower rooms. White accents bring energy, harmony and peace, stimulating smiles, relaxation and love. I am talking about objects that merge artistic creativity, poetic contents, and the color of white, objects I tend to use in sharpening a sense of perfection and flawlessness. Just like Caesarstone's Pure White, which has brought so much character into my own kitchen, the passionate search for objects in white has come to play a leading role in my quest for a sophisticated interior.

To exemplify my argument, I have selected three pieces of furniture which represent the power of this color in conveying the allure of 21st century design. Three sophisticated objects by designers who care for craftsmanship, for inventing new forms based on history and traditions, for whom design is a tool of expressing poetic ideas.


Image: Carpenters Workshop Gallery | Designer: Rick Owens, Benchdent

Rick Owens, the fashion designer who looks back to prehistoric times when creating his celebrated fashion and furniture, illuminates his agenda by using material associated with the ancient, such as ox bone and petrified wood.

 


Image: Maison Gerard | Design: Carol Egan, Sculptural Twist in Marble Stool 

Interior designer Carol Egan revisits furniture forms first developed in ancient Rome, while giving them new interpretations utilizing advanced digital technological tools available today.


Image: Gerasimos Domenikos | Design: Steven Petrides and Andreas Voukenas, Voukenas Petrides

American architect Steven Petrides and his partner Greek designer Andreas Voukenas have developed a series of white furniture in ceramics, inspired by the traditional Greek work in clay, with forms that are spontaneous, sculptural and reminiscent of the glowing white architecture of Greece.

Living with white elevates our spirit, refreshing our energies, and to me, it is the most sensual of all colors, prefect to discuss in the heart of the summer.

 

Daniella on Design Kitchen Reveal

The kitchen can mean a lot of different things. To some, it is the heart of the home, where the family comes together; to others, the kitchen is a retreat from hectic daily life. There are those who love to spend time in the kitchen while cooking and then there are those for whom the kitchen is a piece of art, a form of 'display.' To us, the kitchen is a laboratory for culinary experimentations, a testing ground for the innovative cuisine that we love to explore, a source for an intellectual and sensorial experience, manifested in a sense of perfection.


All photography by Costas Picadas

When it came to renovate the kitchen in our Pre-War apartment in mid-town Manhattan, I knew that I wanted it to be urban, minimal, bright, pristine, sustainable, modernist and laboratory-like. It had to be an integral part of the interior, thus must carry the same aesthetic sensibility of our home: stylish, high-brow and sophisticated, colorless and elegant, refined and sleek.



With this long list of  specifics in mind, it was clear to me that the surface of choice in our kitchen had to be the famed Pure White quartz by Caesarstone, a material that has spark, refinement and endless beauty.





Since seeing this snow-white stone in a client's kitchen a couple of years ago, it's been stuck in my head with its dazzling visual effect, purity and whiteness.  In fact, when giving a lecture at the Seagram Building recently, I noticed the bathroom counters also featured Pure White and I thought to myself, "Mies would have loved that material, if it had existed during his time."  I knew that one day, I wanted this surfacing to find its way into my home. So when it came time to design our new kitchen, the decision was easy.





I also discovered another layer of connection to the Caesarstone that confirmed my decision to include the surface in my kitchen. It is an Israeli innovation, known for its quality, sustainability and craftsmanship. Named after the ancient town of Caesarea on the Mediterranean coast, an area known for its remarkable amphitheater and archaeological excavations, it is a town that has a special place in my heart. Growing up,  I spent the holidays in Caesarea and it was a large part of my childhood.



Pure White's color and minimalist appearance has become the perfect backdrop for evenings of experimentations with unique cuisine and family get-togethers. And even more than all of this, the kitchen has become a substantial expression of my identity, and the identity of my family.

 

For more kitchen reveals: The Future Perfect Kitchen | Sydne Summer's Kitchen