The Pantone Color Institute this week celebrated the announcement of its 2021 colors – yellow and gray – with a dizzying, haunting art installation projected in a centuries-old converted boiler room at Chelsea Market in Manhattan.
The exhibition is the work of a digital art space called Artechouse, which partnered with the color research firm for the second year in a row when it was announced. Artechouse has a number of other similar graphics planned to celebrate the selection over the next year, including a mobile augmented reality experience.
In each of the experiences, Artechouse has the task of examining all the different properties of the given color or colors and the feelings that they might evoke in the viewer. Pantone said this week that it chose yellow and gray for the feelings of strength, hope, and optimism they are meant to evoke.
“[Last year's announcement] was a unique installation that focused on just one color and examined the various properties with the help of a multi-sensor," said Tati Pastukhova, co-founder of Artechouse, "whether it is sound, vision or even Taste – we have gone so far as to create augmented reality drinks that we worked on with local drink makers. "
Artechouse has made a name for itself and shows the work of new media-oriented artists in expansive physical spaces. Now Artechouse would like to enter into further brand partnerships of this kind in addition to its artistic exhibitions. The Pantone Color of the Year announcement last year was the organization's first such deal, and it also worked with the United Nations Foundation on an AR app earlier this year.
"We're always looking for meaningful partnerships where Artechouse can be part of the storytelling process," said Sandro Kereselidze, Artechouse's co-founder and chief creative officer.
Pastukhova said the model for designing and producing these projects was more like the way an agency works than the usual group work.
"Most of the installations and exhibitions we've done so far have been specifically artistic, and this was more of a part of our creative team putting something together," said Pastukhova. "I think one of the things that really made our spaces stand out compared to other museums or institutions is that we produce, innovate and create new works instead of just presenting."
The group also had to take extra precautions, of course, when designing a physical exhibit amid a pandemic. However, the co-founders said it helps that the number of visitors they let in is already limited to enhance the experience. In a way, the security measures also helped make the exhibition feel more exclusive and special.
"We have always paid attention to the quality of the visitor experience, so we always had staggered sessions, we always had capacity constraints, we worked with about 10% of our total capacity, how many people we can have in a room," said Pastukhova. "But with the pandemic, we've added additional social distancing norms, additional cleaning lists, and checklists."