Adam Nathaniel Furman is a unique talent, with a refreshing approach - equal parts pleasure, colour, and joy. His designs are always approachable, usually adorable, often cheeky, and take inspiration from a passionate & lifelong exploration of form, colour and ornament. He works with the firm belief that colour both empowers individuals, and brings people together.
I love the way you talk about colour as a uniting force for good. That colour unites us. Why do you think that is?
Because it is the most potent form of visual expression, it is the greatest and most immediate tool that a visual artist and designer has to viscerally, instantly affect the body and the mind of occupants and viewers, and because of this, it has always been the primary tool, together with ornament (or in contemporary parlance, “graphics”), in the tangible manifestation of identities, both communal and individual, In physical space. From whole nations with their flags, to protest groups with their logos and colours, to families and their fascinating, strange, and sometimes hilarious interiors, colour is the primary vehicle for expression. This means it both empowers individuals, and brings people together in a non-verbal form of bonding that is just the most incredible and beautiful thing to behold.
For your interior colourwork, what drives your decision to work with a specific palette in a space; do you carry a colour idea or palette around in your mind until you find the right environment to use it or does the space/client come first?
My colour preferences have remained relatively consistent since I was a teenager when I used to paint a lot. However, I am very happy to mix them up in all kinds of different ways, and when I approach a project, there is always a process of developing a specific set of colour combinations and tones with the client. This varies a lot, from on the one hand projects where they say “go crazy, we want wild!” where I will go EXTRA in every way, supersaturation and really wild contrasts, to projects like the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital project, where there was a long design process that looked specifically at the colours and their combinations, and how these would be perceived by hospital visitors and patients in different lighting conditions, which was an incredible learning experience. On projects with private clients, I really do like to have a client that is very involved, and with whom I can have some fun coming up with ideas for palettes with, and I find that when get a great collaborative client like that, I both have fun, and learn a lot each time. So really it is a meeting of the two, on the one hand I have a set of colour preferences, but then I very much modify them and tweak new combinations for each project depending on the client, the brief and the context.
Colour both empowers individuals, and brings people together in a non-verbal form of bonding that is just the most incredible and beautiful thing to behold.
The Nagatacho and The Paragon apartments are such different colour palettes, how did they come together?
For the Nagatacho apartment they came to me via my website, and loved the projects where I had been most liberal with colour. When I first drew up a scheme for them, they were disappointed as they felt it was too restrained. I was still in the mindset of not going “too far” on interiors, and through lots of fun conversations with them, they kind of cajoled me into being more free, and trusting my instincts enough to do a full Gesamkunstwerk in which I fully designed every aspect of the project in glorious technicolour, down to the smallest detail. I feel synaesthesia in a way, and there is a strong connection in my brain between colour, and taste. I don’t know why this is but I have always very much felt colours in a bodily way, and for some reason the client responded really positively when I shared this with them, and I just carried on and we started conversing in this manner. I hope I can do that at some point in the future again. Bristol was different, as it was essentially my first project, and it was difficult to explain or justify my desire to use colour, so that was more of a delicate negotiation for each space, however I don’t think anyone would approach me now in the expectation of being delivered a design in all-greige… thankfully!
Photographer: Jan Vranovsky