An Investigation of Three- Dimensionality


  • Dianne Smith Queensland University of Technology



Colour, Space, Design, Three-dimensionality


Monica Billger, in her doctoral dissertation, states ‘The feasibility of working consciously with colours is limited by our knowledge about how the appearance of coloured materials varies with context, that is, how a coloured surface is affected by its spatial situation’ (Billger, 1999, p. 5). In association, however, we can also seek to understand how the application of colour provides the spatial context and/or potentiates our experience of spatiality.

Within this paper, I will discuss some of the issues involved in our understanding and interpretation of spatiality. These include firstly, space and its relationship to colour; secondly, colour education in relation to colour and space, and thirdly, the potential of paintings or photographs of artists’ work in understanding colour and space. The two dimensional work of artists (such as Mark Rothko, Bridget Riley, Claude Monet, and Wassily Kandinsky) is a valuable source of information for emerging designers in the field of colour as a consequent of investigating and/or observing the work. Key relationships may be understood and applied to three dimensional spaces abstractly, and in practice, to environmental projects that are relevant to Interior Design and Architecture. Finally, I will explore the way I, in association with the tutors, have raised the students’ awareness of colour as a tool to assist in the moulding of three dimensions or space. This will include the discussion of one student’s work as an example of the process undertaken before summarising the link between three dimensional investigations and two dimensional observations and/or practices.


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How to Cite

Smith , Dianne. 2004. “COLOUR and SPACE: An Investigation of Three- Dimensionality”. Idea Journal 5 (1):103-16.



Design Research Paper