Savvy Set Colors


This tiny Broadway treasure, built in 1912 as the Little Theatre, takes on Act II as the theater transforms to a colorful space taking cues from today’s digital world! The skilled artists and theater renovation specialists at EverGreene Architectural Arts worked with Second Stage, and architect/theater designer David Rockwell and the Rockwell Group, to launch the Helen Hayes Theater into the future, revealed in a lighting ceremony February 5.

Quoted from Rockwell Group: “In playing with the ghost of the original theater, Rockwell wanted to evoke the spirit of the Little Theater. One of main elements of the renovation is a mural that takes its inspiration from painted reproductions of French tapestries that adorned the theater. EverGreene hand-painted the mural using a custom glyph typeface to create a pixelated ombré effect from light to dark blue.” During Design Development, EverGreene worked with Rockwell to test intensely saturated artists’ colors and stencil techniques over an ombré gradation background. Samples and mockups by EverGreene artists were crucial to develop precise materials and techniques to create an unconventional patterns for the auditorium walls.

Rockwell’s color palette for the auditorium mural honors Joseph Urban, deco designer from the 1920s. The bold colors anticipated Pantone’s 2018 Color of the Year, a punchy purple hue called Ultra Violet. Earlier in planning, EverGreene conservators completed a historic finishes investigation, documenting findings for the Landmarks’ review process, which supported a case for changes over time and artistic flexibility in a new paint scheme for the interior. The ultimate project goal was to modernize the theatre while respecting the Landmark designation. The color palette communicates a contemporary and edgy aesthetic much like Pantone’s color of the year which “symbolizes experimentation and non-conformity, spurring individuals to imagine their unique mark on the world, and push boundaries through creative outlets.”

Quoted from New York Times: Mr. Rockwell chose to pay tribute to the tapestry that seemed most theatrical — the one depicting Bacchus and Ariadne…created entirely out of circles stenciled onto shaded blue walls that get darker as they near the stage. “Up close it will be like an abstract painting, but as you move away and look across the theater, it all of a sudden appears,” said Bill Mensching, the Creative Director of EverGreene Architectural Arts. “It pulls all these layers of history of that theater together in a really cool way.”

Color choice and application matters! One of the biggest challenges was the actual application of the ombré effect that had to be sprayed continuously to achieve the color gradient from light to dark blue. The precision of EverGreene’s ‘color-mixologists’ use of the spray equipment was crucial.EverGreene’s expertise and innovative solutions allows designers and architects to experiment not only with traditional color and decoration but contemporary, futurist design concepts to give new life to space. To learn more about how EverGreene can work with your team on contemporary design challenges with color, patterns and materials, please reach out!