Paint the whole town beige

Written by

Andrew Millar


February 8, 2007

I’m sitting here watching the building across the street being painted.

My problem is, whilst I applaud the owners of Rundle Buildings, the beautiful deco building on the corner of Rundle Street and Synagogue Lane, Adelaide, for their efforts to clean up the facade, their choice of colour leaves me cold.

Why would any one paint a terrific example of deco history such a nondescript and irrelevant colour? The owners may as well have plastered over the fabulous architectural detail, chipped off the shell finial and replaced the fan glass above Grundy’s Shoes with plasterboard.

They have reduced the building now to a light brown lump that at least blends in with all the other light brown lumps in our city.

Why didn’t they simply restore the pastel blue colour and stay within its bright natural Art Deco style.

Whoever approved it should be banished to a small beige office with beige carpet, curtains and ceiling for the rest of their working life. But I suspect they are already there.

Let’s not differentiate. Let’s not make a statement.

Let’s just blend in. Let’s be anonymous.

Thank god their jurisdiction doesn’t extend to Napier in New Zealand. There, building like this, are protected as part of the colour of the city. They see them for their tourism potential. Not that people will travel the world to experience Rundle Buildings. Gehry it is not. But too many interesting buildings have made way for ugly constructions.

There are few examples of Art Deco in Adelaide. And for a while we’ve lost one of the best to a thick coat of baby-poo brown and this end of Rundle Street has lost part of its colourful character.

Andrew Millar
Creative Director/Partner

P.S. Now they’re painting the banding Mission Brown! Now I’m seriously depressed.