by Jana Eisenberg
In a different angle on recent “coming home” stories, interior designer Philippa Radon has officially moved to Buffalo after first visiting here with her husband Peter, a Lackawanna native, almost 20 years ago.
“I felt instantly at home here, even as my flight landed for the first time on a snowy tarmac,” recalled Radon, a native of the U.K.
In 1989, she moved to Los Angeles, where she originally met Peter. For several decades, they both enjoyed successful careers: she as a designer and color consultant (Philipparadondesign.com), he as an actor. Now, they’ve “taken a leap of faith” and made the move to Western New York.
“I continue to fall in love with Buffalo, its architecture, people and history. Lauren Belfer’s novel, ‘City of Lights,’ held some of my first insights into its rich background,” said Radon.
Her design business, which she will continue here, is based on her highly attuned sense of color. “Before shape and form, I recognize things for their color,” she said. Her service often includes what she refers to as a life-coaching type of involvement with clients.
“Color is something that most of us take for granted — it creates so much emotionally,” she said. “People don’t realize how transforming it can be. I help them strip back the familiarity; it can create new value, power and energy.”
Her physical response to color guides her.
“I have the neurological phenomenon known as ‘synesthesia’: I ‘feel’ and taste color,” said Radon. “When looking at colors, my tongue gets a sensation or a metallic taste, and I’ll click my mouth or teeth. Synesthesia adds a kind of barometer, with aural and temperature sensations and indicators. I feel vibrations and connections — I can look at an array of color swatches and know which one is ‘right.’”
In addition to color consulting and interior design, Radon said she has also used this ability in branding and merchandising, teaching children, and TBP (Total Balance Procedure), a holistic energy technique.
A coincidental connection with a local company further bolstered her decision to relocate here. “I love the C2 paint line, and had been using it for years without even knowing the company was based in Amherst — I thought it was based in Canada,” she marveled. “Nature is a huge inspiration for their colors. That natural feel is why I had such a strong passion for the line. They’ve got a long family history in the paint industry, and their color-creating system is based on more organic pigmentation.” Since moving here, Radon has been appointed as the company’s spokesperson.
Radon is also working on a book, which will convey some of the tools of what she does, and how. “I want to help people build self-confidence and learn new approaches,” she said. “I write about ‘color mapping,’ it’s my loose phrase for researching and collecting information and then exploring the colors and the spaces. It’s a whole adventure — before you buy your paint, feel the space you’re in.”
Instead of following trends, she aims to help people develop their own style and palette. “You’re discovering things about yourself; what’s right for you and your home,” she said. “With your choices, you ‘tell your story.’”
Throughout history, she added, color is the shifting key to conveying the message and relationship of shapes and forms.
“In your home, your ‘story’ changes. Do you have kids, pets, partners; have you moved to a larger or smaller home? You’ve got vehicles for color, like fabrics, paint, and wallpaper; plus additional elements like plants and fragrances,” she said. “Your home is where you can feel comfortable through the world of color — there’s dance and language, woven through almost like a ribbon.”
Radon feels that exchange of energy with Buffalo, a welcoming embrace that she never felt during her time out West. “Inspired by the confidence and courage shown on so many buildings here, I’m creating an exterior color palette for Buffalo,” she said. “With the renaissance and all that’s happening here, I’m inspired to share what I have and what I know to a responsive and receptive audience. I’m here at the right time.”
You can see more of Radon’s work in the Junior League of Buffalo/Buffalo News Decorators’ Show House starting at the end of April. See Jlbuffalo.org for details. n
Jana Eisenberg is a local freelance writer.