The Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge

Mark Chamberlain
Apr 27, 2011

I wandered into my radio program halfway through a segment this morning, and was so titillated I had to research further. Guess what color the Golden Gate Bridge is?

It's International Orange, and by another name it looks like the Vermilion I use in watercolors, or warm red*. Bridge architect Irving Morrow was inspired to use this color by the red metal primer used to seal the bridge, and this innovation was considered daring as bridges up until that point were painted grey or silver. The Navy was actually lobbying to paint in black and yellow to enhance visibility from the sea, not that it's not visible now.

International Orange isn't available in stores per se, though on gut instinct I went directly to my British Standard deck from Fine Paints of Europe (they, of the undiluted paint colors) and there it was: "Inter Orange" #BS592. It's not an obnoxious pylon color, but this deep orange with hints rust, red and terra cotta. I'm sure that if I had a bridge I'd paint it exactly the same color.

Possible recommendations: the front door on your brownstone, your portrait gallery, your Pompeian fresco, your little red wagon.

Bridge photos: Wikipedia Commons

*Any color can be warm or cool, either by inherent property or especially by context.

- Mark Chamberlain, interior and decorative painter
Mark Chamberlain Painting

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