Live Colorfully: How Color Influences Design

Optima buildings are distinguished by our Modernist design, and by our signature pops of color. Because color can influence design, and in turn, influence those that experience our design, the color decisions we make are purposeful and serve to enhance and activate our architecture and the spaces around it. 

Theory and Psychology

Color is fundamental to the Modernist tradition. Much of color theory was born out of the Bauhaus modernist art school, where four artists changed the way we talk about color today: Johannes Itten, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Josef Albers. Itten, particularly, created the color sphere with primary, secondary and tertiary tones, was the first to determine warm and cool tones, and was a pioneer in associating different colors with emotions. 

Today, the study of color and their relationship to human emotion is called color psychology. In the first 30 seconds of viewing an object, our brains make a quick judgment and react to what we see. Color plays a large part in this response; for people, tones and hues are tied to specific emotions and feelings. On a biological/physical level, when we see colors, that vision is transferred over to the brain, which in turn signals to our endocrine system to release specific hormones that create a correlating feeling or mood to what we’ve seen. Armed with this insight, we integrate color into our design solutions to create an emotional impact. But our use of color goes beyond.

Because color can influence design, and in turn, influence those that experience our design, the color decisions we make are purposeful and serve to enhance and activate our architecture and the spaces around it. 

Color in Optima Design

In our Arizonian desert residences, we select hues to complement the vegetation of the desert, seamlessly blending our architecture with its environs; indoor with outdoor. At Sterling Ridge, concrete walls merge with the earth, making the home an extension of the land. The result is a harmonious design, one that enhances our building and the land around it. Orange and red color details serve to give an exciting pop of color against a cohesive, blended pallet.

Because color can influence design, and in turn, influence those that experience our design, the color decisions we make are purposeful and serve to enhance and activate our architecture and the spaces around it. 

In many of our condos and multifamily residences, we use color in the exterior facade to compliment the surroundings of the building. At Optima Sonoran Village, orange, yellow and green details are drawn from actual colors found in the surrounding lush landscaping. The hues were inspired by the area’s desert flowers, serving to draw out the naturally occurring colors of the terrain.  

Color isn’t just important in our building design we incorporate color into all of our design practices, including experimental color play with our sculptures. Often executed in different colors depending on the surrounding space, sculpture is another facet to Optima in which we experiment with shades and hues. Color has a long and storied history, but for us, it’s a continuing exploration that has us learning more each day.

Location, Location, Location

Ask any real estate broker what the three most important things to consider when renting or buying a home are and they’ll say location, location, location. According to The New York Times, the phrase location, location, location has been in use since at least 1926 — that means that for nearly a century, this is one thing in real estate that hasn’t changed.

Here at Optima, location has always been an integral part of our development process. As the owner, architect, developer and general contractor of our own communities, we see location in a multifaceted way.

Location as Sustainability

As developers, when we seek out land for a new property, we view our search from a responsible, sustainable approach. We prioritize infill developments so that we effectively utilize the land as well as prioritizing valuable open green space. Our very first project in 1978 was urban renewal land in Hyde Park at S Kenwood Ave and E 54th St, and since then we’ve carried on that pattern. 

Location as Design Sensibility

As architects, our practice and design are informed by the context of a new development. We are mindful of the existing architecture in an area, considering both how our building will stand out against the rest while also considering how our new addition will complement its surroundings. With Optima Signature in Streeterville, our sleek, Modernist skyscraper stands out amongst the historical beauties that surround it, creating a juxtaposition that adds complexity and intrigue to the skyline. 

The Nature of Location

As we continue to redefine our roots in modernism, it’s also important to celebrate the fundamental connection between design and nature. Our communities merge indoor and outdoor into a single, holistic experience. Whether in the desert of Arizona or the grid of Chicago, it’s critical to us that our communities are informed by and embrace the nature of the surrounding area. When building desert residence Shadow Caster, we integrated the design of the home with the sloping of the land, creating a bridge feature and courtyard that holistically connect the indoor and outdoor experience of the residence.

Location as an Amenity

As owners, we know what people look for in their community. We also select locations for our properties based on the amenities of the surrounding area. We believe that the homes we build extend beyond their own doors — for our residents, their neighborhood is a large part of their living experience, from the view outside their window, to the transportation they take to work, to the restaurants, bars and shops that they frequent in the area. It’s all vital to the way that we build not just homes, but communities. At 7160 and 7180 Optima Kierland, the Scottsdale location is ripe with amenities. The multi-phase Optima Kierland project is located within steps of Scottsdale Quarter and Kierland Commons, two of the best entertainment areas in all of Scottsdale.

The Optima Story: Over 40 Years of Passion

As a family-owned and operated business, we’re proud of our roots and our history. Since 1978, we’ve produced internationally-recognized, award-winning residential mixed-use developments and single-family homes. To understand our growth and progress, we fondly look back on our years in business and the Optima story. 



A Modernist Beginning

Optima’s began when David Hovey Sr., our Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, was a student at the Illinois Institute of Technology. His mentor and teacher, Arthur Takeuchi, suggested the idea of forming his own business to bypass the red tape of traditional development. David Sr. wanted a process in which architecture was the center, while still retaining control over the ownership and development aspects of the process. And so, Optima was born. 



Family Ties

As David Sr. began executing his early vision for Optima, Eileen Hovey, fellow Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, took her entrepreneurial spirit and charged ahead with marketing and sales. The two forged a unique path of architecture and development working in unison, which would eventually lead to the Optima Business Model. Over time, they were joined by David Hovey Jr. and Tara Hovey, who shared their passion for real estate, architecture and innovating for the future. David Hovey Jr. also introduced Optima DCHGlobal, a patented architectural system that further pushed Optima’s work in prefabricated housing towards the forefront of the industry. 



Optima’s Future

At Optima, our past is critical to our future, keeping us grounded while inspiring us to move and progress forward. Even decades after our start, our values haven’t changed; we still believe in being bold, perfecting our process, learning from each experience, and creating spaces that improve the quality of life within our communities. From a two-person team to our dynamic, talented staff today, Optima continues to grow and thrive. 

For a more in-depth perspective on the Optima history from the Hovey family, check out Our Story.

person name goes here

Maintenance Supervisor

Glencoe, IL

    Acceptable file types: *.pdf | *.txt | *.doc, max-size: 2Mb