Liz West + Graham & Brown

A Subjective Mix, 2018

There is a standard test every employee of Graham and Brown must pass; The Farnsworth Munsell 100 Hue Colour Vision Test is an essential aspect of the company’s work, with specialist staff requiring a superior score to work on their internationally recognised products.

After taking the test herself, and confirming her own superior colour vision, Liz produced colour samples inspired by the windows in the historic Cotton Exchange.

Further inspired by Joseph Albers 1963 book, ‘Interaction of Colour,’ Liz used six pens at a time to produce multi-coloured dots on white paper. By building different combinations of colour, Liz eventually achieved the colour she had in mind – a true grey. The team from Graham and Brown constructed a monumental structure in the heart of the space, mirroring the octagons in the Cotton Exchange’s ceiling design, the half octagons of the window bays and the octagonal shape of the entrance foyer. They then papered the installation with Liz’s design, the grey colour visible from a distance, becoming coloured dots when viewed close up, revealing the complex relationship we have in perceiving and understanding colour.

“Working with Graham and Brown as part of [Art in Manufacturing] was insightful and indulgent: it’s not often these kinds of wonderful opportunities crop up. My residency was insightful, fruitful and helped push me (willingly) into unknown territory.”

Liz West


Liz West lives and works in Manchester. She graduated from BA (Hons) Fine Art Sculpture & Environmental Art at Glasgow School of Art in 2007. She regularly exhibits nationally and internationally including at: Kraftwerk, Berlin; Chester Cathedral; Bristol Biennial; Natural History Museum and Royal British Society of Sculptors. Liz was recently shortlisted for the Aesthetica Art Prize, Best Light Art at the Darc Awards and Lighting Design Awards. Liz creates vivid environments that mix luminous colour and radiant light, aiming to provoke a heightened sensory awareness in the viewer through her works. She is interested in exploring how sensory phenomena can invoke psychological and physical responses that tap into our own deeply entrenched relationships to colour.



Started by two friends, Harold Graham & Henry Brown after the second world war, Graham & Brown have built up an international reputation from its manufacturing base in Blackburn, Lancashire. Selling to over seventy five countries, with divisions in France, Holland, Australia, Russia, USA, and China, they continue to innovate in design and product development and work with high profile designers and emerging design talent, with the brand recognised as a “cool brand” seven years in a row.


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