Monday, September 29, 2014

Celeste Green

photo by Tim Jones
It's not quite seafoam green, and Tiffany blue is close, but too blue.
It's known as "Celeste Green" by anyone who knows anything about Bianchi bicycles or road cycling in general.

Edoardo Bianchi started building bikes in 1885, and his company is one of the oldest bicycle companies in existence. 

I'm sure this color appeared in other places before, but the bikes from the Bianchi bicycle company became the most closely associated with it. 
When Italian racer Fausto Coppi won a big race in Europe on a Celeste Green frame, it became their most popular color.  

The color is now more representative of the Bianchi company than Caterpillar Yellow is to the tractor and equipment company of the same name.

In the early 80's I became a fan of the color because I was crazy about cycling.
The fact that my brother had a poster of Kathy Ireland wearing a bikini in this color may have also contributed to my affinity at the time.

There are numerous theories and/or myths about the choice 
and the naming of the color:
- It is said that Edoardo Bianchi built a bicycle for the queen, and that he matched the paint to the color of her eyes.

- Bianchi began in Milan, Italy, and some say that Celeste Green is supposed to be the color of the sky in Milan.  I've been to Milano, and I didn't see a green sky, but then I wasn't there a hundred years ago.

- Some say that the company was close to folding and didn't have much money, so they mixed all their paints together and this light green hue is what they got.

- Rumors have swirled about how it was military surplus paint 
(possibly a mixture of two or more colors).

- I've heard that it began as the paint used to coat the underside of aircraft so they'd be harder to spot in the air in wartime.  We get our word "celestial" (meaning of the heavens) from the same Latin root, so there could be a connection to the sky or paint for the underside of a plane.

- Lastly, it is rumored that the color was named after Edoardo's daughter who was named Celeste.

My younger daughter has Celeste as her middle name - hearkening back to a great grandmother on my wife's side.  It's not unusual in Italian families.

The color, however is unusual...especially on a gondola.
In a world of red or blue floorboards, I absolutely love seeing this color.
It looks even better with the contrasting dark green and varnished wood areas.
The guy who owns this boat has clearly put a lot of work and thought into his gondola.
The portela alone says that this is a boat that's owned by a guy who is detail oriented and loves his gondola.
The decorative carved piece between the forward trastolini, with it's painted carvings, almost looks like something from an alpine cabin.

I love this color.
Edoardo Bianchi would be proud.
Fausto Coppi would be proud.
Heck, Kathy Ireland would be proud.

I wonder if this guy mixed the paint himself or got it from Bianchi.

1 comment:

Christafari said...

Love that color!
Ed Mohr