Colour is understood to be a highly influencial element in almost all facets of design, with various colours gaining equally varying responses. US stylist Jeannie Mai stands by her idea of ‘wearapy’ or the effect colour can have on our moods, and new age diet coaches suggest that the colour of the dishes on which food is presented can affect the amount we eat.
Interior designers have long understood the power of colour and its influence over interior atmosphere and mood. Different shades can invigorate, incite productivity or allow us to relax and dramatically changing the feeling of a space all the way down to its perceived temperature.
Highly acclaimed architect and winner of the 2007 laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize Richard Rogers notes, however, that when it comes to architecture in general, and exterior architecture in particular, colour holds the same importance.
In a recent interview, Rogers explained that through the incorporation of considered colour choice, true design expression can be achieved, which leaves an impression on – and creates an experience for – those who visit the structure.
“Both colours and architecture are expressions,” he said. “Colours are components of our buildings, which help to divide functions and bring enjoyment.”
Colour also adds a much needed dynamic to the exterior of a structure, setting its tone and moulding its initial reaction.
“We tend to embrace the use of coluor as one of the ways to strengthen the mood of our buildings,” Rogers said. ”Colour also helps emphasize certain rhythms and scales.”
While these effects are similar to the way colour impacts interior design – even if the scale and perceived effect is altered – the research paper ‘Colour and light in architecture’ suggests that using considered design methods to implement colour schemes in a larger urban planning sense could have major social implications.
The paper was presented at the 2004 Color and Paints, Interim Meeting of the International Color Association by María L. F. de Matiello.
It outlines the various effects that colour can have as a mood modifier and how this could help bring about social change, implying that urban design could possibly change negative societal social norms such as crime rates and loss of community
“The use of colour to improve and organize underprivileged areas, as a means of stimulating the inhabitants to take better care of them and to protect them, is a good starting point,” says the research paper. “As a result of its use, we have been able to witness a reduction in the crime rate, since the space in question was no longer totally anonymous, and this led to an increase in solidarity amongst its inhabitants.”
While it would be ridiculous to suggest that painting a town pink would eliminate crime, it is important to remember that colour has the power to have an influence on exterior spaces as much as it does on interiors.