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Video: Striking Look
In professional facade design, architecture is interpreted and enhanced with colors - how do graduate designers and a color designer do this?
Author: Petra Neumann-Prystaj
In addition to good ideas, a lot of know-how is required to develop a suitable color concept for a single building or a complex residential complex. The client, be it a private individual or a representative of a housing association, can also contribute his personal ideas. A successful design concept and the quality of the coating are decisive for a good result.
The Caparol FarbDesignStudio in Ober-Ramstadt, founded 45 years ago, with its team of twenty people produces around 1000 designs for architectural objects in Germany and in neighboring countries. With over 20 years of experience, the graduate designers Martina Lehmann and Petra Ruhnau are well versed in concept development.
"Every property requires an individual approach," they explain. Before the first draft is created, the designers proceed in a similar way to the freelance color designer Dipl-Des. Erik Pfeiffer in Offenbach: First of all, they inform themselves about the architecture and the surroundings of the building. Ideally, they let the atmosphere of the place take effect during a meeting with the client. If this is not possible, they will be provided with photos or videos by sales representatives. "Already when viewing the object pictures, a feeling for the color direction develops," says Petra Ruhnau when asked where her ideas are coming from. The color context - the overall impression of neighboring buildings, roofs, gardens, street situation, shading - is important information for them. Examples from the history of architecture and color sounds from other countries serve as a source of inspiration.
The graduate designer and painter Erik Pfeiffer has deliberately called his label for color design "environmental color.de". "But the moment of the environment must not be thought of singularly," he explains, "but is composed of realities. Likewise also digital realities. Everything has to do with pictures for me.”Pfeiffer shoots music videos, shows his projector productions at festivals and sends his drones for photo and video recordings to try out new imaging options. In his experiments, he collects cross-media experiences and incorporates them into his designs. "Once the location and the surrounding color have been clarified, considerations are made as to whether the design is an accessory or whether the viewer may try to get something going," says Pfeiffer. In the best of cases, he achieves a "perplexed astonishment" with the end result.
Professional design process
In the next step, design proposals are developed in the studio, taking into account the usage. The client expects a convincing result that goes beyond pure renovation. The new facade look should often be concise, arouse emotions and achieve a high level of acceptance. In general, the design should match the year of construction of the building, its architectural style and use, and be socio-culturally compatible. For example, a turquoise blue house fits very well with the lighting conditions in Greece, while in the Black Forest it stands out as a foreign body.
"We design each object individually," emphasize the designers. Sometimes they have to deal with clients who themselves do not know exactly what they want. Then a clever questioning technique usually helps - or the design means developed by the ColorDesignStudio, for example the subject Facade A1 Concept with color harmonies for different styles.
Explosion on the model
In Darmstadt, Erik Pfeiffer helped three student dormitories to have a lively appearance. When he received the order for the “LAB” student dormitory on Berliner Allee, the building was not yet completed. That is why he built it to scale according to the architect's plans in his Offenbach studio, before flying a New Year's Eve wrapped in colors to pieces and transferring the splashes and drops to the LAB design. The walls in the courtyard sprinkled with colored blobs now seem to tremble with force and energy. In the middle, on the floor of the residential complex, he placed a purple resting pole, the virtual starting point for the explosion. The scenario corresponded to the ideas of the client Studierendenwerk, who wanted to set a vibrant accent in the LAB."It was exactly there that something like this could happen," says Pfeiffer. In an old people's home, he would do it very differently.
At the student dormitory in Karlshof, he covered the common room and the outside area with polygonal shapes in subtle colors and made the walls dance with radial shapes and intersecting circular arc segments. He even managed to incorporate the winding cable ducts - pure technology - into his concept as multi-colored snake bodies. The highlight for him is the permanent expandability of the image. Because Pfeiffer thinks beyond the day: If graffiti attacks occur, the overall picture becomes more complex and difficult after each of these attacks.
Curved white arches are the leitmotif of the “re_st” student dormitory on Riedeselstrasse. They climb up on the two elevator towers, each of which has its own distinctive range of colors. This interplay between the cold and warm color system is also typical of Pfeiffer's large-format oil paintings. He lifts the weight and mass of concrete with graceful shapes reminiscent of foliage that stand alongside the massive arches of tension.
Popular apartment buildings
Martina Lehmann was faced with the task of converting simple US residential barracks from the 1950s into attractive residential buildings on the grounds of the Lincoln settlement in Darmstadt. Now the previously uniform apartment blocks differ in graphic nuances in different shades from the color areas red, yellow and blue. Martina Lehmann was able to achieve a lively, friendly effect and at the same time give the tenants guidance.