Video: Decode Color DNA
2023 Author: Hannah Pearcy | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 11:39
Petra Ruhnau is an experienced color designer for architecture. She spoke to the Malerblatt editorial team about researching regional, individual color tones.
Interview: Martin Mansel | Photos: Caparol
What do you understand by the term color research?
Petra Ruhnau: As a color
designer, I perceive my surroundings sensitively and specifically with regard to color. There is a lot to observe, especially when traveling, both in nature and in the cultural field. Cities and regions have typical individual color tones that create a certain atmosphere and give the places their own identity. In search of this color identity, we examine how color is handled in architecture. Which colors are dominant? How are colors combined?
We call this inventory of color nuances and materials on site, their presentation and evaluation - i.e. the consideration of the relationship between location and color identity - color research. We refer to the empirically determined color code of a city or region as color DNA.
Why is Caparol doing the
Petra Ruhnau: The Caparol Color Design Studio is characterized by extensive knowledge and research in the field of color design for architecture.
This includes color planning, color design for special topics such as color in old age, color in educational institutions and much more. Knowledge
of regional colors is fundamental to the design of our built environment.
At Color Research Germany - where we initially examined three regions - there were clear regional differences and characteristic color tones. In comparison, the color DNAs of neighboring European countries Sweden, Belgium and the Netherlands, which we analyzed, are much more contrasting.
What benefits do you expect from this?
Petra Ruhnau: The regional color tones are empirically determined when traveling and are only a section of the overall picture. These explorations are not about
statistics, but about appearances that should
sensitize and inspire
. The knowledge gathered flows
into the daily design and consulting practice, as well as into the further development of the color subjects. The regional colors - the so-called “color home” - can also be used to explain individual color preferences and a collective understanding of colors.
How does this color research work in practice?
Petra Ruhnau: The procedure for color scouting is always the same: First, external designers use
their experience to research typical colors in their area. Experts from the city building office, monument office and also our field staff are involved. After this pre-research, places and street lines are specified together and the tour is planned. Equipped with color fans, color measuring devices and cameras, the experts at the Caparol Color Design Studio travel on-site in search of appropriate colors. In this color research, color nuances, color combinations, materials and surfaces of facades are recorded on site and documented accordingly. Photos and color lists are evaluated in the ColorDesignStudio and the knowledge about publications and lectures is communicated.
Examples of regional color tones:
Knowledge of regional
fundamental to the design of our built environment.
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