Colour Philosophy in Architecture and Design – Part III (Green sets the scene) 

According to scientists, our eyes do not require any adjustment when they see green, and that is because green is at the centre of the colour spectrum.  It is the reassurance and the restful characteristics of green which resonates with so many people.  The Quran refers to paradise as being a place of flowing springs and gardens of perpetual bliss, a place where people will be adorned with bracelets of gold and wear green garments of fine silk and brocade.  Similarly the Bible refers to green as the colour of immortality, as a symbol of resurrection, a Spring colour.  Large portions of our association with colour relate to natural phenomena and Le Corbusier also embraced this idea when he created his nine atmospheres.

In this article we explore Le Corbusier’s Scenery and Sand I Atmospheres – Scenery uses three shades of green as the mural base; whereas Sand I offers three neutral mural base colours with a mixture of greys, blues and 6 greens as the complementary shades. Le Corbusier intended his 9 atmospheres to reflect specific actions of colours as well as fundamental manifestations of sensitivity. Cleverly, each atmosphere resonates with its respective name.

As with all of the atmospheres, “Scenery” offers the possibility of multiple interpretations, whereby one can achieve perfect harmony. With “Scenery” atmosphere, one is immediately struck by the Spring-like refreshing greens, evoking the sensation of being outdoors on a Spring day, with young lime green shoots emerging from the ground, indicating a sense of renewal.

Historically, Romans respected green as it was considered the embodiment of Venus, the goddess of gardens and vineyards. The complementary colours of “Scenery” are a selection of different earthy shades of red ochre, brown, reds, cream, white and medium grey. When we look at the colour wheel, green lies directly opposite red, and exhibits a natural balance, pairing the warm with the cool hue.

Tulips are one of the first flowers to bloom in Spring and this image is so vibrant when we look at any of the three Scenery atmospheres. Considering 32090 rouge vermillon 31 – a deep dynamic red, combined with any of the three green colours (32051 vert 31, 32052 vert clair and 32053 vert jaune clair) one can imagine walking through the annual Tulip Festival at Parc de l’Indépendance in Morges, Switzerland: signifying the arrival of Spring; listening to birdsong and feeling a newly-found optimism as the temperature increases and the seasons change. The other complementary colours in the Scenery atmosphere are more subtle shades of red ochre, brown and cream, which are extremely architectural, discreet but also very earthy offering a feeling of comfort. The red ochre and sienna shades hint of wooden floors and warm cosy rooms. The rose colours introduce a feeling of compassion, hinting at self-care and physical soothing. The complementary colours also remind us of the many skin tones throughout the world and also introduces a sense of inclusion and well-being.

In Le Corbusier’s Sand I atmosphere, the three murals (i.e. background colours) are 32060 ocre, 32082 orange pâle and 32131 ombre brûlée claire: all three are subtle, neutral and peaceful, reminiscent of different shades of shimmering sand. Six of the complementary colours are greens: interestingly, two of these greens are mural colours in the Scenery atmosphere, yet here the way the colours are reflected back against our eyes creates an entirely different formula from the way they are presented in.

“Colour is intimately attached to our being; each one of us has perhaps their colour; if we often ignore it our instincts cannot be mistaken”. Le Corbusier

When it comes to our own residences, many of us dress our homes as we dress ourselves, reflecting our mood or what inspires us. Colour philosophy is so fascinating; colour is an amazing phenomenon. Think again about the positive psychological traits of green, where the land is green we can find water, being the symbol of life and indicative of balance and harmony throughout our lives. Green, especially the greens in Scenery, are full of life and energy – invigorating and refreshing, and can be hugely motivating and inspirational.

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Very interesting this articule,Le Corbusier knew very well using colors.

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