How to deal with different textures in a colour concept

Texture is hugely important to design professionals. In fact, it’s a fascinating element in any design category. To most creatives, sensory experiences are unequivocally key to any creation. Tactility possesses two elements: firstly, the capability of being felt or touched, and secondly, the responsiveness to stimulation of the sense of touch. Incorporating textural interest to any concept adds depth and visual interest, and by introducing elements such as these, it affords a mysterious allure: one can’t resist brushing one’s fingertips along an unexpected texture with the ultimate prize of an unpredictable sensory experience, gained through the stimulation of one’s curious sense of touch.

Getting the balance right vis-à-vis texture is paramount: a space needs to feel inviting, making the end users feel alive and comfortable, but it’s essential not to leave the individual feeling over-stimulated. Design is like story-telling, each space being crafted needs to be balanced, yet have unexpected elements of surprise. Three fundamental elements to always consider in a project are the narrative, materials and artistry. Mixing surfaces, such as reflective or rough, and contrasting those with matte or smooth surfaces, whilst incorporating organic and manmade elements adds visual texture, but doesn’t detract from the overall concept.

Le Corbusier possessed such an unparalleled vision when it came to introducing different elements into his designs. He had a profound influence on the way today’s architects and designers continue to interpret colour and integrate it with varying textures nowadays. One of Le Corbusier’s favourite materials was the adaptable medium of concrete: from early on in his career Le Corbusier recognised the potential of using concrete in his designs. Le Corbusier, together with Auguste Perret, pioneered “béton brut” – the process whereby concrete is left unfinished, allowing the pattern created by its formwork to be exposed, discernible. This undoubtedly was one of the contributing factors of how Le Corbusier influenced the Brutalist movement. Béton Brut contrasts with everyday concrete: the latter undergoes a specialised treatment which smoothens its surfaces, eliminating all of its imperfections. Le Corbusier’s creation of the masterful Maison de la Culture, set within Firminy Vert, France, which was completed in 1965, is the largest Le Corbusier urban complex in Europe, and is a perfect example of his love for his signature material concrete, married with the three-storey colourful façade. Le Corbusier’s use of concrete, glass and colour here demonstrates how he wanted people to feel in a space, how it would be a space for everyone, illuminating their lives literally and metaphorically.

The sombre brief for Couvent Sainte-Marie de la Tourette was for Le Corbusier to create a silent dwelling for one hundred bodies and one hundred hearts; the 100 bodies being a community of silent monks. Le Corbusier used his signature béton brut, but also introduced very rough white painted concrete, primary colours, expansive floor to ceiling windows and wooden simple furniture. His curated mixture of textures and colours provided a canvas for the monks to work within, bringing joy and peace through the use of the different mediums which a little surprisingly work in perfect harmony with each other.

If one is considering using a darker palette in a space, then explore using more reflective textures and metallics, thereby lifting the space and creating more visual interest. When discussing textures and colour, one must also carefully examine both natural light and artificial lighting. For example, if a space is painted in a dark palette and rough materials are also used, then all light is being absorbed by the walls and fabric; and the introduction of some shinier materials, more light-reflective textures, such as mirrors or silk cushions or metallic lighting fixtures, will help to reflect light back into the space and elevate it, whilst adding visual texture to create impact and interest. Incorporating layered lighting in a dark space, i.e. highlighting different levels of the space – ceiling fixtures, wall lights and floor lamps adds intrigue and visual interest, impacting on the overall visual texture. And don’t forget that plants also bring any space to life and they complement all palettes.

Le Corbusier continually reconnoitred high contrasting pairings, whilst always managing to balance different materials and colours. He ensured that if he were incorporating a thought-provoking dark, but restrained palette, he would inject neutrals, thereby achieving a soft look which managed to envelop the entire space.

When it comes to lighter palettes, the use of texture is perhaps even more essential: if the walls, ceilings and floors are pale in a space, and natural light is in abundance, then all other elements may fall into insignificance. Incorporating an array of differing tactile and visual textures will create interest, provide definition to the scheme and feel more layered, as opposed to the space feeling bland and uninteresting. Let’s visualise an entirely white interior: consider introducing a mixture of white textures, such as organic linen, sheepskins, rugs using a combination of silk and wool materials; some will continue to reflect light, whilst the rougher of the materials will absorb some light and contribute to a much cosier feel. It’s so important that one’s eye travels around the room, noticing different elements of the design, a bit like a treasure hunt.

So don’t be averse to experimenting with mixed materials and colours and remember that to achieve a layered look within a space, ie elevating a room from ordinary to the unexpected and impactful, sometimes means being outside of one’s comfort zone. Careful analysis of the elements will achieve a successful design which will be appreciated for years to come.

Zögern Sie nicht, mit vielfältigen Materialien und Farben zu experimentieren und bedenken Sie: Um mehrere Dimensionen und Lagen in einem Raum zu erreichen, dabei beispielsweise einen Raum von gewöhnlich in unerwartet und wirkungsvoll zu verwandeln, bedeutet, manchmal ausserhalb seiner Komfortzone zu handeln. Die sorgfältige Auswahl der einzelnen Komponenten führt zu einem erfolgreichen Design, welches auch Jahre später noch geschätzt wird.

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

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