Header - Article Color Groups Le Corbusier

The colour groups of the Architectural Polychromy

Each colour group and each colour tone embodies spatial effects, has a relevance and causes characteristic reactions to our sensitivities. Le Corbusier chose all colours very consciously for architecture. This has resulted in a perfect selection of architectural colours, gathered in the Architectural Polychromy. Each of the 9 colour groups of the Architectural Polychromy and each shade of the Le Corbusier colour system have their relevance and embody specific spatial and human effects.

« Colour is an incredibly effective triggering tool. Colour is a factor of our existence. »

- Le Corbusier - 

 


 

With only 63 colours out of 9 colour groups

  • 2 x White
  • 8 x Grey & Black
  • 13 x Blue
  • 9 x Green
  • 4 x Ochre & Yellow
  • 4 x Orange
  • 8 x Red
  • 8 x Red ochre & Brown
  • 7 x Umber

the Architectural Polychromy offers you a unique tool for skilled, convincing and overarching architectural colour concepts.

 

2x white in the colour system of Le Corbusier

The white colour was a symbol of modern architecture. It is still used – often thoughtlessly – on large surfaces as a "neutral" element. However, white is not neutral, because it is always a certain white. The colour white is above fashion and fits in all rooms. Everything that is white is easy to see. What is around white shades always appears darker. White appears in the Architectural Polychromy once in the first keyboard as 32001 blanc and once in the second colour collection as 4320B blanc ivoire.

 

8 shades of black and grey among the Le Corbusier colours

Grey is double-sided, it is a colour between light and dark, black and white. Light shades of grey appear light, whereas dark grey appears rather heavy and gloomy. Black is an achromatic colour and absorbs colours. Le Corbusier's Architectural Polychromy gathers a total of eight architecturally relevant gris and noirs (grey and black). 32010 gris foncé 31 from the 1st colour collection of 1931 is the darkest grey of the first keyboard. 4320E noir d'ivoire, the ivory black, is the only black tone in the Architectural Polychromy.

 

 

  • Colour Groups of Le Corbusier's Architectural Polychromy
  • ©Les Couleurs Suisse examples of Le Corbusiers Color Groups

 

13 blue architectural colours by Le Corbusier

In Le Corbusier's Architectural Polychromy, we can find thirteen shades of blue. Blue is one of the most popular of all colours. One naturally associates the ultramarine blue like 32021 outremer moyen with the sky on a clear, sunny day. It is a summer colour, just like the Coelin blue 32032 céruléen vif. Le Corbusier created two more shades of blue for the second colour collection. These include the dynamic and shaded ultramarine 4320K bleu outremer 59.

 

Green tones in Le Corbusier's colour system

As the 'colour of the centre' (blue colour seems rather distant and red seems close), green is calming without tiring. The main colour of nature is considered to be the symbol colour for life; it stands for spring and growth. Le Corbusier's polychromy contains nine shades of green, seven of which were used in the first colour keyboard of 1931, including the three somewhat cool English green and the 50th range of green shades with yellowish tones like the 32052 vert clair. Le Corbusier included the unique 4320F vert olive vif in the second colour keyboard of 1959.

 

The colour palette of Le Corbusier with 4x ochre and yellow

The second colour keyboard from 1959 contains three shades of ochre and yellow. In the first keyboard from 1931, Le Corbusier had completely given up the yellow colour and chose only the light and elegant 32060 ocre tone. Ochre is the name given to colours ranging from light sand to dark straw or from cappuccino to cream and earthy tones. The earthy ochre tones are much softer than yellow. Yellow stands for brightness, knowledge, alertness, enlightenment and living; for the idea of joyful, funny or active, or for the summer.

 

The 8 red ochre and brown colours of Le Corbusier

Le Corbusier has included a total of eight tones of this colour fan in his architecturally relevant keyboards. He also very consciously selected the red ochre tones, such as the 32111 l'ocre rouge moyen, and brown tones. Brown has a distinct range of effects. More than with other colours, the meaning and effect are therefore dependent on the specific colour tones.

  • ©Les Couleurs Le Corbusier - 32080 orange
  • ©Les Couleurs Le Corbusier - 32081 orange clair
  • ©Les Couleurs Le Corbusier - 32082 orange pâle
  • ©Les Couleurs Le Corbusier - 4320S orange vif

 

4x orange dans la Polychromie Architecturale

L’orange est lui aussi – tout comme le rouge et le jaune – une couleur de l’énergie. Il représente la force vitale, l’activité et l’excitation, le désir et la jeunesse. Certaines nuances d’orange peuvent être perçues comme intrusives, imposantes, tonitruantes. Il est donc essentiel de bien définir les teintes d’orange du point de vue architectural. Pour son premier clavier de couleurs de 1931, Le Corbusier a créé une série de trois tons oranges (la série des 80) qui inclut le ton 32081 orange clair. Le clavier de couleurs de 1959 ajoute une autre nuance d’orange très prononcée.

 

Le Corbusier red in 8 colour variations

Traditionally, red is the colour of authority and wealth. But red also stands for passions and feelings, encompassing love and hate. For Le Corbusier's skilful selection of red shades, the stimulation, the arousal of the senses were in the foreground. Le Corbusier's first keyboards from 1931 comprise two rows of red shades with five shades of red. In his second keyboard from 1959, Le Corbusier included three more dynamic red shades. These include the 4320C rose vif, which is considered to complement other rich colours, or the luxurious ruby red 4320M le rubis. 

 

The 8 red ochre and brown colours of Le Corbusier

Le Corbusier has included a total of eight tones of this colour fan in his architecturally relevant keyboards. He also very consciously selected the red ochre tones, such as the 32111 l'ocre rouge moyen, and brown tones. Brown has a distinct range of effects. More than with other colours, the meaning and effect are therefore dependent on the specific colour tones.

 

7x Umbra in the colour keyboards of Le Corbusier

Le Corbusier defined a total of seven umbra tones as architecturally relevant. For the second colour keyboard of 1959, Le Corbusier defined two umbra tones, including 4320J terre d'ombre brûlée, which follows the 32130 terre d'ombre brûlée 31 in depth. Umbra (Latin: shadow) has been known for thousands of years. According to its name, umbra is considered a shadow colour. Surfaces and bodies move into or out of the shadows. Areas in shadow are not noticeable.

 

©Les Couleurs Le Corbusier Architectural Polychromy

More information about the Color Groups of the Architectural Polychromy:

Le Corbusier's book of architectural colours

In this book, you will get background information about Le Corbusier, his buildings as well as the colour keyboards of 1931 and 1959, the Fondation Le Corbusier and the authenticity brand Les Couleurs® Le Corbusier. Furthermore, the appropriate colour history and design explanation is described for each of the 63 architectural colours. The second part of the book examines the colour moods developed by Le Corbusier for the swiss wallpaper company Salubra. The colours are divided into colour groups and the colour series. Read more about our German Design Award 2017.

ISBN: 978-3-033-05574-2 

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