Perception and Color

The relationship between the perception of architecture and the use of color (already explored in connection with buildings and urban space in the issue of Area 85) acquires a more narrow and particular value when it comes to interior design. The reasons are obvious and have to do with the interaction that buildings must necessarily establish with the surrounding landscape and thus with the blue or gray of the sky, depending on the weather, and with the urban or natural environment characterized by the soil, rock or infinite shades of green…of the green portions. Within the confined and closed space of the interior, the context is always built and thus artificial, losing the relationship with the blue sky above (black at night) or with the natural environment. In its place, the project introduces a direct and unmitigated relationship between the individual and the surrounding space, between container and content. In a this artificially designed setting, the chromatic choices and color schemes of the habitable space are immediately perceived by the person who inhabits them, and their effect on psyche of the person who works “at home” arrives with greater immediacy and power. Through color, an interior can be made to seem more spacious or, on the contrary, more cozy, reverberate with light thanks to the use of pale tints or create a seductive atmosphere by using darker shades. Outside of the home, in certain infrastructures, color can be used as a way of signaling and identifying different parts of a large architectural complex, where color is often decisive for finding one’s way around easily. In architecture, color is not just an undifferentiated or monochrome film applicable to any surface, but rather serves to characterize and reveal the identity of the materials used in construction; it expresses the essence, the code, the variations, the vibrations, and with these the intentions of the architect. Limiting its use only to the decorative sector means not fully understanding the communicative and intuitive potential of color as a tool for the definition of significant groupings of elements.

Marco Casamonti

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