Coloured architectures: classic and avant-garde combinations

Coloured architectures: classic and avant-garde combinations

The use of colour in architecture generates psychological emotions that can also influence the physical well-being of those who use the buildings in question.

The interaction between the two elements can convey visual sensations in a particularly effective way: the colour combinations, which stimulate the perception of space, are linked to a careful preliminary study of the context in which they will operate and the sensations that are desired in the observer.


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The use of colour in urban regeneration: 5 examples

For the regeneration of disused and degraded urban areas, it is not uncommon to intervene with the use of bright and contrasting colours. The use of colour, with such an incisive gesture, conveys a sense of renewal, enhancement and transformation.

One example is the Superkilen, an urban park situated in the city of Copenhagen. The transformation project for this area was designed with the aim of giving a new face to what was a multicultural, semi-peripheral and, above all, difficult to manage district. The integration between different ethnic groups is celebrated with originality and inspiration. Divided into three sectors, the park is famous for its differentiation by functions:

  • the red zone, featuring scarlet, orange and pink tones; bright, eccentric and energetic, it is dedicated to outdoor sports activities. 
  • the black zone features a dark-coloured flooring scratched by white and wavy bands that evoke the sinuous dunes of the desert. This, between Japanese cherry trees and arabesque benches, is the area dedicated to the East. 
  • the last and largest zone is the green zone, also called Green Park, precisely because the meadows and nature take centre-stage here.

Superkilen urban park in Copenaghen

The “Pigalle Duperré court” project in Paris is also innovative and original. This extensive and radical transformation of an empty, unused, and forgotten space between several buildings has given life to an urban basketball court that has become a new social gathering place.

Two interventions over the years have given the court a new identity, creating an explosion of colour: one defined by the division of space into rigorous and geometric shapes and the use of primary colours and white; while the second is characterised by nuances between brighter and bold shades of blue, fuchsia, pink, yellow and orange. Here, the juxtaposition of art, sport and culture has left a truly indelible mark.

But colour is not always localised in a corner of the neighbourhood: indeed, there are many examples where the whole urban context is characterised by original colours, often emphasised by the surrounding natural environment. This is the case of Chefchaouen, the so-called “blue city of Morocco”, located at the foot of the green mountains of Rif. Considered one of the most beautiful destinations in North Africa, it is painted in a wide range of blue, turquoise and cobalt shades to evoke the colours of the sky and sea.

Chefchaouen city in blu and turquoise shades

blue street in Chefchaouen


Monochrome cities and colourful cities, like Burano, one of Venice’s picturesque islands. Here, bright and bold colours are reflected in the brackish waters of the lagoon: this is how fishermen made their homes recognisable and distinguishable from the sea.

colourful houses on Burano island

In Longyearbyen, on the other hand, the town’s polychromy contrasts completely with the snow-white and glacial Norwegian surroundings. The whole creates an almost fairy-tale effect.

architecture with polychromy contrasts in Norway


Colour in architecture

Several examples in the world of architecture have become symbols of a particular style or have marked the transition from one era to the next – not just because of the construction technique employed, but also because of their characteristic use of colour. 

The Schröder house in Utrecht is symbolic and striking. Built in 1924 by Gerrit Rietveld – a prominent member of the De Stijl art movement – it is recognised as the most expressive residential building of the early modern period, signalling the end of classical architecture. It expresses technique and art, neoplasticism and flexibility, form and colour

Still recognised today as an avant-garde structure, the Schröder house stands out because of its metamorphosis over time: it is a dynamic and flexible space that can be adapted to any needs, even during the course of the day. Integrated with the exterior architecture are a number of distinctive elements that, featuring shades of yellow, blue, red and grey, enhance its shape.

Schröder house in Utrecht

balcony of Schröder house in Utrecht

From the use of primary colours alone, let us move on to works that are considered as real explosions of colour, like a painting. This is the case of the Brandhorst Museum in Munich, whose facades are extremely bright and colourful thanks to the use of 36,000 ceramic strips that generate evocative plays of light as they are bathed by the sun. Although the building is very simple in structure, this decorative cladding (designed by Sauerbruch-Hutton’s studio) makes it highly original and visually striking.

Brandhorst Museum in Munich

coloured wall of Brandhorst Museum in Munich

Colour can also generate an element of rupture in a historic fabric, as in the Didden Village, a building extension of a traditional terraced house from the late 19th century, designed by MVRDV. Pure, plastic and elementary volumes in concrete that has been painted blue. The cold blue used for the exterior is internally interrupted by the warmer and more welcoming red. There are no superfluous signs, such as overhangs or eaves. This is a project that aims to crown traditional architecture with a new postmodern construction. 


Audacious and neutral colours in the home

Within the four walls of the home, the colours chosen for the interior design are mostly linked to the trends of the moment. Whether you choose to use it on floors, walls or for furnishing elements, colour entails both stylistic and subjective choices. 

Together with the colours, the choice of materials must also be considered: porcelain stoneware makes a versatile choice from both an aesthetic and technical point of view. It allows for great creative experimentation combined with ease of cleaning and maintenance over the course of time. 

The large format tiles which – thanks to their extraordinary dimensions – amplify the colours and render them lively, attractive, contrasting and pure, have a great visual impact and a strong and decisive personality. In addition, the finishes and textures give rise to new formulas of perceptive influence between the decorated ceramic material and the individual, creating hypnotic and fascinating configurations.

coloured porcelain stoneware in avant-garde design

Araldica collection by Federico Pepe for CEDIT – Ceramiche d’Italia
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bedroom with porcelain stoneware of Policroma collection

Policroma collection by Cristina Celestino for CEDIT – Ceramiche d’Italia
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interior with porcelain stoneware of Neutra 6.0 collection

Neutra 6.0 collection by Casa dolce casa – casamood
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cabinet in avant-garde design

Cromatica collection by Formafantasma for CEDIT – Ceramiche d’Italia
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For a calm and simpler environment, interior walls can take on an elegant appearance, almost comparable to a work of art that is contemplated and admired. Ceramic coverings that reinterpret the raw canvas on which the artist has expressed his or her poetry, colours to be mixed in the preferred pastel shades, with a matte or glossy finish… A few simple moves that can create a truly unique, made-to-measure space that will stimulate the user’s senses.

kitchen with ceramic coverings in pastel shades

Euridice collection by Giorgio Griffa for CEDIT – Ceramiche d’Italia
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kitchen in natural shades with wooden elements

Crayons of Cerim collection
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Colour that awakens the emotions: warm and cool colours

The intelligent use of colour in architecture allows for the creation of a harmonious and evocative atmosphere.

The latest trends present a distinction between material and the perception of colour, varying between the warm tones of raw woods to the cooler ones inspired by natural stones and quartzes with a stable and elegant rendering. 

The vibrations of colours influence us; they can act on our sense of equilibrium without us even realising it.

Warm and cool colours arouse contrasting emotions and different moods. Excitement, joy, well-being and serenity, calm, and contemplation. Relaxing or stimulating, they affect both our body and soul.


warm-coloured decorated porcelain stoneware

I Filati di Rex collection
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living room architecture in cool shades

Les Bijoux de Rex collection
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