In 1930, bolstered by his experience as a painter and architect, Le Corbusier created a wallpaper collection for the Swiss company Salubra. Based on the 43 colours most often used by his workshop, he theorised that, if “an oil painting sold on a roll” was produced on an industrial scale, the colour schemes he developed would be easier to respect on his building sites. To facilitate the use of these colours and his wallpapers by private clients, he devised a ‘colour keyboard’ and ‘colour schemes’ which could be used to create spatial effects; harmonies and contrasts between walls, doors and woodwork. In 1959, he designed a second colour keyboard, offering 400 different combinations and motifs.
le corbusier’s polychromie architecturale and other color palettes…
What is important and new in the offer of Le Corbusier with the Salubra wallpaper is the idea of painting oil on wallpaper, to help the architects and the clients during the project or the work of their house, to have exactly the colors they have chosen. And also, what is the most important is the idea of the combination of all the colors. This is really the idea of Le Corbusier and it’s absolutely new!
the usage of polychromie architecturale
Le Corbusier used the Salubra wallpaper (oil painting) also in his personal projects, for example in his apartment studio on the Molitor Building, or in the Petite villa sur le Lac Léman, the second house for his parents. We discovered these wallpapers during the restoration works. But he also used other paints in his projects, not only
Salubra’s colors. This is very important to know. He created two palettes: one with
the colors of his Purist’s paintings and the last one brighter (vive in French). Actually, the most well-known is the second one (Unité d’habitation de Marseille, for example).
polychromie architecturale and brand partnerships
The first company to propose the palette was IGP powder coatings, a Swiss company. After a research of two years, they launched the IGP-Dura xal Special Collection Le Corbusier with the 63 colours highly weather-resistant with a matt aspect for multiple uses. This company sales the powder to different partners promoting the Le Corbusier’s polychromy.
In 2012, Drikolor Inc. based in New Zealand, developed a technology for tinting a base paint with fine pigments used by artists. Rachel Lacy extended the product in
selling it on the USA market.
The Indian Company, Asian Paints Limited, got the rights in 2012 to develop and sale the Polychromy in India and Sri Lanka with the Royale Aspira paint.
Until today Keim Farben GmbH, a German company, sales the paints for facade and interior. They launched in 2014 their PolyChro collection with silicate for a matt and deep aspect.