I can describe color in many ways. It is light, a physical characteristic of an object, a chemical substance, a paint or a pigment but at the same time it is a sensory event, a visual experience, a subjective sensation and even an illusion depending on the relations of light to the eye. Science takes human color vision and perception as a resultant of three components; light (the emitter), object (the transmitter) and subject / observer (the receiver). I prefer to take architecture as a domain that involves light, object and subject. So that architectural color embraces all perspectives by many disciplines such as philosophy, history, chemistry, physics, biology, art, etc. Furthermore, architecture offers a ground comprises a basis for all related disciplines under the roof of theory and practice.
Briefly, color is a design element and one of the characteristics of materials in architecture. It makes things visible; differentiates an object from its environment; identifies elements within a composition; adds a new dimension; recalls a new emphasis, a new look, a further expression; conveys messages and information; it is emotional and evokes our feelings. Color is mostly taken as a matter of aesthetics, however; its functional attributes are also very significant. Thus, architectural color is a particular design issue, rather than a casual / arbitrary output of the design process.
right color palette
Today, color is being seen as a strategic component of architecture as a result of growing interest in color through new technologies and recent works. The infinite range of paint colors, colored construction materials and alternative ways of using color (by lighting and / or digital techniques) are increasing the complexity of multiple choice of colors for architects / designers. For some architects, the ‘logic’ of color is seemingly be settled, but generally, the strategies / criteria are decided by the architect(s), in different ways for each specific case. The set of color planning criteria includes formal, symbolic, functional, conceptual, contextual categories, besides preferences of architect(s) and / or customer(s). These categories are not mutually exclusive but complementary to each other and, are expected to be elaborated during design and implementation. A well-conducted color design process distinguishes ‘color’ from ‘paint’.
Harmony of colors is one of the major concerns of design. As a measure of aesthetics, color harmony is mostly explained in order of colors and their mathematical relations. On the other hand, pleasantness of color combinations is a measure of emotion. I can summarize color harmony principles on the basis of similarities and / or contrasts of color attributes (Hue, Value and Chroma). Achieving a balance among all is the heart of the color matters, over the centuries.