Design philosophy

Table of Contents

What is the purpose of colour consultation?

The colour consultation based on scientific knowledge brings the clients many advantages in the medium and long term and a financial benefit that should not be underestimated.

1. The human being at the centre of design

Every design should focus on the individual and his or her needs. In order for the built environment to be designed humanely, the needs of body, mind and soul must be taken into account. This requires a holistic view of the human being. Knowledge about phases of development and life as well as areas of human life are included in a well-founded design planning.

In addition to other sensory impressions, the human being orients himself essentially on the basis of optical information. Thus colour has a decisive influence on the interpretation of the environment and also on the interaction with it. Symbolic messages and aesthetic-atmospheric information are conveyed through colour. Colours therefore also affect our emotional world, even if we do not perceive them objectively or consciously on an intellectual level.

2. What colour does to people

Colour triggers physical processes

Every color stimulus that we absorb from the outside corresponds to a subjective reaction in our inner world. Colour influences cortical activation (brain waves), the functions of the vegetative nervous system and hormonal activities in the body. Our whole organism is influenced by the effect of colours. It changes physical processes through psycho-physiological and neuro-psychological influence.

Certain colours, such as red, yellow, green or blue in their most intense colour, cause physiologically measurable excitement or calming. However, human reactions also depend on other factors, such as the intensity of the colour used, the quantity and position of the colours in the room, the matching of the colour to the room function or the length of time during which someone is exposed to certain colours.

Colour influences the psyche
Colour psychology deals with the quality of experience of colours and their effect on people. Aspects of colour psychology include the way people experience colours, the emotional effect of colours, the synaesthetic effect of colours and also the symbolism of colours and their thought-connecting effects. The colour consultant and designer implements the knowledge gained from colour psychology and scientific studies in the design of interiors and exteriors. This process is called applied colour psychology and includes aspects of physiology, psychology, psychosomatics, neuropsychology, visual ergonomics and architectural and environmental psychology.

Colour has a cross-senses effect
Synaesthesia means the simultaneous perception of different sensations, including the arousal of a sense that communicates with other senses. Thus colours do not only address the sense of sight, but also arouse the sense of touch, smell, taste, temperature, etc. due to holistic references and sympathies. People perceive certain colour nuances and colour combinations as warm or cold, hard or soft, sweet or sour, etc. Synaesthetic effects of colour can, for example, influence the perception of spatial dimensions and compensate for particular stresses at the workplace.

Using stimuli correctly
A good design is neither low-irritant (monotonous) nor overloaded with stimuli (overstretched), but lies in between. Both extreme poles can cause both physical and psychological changes in humans. Concentration difficulties, restlessness, irritability and perception disorders are possible consequences. White, grey and black are referred to as neutral colours in interior design. Negative psychophysiological effects were observed in people with these non-coloured colours. Even intensely coloured and complex patterns can lead to overstimulation.

3. Colour in refined interplay with light

Man never perceives light and colour separately. Light occurs in the form of sunlight and artificial light sources. The quality of sunlight changes during the course of the day and thus triggers different colour sensations. The different characteristics of sunlight also change the three-dimensional appearance of the room, the quality of the colour tones and nuances. Particularly in the design of workplaces, great attention must be paid to the biological supply of the organism by daylight.

The planning of artificial lighting systems must not only be based on purely technical and superficially economic factors. It is worth developing a balanced concept for the use of light, colour and materials. The inclusion of physiological findings and the weighting of design aspects takes account of the fact that the mental stress of the working person increases and the tolerance limit for disturbing influences decreases.

Good lighting takes account of visual performance, visual comfort, colour rendering quality and ambience.

Aspects of visual ergonomics
Around 90 percent of the sensory impressions are absorbed through the eyes. Light and visual conditions influence the ability to concentrate, performance, reactivity and general well-being to a high degree. The optimal functioning of the eyes depends on the lighting and room conditions.

Direct and indirect light falling on the eye causes glare. This is the most common cause of visual complaints. Glare sensitivity increases sharply with age because the vitreous body in the eye becomes cloudier. There is more scattered light, which lies on the retina like a veil and causes glare.

In a glare-free environment, residents of retirement homes move around more frequently and more safely. This helps prevent falls and thus high costs. Body, mind and soul are also activated. This increases independence and self-reliance and reduces the consumption of medication.

Differences in luminance and surface colours
Extreme contrasts between light and dark should be avoided. High differences in luminance (contrasts) cause overstraining of the iris muscles, leading to eye fatigue. Appropriate differences in luminance prevent physiological fatigue and increase visual performance.

Weak contrasts should also be avoided because they reduce the ability to perceive three-dimensionally. A harmonious distribution of brightness in interiors decisively increases visual comfort.

The biological effect of light

The composition of artificial light is not identical to that of natural daylight. Artificial light has quality gaps in the colour rendering of the entire colour spectrum. Sunlight reflects every colour in the spectrum uniformly and is considered to be the most balanced light for humans. Sunlight has a profound effect on the human organism.

Light is transmitted to the brain via two nerve tracts. One is the visual tract that enables vision and the other is the energetic nerve tract that controls body chemistry. Thus, light is not only there to see, but also stimulates glands that pass the production and release of hormones to the body. For example, light throttles the production of the hormone melatonin, darkness stimulates it. Ultraviolet radiation has a physiological effect on the body. It produces vitamin D2, which promotes the metabolism of phosphorus and calcium.

This radiation also causes changes in skin temperature, reduces pulse rate, accelerates metabolism, lowers blood pressure and increases resistance to infections. Infrared radiation on the skin causes vasodilatation and affects body temperature, which in turn affects physical and mental performance. Many artificial light sources, compared to sunlight, have different spectral compositions. Studies show that standardized artificial light is a limitation for the human organism. The long-term effect of artificial light and the absence of daylight for several months caused symptoms such as sleep disorders, weakening of the immune system, depression, cardiovascular weakness, muscle and joint diseases and obesity.

4. The interplay of material and colour

Besides light and architectural form, material and colour are the decisive visual influencing factors of spatial perception and spatial experience. They have to meet requirements in terms of ergonomics, appearance, aesthetics, compensation for physical disabilities and use. The material appeals to synaesthetic sensations. In addition to seeing, accompanying sensations such as tasting, smelling, hearing and touching are animated. People understand materials and space holistically with all their senses.

The effect of colours always depends on the processing technique and the material to which they are applied. Colour consultants and designers have a wide range of possibilities to create tensions between colour surfaces and natural materials, between colour application and material surfaces and thus create the desired atmosphere.

Contribution to a healthy environment
When selecting colours and materials, their compatibility with people and the environment must be checked and observed. Material qualities should have a favourable influence on the room climate and also on the well-being of people in the room. The use of biologically harmless materials should be natural for buildings and their interior design. When using colour pigments, paints, binders, thinners and solvents, care must be taken to ensure that they are compatible with the environment and health.

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