09:00 Registration
09:45 Introduction by Benoît Hennaut (Dir. La Cambre) and Jeannette Hanenburg (President ICA-Belgium)
10:00 Biomimetic optical nanostructures. Matthew Shawkey
10:35 Design semantic pathways – colours connecting meaning, emotion and psychology to visual language. Inez Michiels
11:10 Break
11:40 SlowCity, FastCity, SmartCity – Colours in the built environment. Verena M. Schindler
12:15 Color as Modernity: Chromatic Ambitions in Art Deco New York. Jada Schumacher
12:50 Lunch + poster sessions
Colourful World vs. Colourless Design – how to restore colour and material in the education of architects and designers. Ralf Weber
14:45 Colour ConText: a Database on Colour Practices and Materials. Sylvie Neven
15:20 Microkosmos – Strange white light properties. Adrien Lucca
15:55 Closing remarks
16:00 Networking opportunity
17:00 END


Matthew Shawkey
Biomimetic optical nanostructures.
Matthew Shawkey is Professor of Biology and member of the Evolution and Optics of Nanostructures Group, Department of Biology, University of Ghent, Belgium.

Colors are useful for functions ranging from camouflage to communication to thermoregulation. Structural colors, those produced by materials organized at the nanometer scale, have numerous advantages over those produced by pigments, including greater color diversity, iridescence, resistance to fading, tunability, and potentially low cost of manufacture due to their formation by self-assembly. Birds have an astonishing diversity of structural colors ranging from ultraviolet to red. I will discuss our recent progress on biomimetic versions of these nanostructures using three methods: 1) synthetic melanin nanoparticles, 2) polymer blends and 3) nanoscale 3D printing. We use these techniques both to test hypotheses on their function and development, and to produce new materials with potential applications as coatings and sensors.

Inez Michiels
Design semantic pathways – colours connecting meaning, emotion and psychology to visual language.
Inez Michiels is researcher and teacher at CITY OF 8, design semantics research association.

At a time when visual communication, products and environments increasingly need to appeal emotionally to win the hearts of the users, or to bring them into a certain state of mind, for the designer in-depth knowledge of the psychological and emotional effect of visual language is more important than ever. For to be successful, products and environments must be able to inspire, promote well-being, generate emotions and dreams.
To meet these new challenges, Inez presents the semantic colour space as a design method to connect psychology, emotion and meaning to elements of visual language. By means of elementary carriers of meaning that can be found in specific properties of colour, a synaesthetic bridge is laid to the other forms of expression. The semantic colour space forms the abstract framework for the creative database KHNUM. Sit back and enjoy a journey through the meaningful pathways of KHNUM.

Verena M. Schindler
SlowCity, FastCity, SmartCity – Colours in the built environment.
Verena M. Schindler is Co-Chair of the Study Group on Environmental Colour Design (SG ECD), Association Internationale de la Couleur (AIC).

A city is never finished. It is always evolving, changing and modernizing. What makes a city chromatically attractive, pretty or ugly. What are the colour concepts of future urban developments? How do we approach the continuously fluctuating colour complexity of a city, an urban space? An analytical approach to urban colour will be explored and discussed. Insights from different points of view on how to create a relationship between colours, materials and the built environment will be the basis for the study of chromatic atmospheres in urbanism.

Jada Shumacher
Color as Modernity: Chromatic Ambitions in Art Deco New York
Jada Schumacher is associate Professor, Fashion Institute of Technology, New York and Founding Director of designorange, New York.

This presentation offers an in-depth study of color palettes of original Art Deco murals in New York City. Murals such as Stuart Davis’ Men Without Women (men’s lounge of Radio City Music Hall), Yasuo Kuniyoshi’s Exotic Flowers (ladies’ powder room of Radio City Music Hall), Hildreth Meière’s Byzantine masterpieces (surrounding the Torah at Temple Emanu-El), José Maria Sert’s American Progress (30 Rockefeller Plaza), the wall portion of Edward Trumbull’s Transport and Human Endeavor (Chrysler Building lobby), Ezra Winter’s The Fountain of Youth (staircase atrium of Radio City Music Hall), or similar will be explored.

The proposed methodology will include (1) color documentation at the building sites using NCS (Natural Colour System) and/or Pantone Matching System, (2) documentation of materials at the building sites, (3) compilation of color and material palettes, (4) visual photographic essay of murals, and (5) brief text analysis of the social, cultural, and spatial significance of these color choices in the Art Deco era.

Ralf Weber
Colourful World vs. Colourless Design – how to restore colour and material in the education of architects and designers.
Ralf Weber is Professor of Architecture and Director of the colour research collection of Dresden University.

Colourful World vs. Colourless Design – how to restore colour and material in the education of architects and designers. Everyday life is bursting with colour: The colours, hues and textures of a city combine in a blur of lights, cars and people rushing to work, advertising, shop window displays and the vibrancy of cafés on a square. The fabric of buildings that make up streets and squares, trees, the texture of street pavements and the material of roof tiles seen from above are all component parts of a city’s colour palate. Many cities are indeed famous for their trademark colours. Now, imagine a world without colour. A city where buildings, streets and trees are of a uniform colour: buildings, whose rooms are mainly painted in shades of white? Unthinkable? Not at all, because this is precisely the way many modern cities and buildings are often imagined in the contemporary planning process: through diagrams of line drawings, through mass models of wood, plaster or styrofoam or simply through the one-tone digital mass models that visualize the first ideas. There is a remarkable dichotomy between the reality of experiencing the world and its planning: a dichotomy between reception and production, and consequently between a world of colour perception on the one side, and a design process that regards atmosphere crafted by colour, texture and light only as a by-product at the end of the process on the other. In the education of architects and many design professions, the aspect of colour plays rather a marginal role and it is often considered a component that is secondary to the design of the plans or the shape and structure of the building. Yet in the actual experience of buildings, cities and objects, colour is experienced via the materials that make up their surfaces, and therefore, is an integral part of the perceptual process. How can this dichotomy be resolved? How can students be taught to imagine the first ideas about shape and space as material ideas right from the start, instead of merely draping a finished design with colour, texture and lighting at the end and thus disregard their role as intrinsic components of the design process? This talk will look at the use of colour and material throughout the history of the design process and illustrate the reasons for the schism between material and colour on the one side and the design concept and form on the other. Using Dresden University’s model of intensive courses in Space, Colour, Light suggestions and examples for an integrated model of teaching colour will be presented.

Dr. Sylvie Neven
Colour ConText: a Database on Colour Practices and Materials
Dr Sylvie Neven is researcher into artists’ historical sources and materials and lecturer at the University of Liège (Uliege)

From Antiquity, artists, artisans, craftsmen and even scholars have transmitted and recorded their knowledge of artistic materials and practices within a specific sort of writing: artist recipe books. These books are presented under the form of lists of art-technological instructions providing information on various artistic disciplines, such as drawing, painting, fresco, illumination, gilding, etching, but also dyeing, metal and glass working, amongst others. A great number of recipes deals with the production, preparation and conservation of pigments, colourants, dyes, media –such as glues, varnishes, binding agents-, inks and so on. In parallel to the physical descriptions of both the raw materials and the final products, these instructions deliver information concerning optical characteristics, (in)compatibility with other substances and information regarding the ageing properties of materials. They also describe the various sorts of artistic support and their preparation as well as the ways to apply materials on it. In addition, a number of recipes are dedicated to the production, refining or colouring of materials such as textiles, glass, metals, horn, stones, etc.

Collections of artisanal recipes are considered to be key primary sources in the historical study of artistic practices and materials. Thanks to the various filters integrated the Colour ConText database can serve to identify the use of specific practices and materials and to delimit methods within a precise chronological and geographical framework. It also aims at evaluating the circulation of knowledge of materials and substances used by artists and artisans and shared with other communities (such as apothecaries or physicians) with an epistemic interest in pigments and colouring material. The database helps to assess how recipes were modified over time or by other external phenomena, through looking at factors such as frequency within the corpus, basic structure, and evolution. It is also possible to link the development of specific artistic procedures and technical traditions, and to correlate these with more widely diffused techniques.

Adrien Lucca
Microkosmos – Strange white light properties.
Adrien Lucca is an artist and a colour teacher at ENSAV La Cambre

Microkosmos is the title of a large-scale permanent installation for Het Huys, the new building of the Cultural Community Centre in Uccle (Brussels). Situated in a courtyard outdoors, it consists of a large wall-painting and of a light system that is turned on in the evenings.  Thanks to the development, by the artist, of spectrally-tuned warm-white LED light sources, the visual appearance of the wall painting and of the coloured objects placed in the courtyard, drastically change during the night, and the public experiences a form of artificial, light-induced colour blindness. While the colour of the light itself matches the colour of halogen light sources, and while white, grey and black objects appear normally, major hue-shift is produced on bright yellow, pink, blue-green and indigo objects. For example, industrial pilsner beer such as Stella, Maes or Jupiler appear pink like rosé sparkling wine.
The artist will present the multidisciplinary research and the industrial collaborations that have been necessary to produce this work.

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