We experienced it, and it was good!
The COLOUR DAY 2018 symposium is over, but you can relive it and immerse yourself in it through the Book of Papers, the presentations, the posters and the many snapshots that we will soon publish on this site.
Thanks to all participants, members, sponsors and especially the speakers and poster presenters who all contributed to this wonderful, interesting, surprising, inspiring day.


09:00 Registration
09:45 Introduction by Benoît Hennaut (Director 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 The Color Biolab: a transdisciplinary research on color. María Boto-Ordóñez
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 at 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.

María Boto-Ordóñez
The Color Biolab: a transdisciplinary research on color
Dr Maria Boto is researcher at KASK / School of Arts of University College Ghent and responsible for LABORATORIUM, the experimental lab for art/design and biotechnology located in this school.

Due to the possibilities of transdisciplinary research in 2016, the School of Arts KASK (Ghent) set up an experimental biolab, LABORATORIUM, an open space for research and education. LABORATORIUM is a place to promote that people from different backgrounds work together by the use of accessible scientific tools and hybrid methodologies.

The main project developed in LABORATORIUM is The Color Biolab. The Color Biolab uses color as a universal language between art and science, involving several artistic and scientific disciplines. This research goes from applicable research as mycoremediation of color waste, sustainable coloring sources or bio-pigments to the experimental movies or the creation of a color names database, and its results have been presented in scientific and artistic contexts.

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.


Lucia Camenzind
Studying emotions and colours in art using Armand Henrion’s self-portrait paintings
Colours are important tools in visual art that may convey emotions. Studies demonstrated that brighter and more saturated colours were associated with positive emotions and darker and less saturated colours with negative emotions (Hemphill, 1996; Valdez & Mehrabian, 1994). To test whether colours might have an impact on which emotions are perceived, we used self-portraits of the Belgian painter Armand Henrion (1875-1958). He depicted himself as with a face painted in white, each time with a different facial expression and wearing a headscarf of different colours. We obtained 16 high-resolution scans of original Henrion’s self-portraits from the Klewan Collection, located at the Belvedere Museum in Vienna. In this first study, we investigated what emotions participants perceived and their intensity on each self-portrait. We also tested whether prolonged exposure to the self-portraits affected emotion choice or its perceived intensity.

Domicele Jonauskaite
Challenges in empirical testing of affective associations with colour
Institute of Psychology, University of Lausanne
While there is a considerable public interest in colour psychology (e.g., how to choose the “best” colour for one’s apartment walls or clothing), colour is a challenging domain to study empirically. Colour is a physical, a perceptual, and a linguistic stimulus. One can see a colour or think about a colour, and there are associated difficulties with testing each type of colour conceptualisation (e.g., monitor calibrations, precise colour presentation, nuances of linguistic metaphors, differences in colour naming). In addition, one can study various aspects of affective associations with colour – colour preferences, colour and emotion links when emotions are displayed on one’s face, body, embedded in music or emotional words, or directly experienced. Based on the available literature, we can conclude that the affective associations with colour vary, and might so depending on the different affect assessment and colour presentation techniques. Before having explored such potential systematic variations, we cannot directly compare results from one type of studies with the results from another type of studies. We argue that we first need to systematically test colour and affect relationships using the different methodologies, and to do so on a cross-cultural level. Such results provide baseline data with which theory-based results can be compared. Moreover, such baseline data allow us to test the interplay between colour and affect in real world applied settings. From our colour psychological perspective, we feel that this research is still in its infancy, in particular when we would like to know whether colour and affect interact such as in potential clinical interventions (“colour therapy”) or consumer advice settings. In this talk, I will present some of our projects in which we aim to help filling gaps and also provide some first baseline data.

Vinciane Lacroix
Chromatic-tour: a Colour Guide
« Chromatic-tour» is a new evolving website dedicated to colours. Designed as a
compendium of knowledge on colours, it is made of a knowledge map: nodes
represent colour entries spatially arranged on the proximity of concepts. The user is
invited to visit the field of colours as if he were a traveller exploring various aspects of
a country. Thanks to this metaphor common to backpackers and to travel lovers,
specific paths in the knowledge domain can be taken according to the visitor’s tastes
and actual knowledge. The poster illustrates the concept and suggests a collaborative work in order to propose different subjective guided tours over the colour domain.

Inez Michiels
Semantic Colour Space
The semantic colour space is presented as a design method to connect psychology, emotion and meaning to elements of visual language.

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