Emerging colours: new trends, demands and challenges in contemporary urban environments
The concept of colour in urban settings has traditionally been associated with architectural colour palettes or urban colour planning. However, in contrast to the generally whitish or grey architectural environment, the use of saturated colours presented in dramatic ways has emerged as a trend in urban settings since the beginning of the 21st century. This study examines this globally occurring ‘colourful’ phenomenon and argues that emerging colours have distinct features, varying from design intentions to design impacts. Focusing on projects in urban public space, this paper positions the phenomenon in the contemporary urban context and attempts to explain the conditions and driving forces behind it. By exploring the use of saturated colours in a context, we argue that colour has been engaged as an active design element to respond to the demands and challenges of contemporary urban environments. Furthermore, new demands can be observed that accelerate the spread of the use of emerging colours globally. We suggest that it is time for a critical review and evaluation of the phenomenon as part of understanding contemporary urban and landscape design culture. Such an understanding will allow us to have updated references for environmental colour design in contemporary urban contexts, and to use colour effectively.
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