Case Studies: Use of NCS in Research
Le Corbusier's Colours
Le Corbusier continues to be an inspiration for architects and designers around the world, thanks to his unique ideas about scale, colour and form.
Le Corbusier - The Art of Architecture took place at The Barbican and was the first major survey of the internationally renowned architect in more than 20 years.
As part of the dynamic programme of events surrounding the exhibition Marilyn Sturgeon, Director of the NCS Colour Centre, gave a fascinating insight into his use of colour in architecture and painting in her talk 'Le Corbusier's Colour Keyboards' (pdf download)
Glass - Information and Representation in the Colour Generation ProcessWith no current standards in place as yet for measuring colour in glass, Ivar Jung and his team at The University of Kalmar in Sweden are working closely with the Glass Research Institute (Glafo) to investigate and redress this matter.
The aim of the project is to study the complex human activity system of how to generate a colour in glass artefacts. The colour generation process comprises two main problems: the chemical and technical processes that are used to produce a colour in glass, as well as the perception and representation of a colour in glass. The research group in Kalmar focuses mainly on the perception and representation of colour using 3 systems.
Physical: absorption of certain wavelengths of light (L*a*b*) system.
Visual: physiological response in the human eye and its perception in the mind of the viewer using NCS - The Natural Colour System.
Virtual: the digital image stored in a computer memory and displayed on the screen (RGB).
In the first pilot study currently being carried out in Kalmar the focus is to explore how the colour of glass artefacts can be represented in the different systems, and how they correlate to each other.
Using the NCS system glass plates of different colours are matched by a number of people to physical colour samples using the NCS Atlas, as well as via digital images on screen. The absorption spectra of the glass samples have previously been determined in a study by Glafo.
For further information please contact Ivar Jung or Paivi Jokela at The University of Kalmar.
This article first appeared in The Colourist Issue 3/09.
The Exercise to Determine the Colour of Field Artillery of the Napoleonic War.
| We were contacted by Author Carl Franklin who was researching the colour of field artillery during the Napoleonic era. "Several other books had been published suggesting that this was unpainted and left a natural wood colour, however, all my research suggested otherwise, and there was sufficient evidence to show that field artillery was painted a dull grey colour."
Using ingredients that would have been available during this era painted samples were created and sent to the NCS Colour Centre at Henley-on-Thames for analysis.
Using the NCS Colour Scan and NCS Album it was possible to measure the samples and to match the colour, thus enabling the following conclusions.
|"As far as can be determined, during the Napoleonic period all wood and ironwork of artillery equipment was painted to protect it and the brass guns were polished when circumstances warranted but were usually left dull on campaign. Analysis of the sample of the earlier paint using white lead was sent to the NCS Colour Centre and they provided a Natural Colour System reading of NCS S 6000-N."
What Colour is the Red House?
| By Karin Fridell Anter
Royal Institute of Technology
This thesis starts from an experience shared by many architects and others who have at some time chosen a façade colour: ' The house is not the colour I thought it would be!'
Perceived colour of painted façadesKarin asked 400 people to determine the colours on over 100 painted houses, first by observation and then by comparison with actual colour samples. These were the results of the study:
The façade always has a clearer and lighter colour than you see on the colour sample. You should therefore choose a colour sample which looks darker than the colour which you want to see on your house.
The colour on the façade often appears more chromatic than the colour which was seen on the colour sample. You should therefore choose a colour sample which looks 'dirtier' than the colour which you want to see on your house.
The colour on the façade often has another hue than seen on the colour sample. In most cases, this shift takes place from yellow towards blue. Green façades are often perceived to be bluish, even if the colour sample is a yellowish green. Pink colours often become bluish even if the colour sample was a yellow-pink, and neutral grey colours tend to give façades with a slight tinge of blue.
Contact: Karin Fridell Anter, Architect SAR/MSA, PhD Explicator AB, Noreens väg 71, SE- 752 63 Uppsala, SWEDEN
Tara Hanrahan: Sky colour chart and seasonal swatch booksAim: To challenge our perception of the colour of sky. It is not, (despite dictionary description) by definition, blue.
The chart and books are the conclusion of a year long study into the colour of the sky. A total of 384 colours were chronologically obtained from photographs taken of the sky at a single location. A total of four days was recorded (each within a different season) with photographs taken at intervals of 15 minutes. The book colours were selected using an NCS Colour Meter to measure the colour of the photographs and give them an NCS notation. An NCS colour sheet was then used for each of these notations to form the pages of the swatch books.
Tara Hanrahan MA RCA
Tel: 07939 226110
Go to NCS Online Training
NCS Publications: Nature's Colour Palette and Colour Scales of Traditional PigmentsThe Natural Colour System Triangle and Colour Circle can easily be used to provide graphic illustrations of the results of research, as in the examples below from the NCS publications Nature's Colour Palette and Colour Scales of Traditional Pigments.
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