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Chromophobia: Colour in Architecture

Join a panel of designers, architects, artists and scientists to explore the influence of colour on our physical environment.

What to expect

A rejection of colour has come to characterise the aesthetic of modern architecture. White and monochromatic tones are often seen as the antithesis of purity, honesty and authenticity. Colour by contrast tends to be regarded as imposing, distracting and excessive.

In his book ‘Chromophobia’ (fear of colour), the artist David Batchelor argues that colour has been the object of extreme prejudice in Western architecture. In his view, it is colour’s unpredictable nature and ability to contaminate and corrupt that we fear the most. And to overcome this fear, we try to control colour by limiting its use, or disregarding it altogether.

What are our other motivations behind chromophobia? What is the social and cultural significance of our fixation with white? And how has architecture’s relationship to colour affected our understanding of the world?

This talk brings together practitioners and academics across the field of art, design, architecture and science to discuss these questions in the round.

The event coincides with the Design Museum exhibition ‘Breathing Colour by Hella Jongerius’.

Image credit | Courtesy of Hella Jongerius

Image credit | Morning sample, courtesy of Hella Jongerius

Image credit | Noon, courtesy of Hella Jongerius

Image credit | Circel Bollen, courtesy of Hella Jongerius

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Booking information

Adult £10, student/ concession £7.50, Members £9

For a five day priority booking period Members have access to a limited number of tickets that are available at a 10% discount before tickets go on general release.

Related exhibition

Hella Jongerius: Breathing Colour

Drawing on years of research, designer Hella Jongerius presents an installation-based exhibition that take a deeper look at the way colour behaves, exploring shapes, materials, shadows and reflections.

Background image | Coloured vases series 3, oranges-®Gerrit_Schreurs