Psychology of colours

„Colours influence our lives and our current mood,” designer Verner Panton was convinced. Like his compatriot Gunnar Aagaard Andersen, who had previously experimented with color, material texture, and shape, Panton knew, colours could create a serene as well as a depressing atmosphere. For many people, colour is even more important than form when they look at something or experience something. “It would be ideal if you could change your room depending on your mood, the time of the day and the season,” stated Panton.

“Bright colours have always fascinated me”

Like no other designer at that time, the two Danes knew the effect of colours on human psyche. Today, the knowledge of the effects of colours has been extensively researched. Targeted colours are used in the business field. Support the non-verbal communication with the customer and transport the desired statements. Already during her education, Aagaard Andersen and much later also Panton dealt with the topic colour psychology. Panton never let go of this fascination until his death. The colours of the rainbow had particularly impressed him. Panton: “That’s the way I am: bright colours have always fascinated me. But they have to be pure. “These” pure “colours provide the greatest vitality and energy, each with a unique vibrational frequency. Panton would like to combine individual notes with each other, if possible in their natural sequence. His own home, the Dane dived room by room in yellow, green, blue or red. Especially in projects in the 1960s and 1970s Panton used colours excessively. For example, at the retrospective he prepared in Kolding, Denmark, when he died unexpectedly.

Warmth and security

Colours can provide warmth and energy. Rooms in orange tones, pinks and reds, for example, are automatically perceived to be warmer and more cosy. In the context of the seven chakras, reds form the lowest level, the so-called root chakra. The colour stands for the basic trust. In the sociocultural context, red is perceived as a signal colour. At the same time reds cause a reduction of the space. Panton, for example, deliberately used these so-called “uterine colours” to create hollows full of security. Thus, his sculptural seating, held in just these colours, creates a room-in-room feeling for the sitter. This comfort is sometimes enhanced by backrests that reach beyond the head, such as the Amoebe Highback and, to a special degree, the Living Tower, both from vitra.

Advertising platform Visiona

Thus, the Panton era with all its colour flashes reached a spectacular climax in the Visiona exhibitions, with which Bayer AG caused a sensation in the late sixties and early seventies. Originally, the chemical giant had chartered the Rhine ship “Loreley” only to make an advertisement for his bi-elastic synthetic fiber Dralon, right next to Cologne Furniture Fair with a home textile exhibition. But after the Dane Verner Panton (1926-1998) was commissioned with the exhibition arrangement for the year 1968, the perspective changed in one fell swoop. From then on, every year another designer was hired to design futuristic home theaters. They made the title, Visiona all honor.

Cold colours create breadth

The opposite of the already described effect the so-called “cold colours”. The teal nuances create a cool atmosphere and space. Thus, rooms painted in cool tones appear visually larger. Blue symbolizes trust and is therefore often used in the financial world. But even social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are taking advantage of the power of blue tones. Green, on the other hand, stands for nature, health and finally serenity and relaxation. Blue and green tones are available in a variety of colour gradations. They can be combined very well in one room. Emerald Green, for example, was used by Panton in a corridor of the Visiona 2 exhibition. Another time he dresses an area in the Spiegel editorial office in green and combined opulent seashell chandeliers from the FUN lighting series.

Individual differences

How colours are perceived ultimately depends not only on the colour itself, but also on the culture. Asians, for example, perceive colours differently than Europeans. The habitat also plays an important role and shows clear differences between the individual cultures. But no matter where someone lives, how a colour is perceived, and what effect it emanates, one thing certainly holds true, and here we would like to conclude with a Panton quote: „You sit more comfortably on a chair whose colour you like.“

Text by Bianca KILLMANN
The text is protected by copyright.

Colour. Colour perception. Feelings.

Red

Everyone knows that red accelerates the pulse,“ said colour specialist Verner Panton once. As their waves swing the slowest, red is actually the densest and heaviest of all colours. On the one hand we associate love and passion with red, on the other hand danger. Whether the tone is perceived as positive or negative depends on each individual’s intensity and individual experience. In any case, red increases the body temperature and warms the bloodstream. Red in the living room encourages conversations. Even though he was mostly dressed in blue – Panton’s favorite colour was red.

Orange

Orange stands for creativity and vitality – orange can even help to release inhibitions and repressed feelings. At the same time, the colour stands for enjoyment and pleasure and, as such, promotes humor. So Verner Panton dressed the canteen in the Spiegel editorial office completely in orange-red.

Green

The colour, which is closely associated with nature, was used only once in its purity, as emerald green by the Dane Verner Panton: in a connecting corridor of the Visiona 2. Here the corridor between two rooms, lined with green bubble-like wall and ceiling panels like a neutralization lock. Green is also synonymous for relaxation, peace and balance. Kullavej, the holiday home of the Panton’s was initially grass green, but later was redesigned in light blue.

Blue

Blue in the workplace promotes concentration which serves as mental inspiration. The sea is blue and suggests expanse. Verner Panton liked to combine cold colours like blue with something warm, whether through a different colour or through light. And one more thing to note: Verner Panton: “In old age you turn to the darker and colder colours.“

Purple

Purple / violet stimulates inner contemplation and stands for intuition and clairvoyance. In fact, purple or violet support insight and perception, so it has an uplifting effect. This ennobles the tone to be the “colour of kings”. Verner Panton liked to use the colour in luminaires such as the Ring Lamp, Spiral Multicolour or Illumesa light table.

Yellow

The sun is yellow, egg yolks are yellow and not to mention honey. Yellow is suitable for the sunny areas, which should cheer up, such as window area or bedroom. But yellow can also be negative. Too much stands for envy and can strengthen egoism. Therefore, it is recommended to use yellow discreetly.

Black

Black swallows the light, so donates no energy, but absorbs it. Just as black clothing does not let any light on the skin, it also has a negative effect on interior design. Combined with white and subtly used, black can set interesting accents. Verner Panton took advantage of this effect when designing his fabrics. Best examples: Geometri, VP I, VP III, VP VI and VP 7 or Sinfonia white on black.

White

“I do not like white“, writes Verner Panton in his book Lidt om Farver / Notes on Colour. White is not a colour, but rather the absence of colour. It is associated with innocence and purity. The effect of the colour turns into the opposite, it is used too much. Purely white-designed rooms seem – despite different materials and furniture – almostt lifeless and sterile. And Panton added: “The world would be a nicer place without white. White colour should be taxed.”