• Industrial & Commercial Architecture

Industrial & commercial architecture

In industrial and commercial architecture, colour must play its habitual aesthetic role: minimising the visual impact on the landscape, integrating the construction in its natural environment or surrounding buildings, providing graphic designs and signage on the facades and interior spaces, enhancing the industrial brand image, organising circulations and volumes, offering pleasant reception facilities, which breathe and are easy to use. But far beyond this direct functional role, colour also has another threefold role to play: inform, guide and even prevent thanks to a colour code which corresponds to the type of messages to be transmitted: distribution and zones, space layout, visual indications of precise locations, prioritisation of information, increasing awareness of dangers, accident prevention, definition of the various flows and circulations (hot, cold, clean water, industrial discharges and gas). Colour takes on a new informative and descriptive dimension, which is not only codified and standardised but also rational and security-conscious.

1. Qwartz shopping centre, La Bongarde

Centre commercial Qwartz à la Bongarde, Villeneuve-la-Garenne

The new Qwartz shopping centre was built in Villeneuve-la-Garenne in 2014. A3DC studied the colour in conjunction with the architects’ work. Architecturally, the DGLa firm created three facade styles as if in response to the three types of environment around the site: undulating curves opposite the Seine, the planting of Virginia creeper towards the green axis and specific work on the main axis to avoid a mass effect. The facades are presented in the form of volumetric segments providing a typically urban scale appearance, which is emphasised by the colour scheme of each volume. As the project was designed within the framework of a high environmental quality approach with in particular the harvesting of rainwater, the making of maximum use of the natural light and the creation of green terraces, the range of vegetal greens and watery greyish blues best capture this naturally ecological stance; between the colour of the water in the Seine, the shades of the hazy skies and the tones of a new tree-lined boulevard along the river.

2. L’Oréal Labs, The Hair Clinic

L’Oréal Labs, The Hair Clinic

The new L’Oréal Global Hair Applied Research and Development Centre in Saint-Ouen reveals a major component of the wealth and complexity of the company. Three unifying trades are housed here – colour, hygiene and shape – together with their research facility and assessment room. The place, where nearly 250 people test the new products developed, is open to the public. This HEQ place, which is a window on the city, has become the showcase of the company and its work. By clearly asserting a strong functionality, the centre has managed to recreate the key values of the group (beauty, quality and performance). To meet the brand’s high standards, the Serau firm and A3DC opted for an ethereal colouring of the interior spaces, using the diffraction of the natural light, the non-permanent nature of sunlight and the iridescence of the colour spectrum.

3. UNIFA - French National Union of Furniture Industry

UNIFA - French National Union of Furniture Industry

L’UNIFA, Union Nationale des Industries Françaises de l’Ameublement, a confié à Fresh Architectures le soin de transformer un immeuble de 6 étages du patrimoine parisien historique en un showroom moderne, véritable vitrine du savoir-faire et de la technologie de ses affiliés. Le parti-pris est de restructurer la façade en même temps que de redonner au bâtiment prestige et modernité. Tout en respectant la sobre palette caractéristique de l’Art Déco qui valorise la couleur des matériaux, A3DC booste la perception, les contrastes et la force de la façade par un jeu graphique de neutres chauds et de neutres froids saturés à la limite du gris graphite, à l’aspect aussi industriel que moderniste. La façade Art Déco est réhabilité, modernisée, tout en obtenant l’aval de l’Architecte des Bâtiments de France pour une coloration aussi puissante en plein Paris… Le travail de la couleur se poursuit en intérieur, avec la coloration des espaces de travail et d'accueil.

4. La Ciotat shipyards

La Ciotat shipyards

This is a genuine textbook case. Bearing in mind the specific geographic location of La Ciotat in a widely acknowledged tourist zone within a site with a huge heritage value and Provencal architecture, how does one go about reconciling the development of the shipyards with the requirements of the Site Protection Commission which is committed to protecting a unique Mediterranean site? Did we have to paint the port infrastructures in navy blue so that they merged into the sea on the horizon when seen from the town or in the town’s mineral tones so that they disappear when seen from the coastline? After having carried out an impact assessment, A3DC suggested using a range of colours which were similar to those used in the architecture of the old part of the town for the colours of the industrial site: light stone shades and coatings which allowed the shipyards’ cranes to fit easily into the sunny identity of the old districts of the port.

5. Parc des Princes

Parc des Princes

The work here involved designing the colour scheme of the entrances and accesses to the most famous stadium in Paris, Porte de Saint-Cloud, with the creation of its boutique: a mixture of institutional and architectural colours. Large bands in a variety of the traditional warm blues of the two major teams, which play at the Parc, were used on the walls - from clear lavender to ultramarine – creating a mixture of the identifying colours of Paris Saint-Germaine and the Stade Français. The range of blues accompanies the supporters from the entrance to the stadium to the noisy and lively seats of Division I and Top 14 games thanks to an overall distribution and layout colour plan. For the Parc des Princes, which is a now a heritage building dating back to 1972, Roger Taillibert’s original design was modernised and updated during a recent colour and renovation makeover. Indeed the city of Paris and the owners of the Parc want to constantly renew this top-quality quintessential sports infrastructure.

6. General Electric-BorgWarner

General Electric-BorgWarner

This pleasant project involved renovating an old 19th-century quaint industrial building and its Eiffel-style metal frame and industrial bricks in Villers-Saint-Sépulcre which nevertheless produces the most sophisticated components for the car industry. The objective of the renovation of the GE technological centre was to restore its modern radiance. Here again, colour plays with the duality of seduction and technical expertise: a true restoration of the façade which was essential for the brand image and its promotion, an improvement of working conditions and its integration into the site. The colour of the site was thus chosen to limit the number of references, ensure sustainable maintenance and create clear indications of zones and flows: storage, production, polymerisation laboratories, component test lines, development of applications and products and leading-edge moulding workshops. Colour used as a means of humanising…

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