Colours on zinc
After the passing of a century, colour is reoccupying the central position it previously held in architecture. Considered impure, colour had been banished and replaced by neutral tones, combined with the powerful “International Style” movement. Modern architecture could only be white, even if in the post-war period, enthusiasm for raw concrete turned white urban landscapes grey.
This rejection, which originated in a refusal of ornaments, remained partial. Banished from facades, colour invaded interiors. The meaning of colours varied according to cultures and periods. Their use in architecture often served to strengthen the presence of a building, heighten its details, convey messages, create identity or provide implicit sensory support.
Contemporary architecture benefits from technological evolutions to explore new forms of polychromy: polychromy through transparency, for example via the projection of colours applied to interior volumes that discreetly influence facades by using gradients created by juxtaposing small coloured elements, etc. Enriched with a new palette of colour, zinc’s versatility contributes to this revival of colour.
Grey is not the only horizon for zinc. Over the last ten years, six new colours were developed. Contrary to saturated, gaudy colours, this palette is in harmony with the nature of the material and lets its natural fibre shine through.
The variety of shades is expertly defined to blend into a coloured environment, or even to create its own polychromy.
Black is a colour
Contemporary painting has promoted black to the status of colour. In architecture, black is today the most contemporary of all colours. Erasing shadows, it launches a real challenge for architects, depriving them of one of their traditional means of expression, that of relief and volume, which are now less common.
But even though it is a dark garment, charcoal coloured zinc remains a metal of character, with its reflections and its luminosity, light years away from industrial lacquered sheet metal. Designers can benefit from this contrast between dark and light, and can create the architectural equivalent of the luminous black in the paintings of Pierre Soulages, a native of Rodez , where ANTHRA-ZINC is produced…
The colours of time
One or several colours? Fine art academics have demonstrated that a colour is only valid in relation to other colours. But in architecture, even before the immediate environment, it is the climate that acts on colour - the contrast with the sky, changes in light that saturate or attenuate colours – and temporarily change the surface of the zinc from mat to satin or even glossy.
From mimicry to contrast
The VMZINC range of preweathered shades makes it possible both to blend and contrast. With hints of green or brown, these shades blend perfectly into a natural environment, facilitating the insertion of a building into rural and peri-urban surroundings, or within a protected environment close to a historic monument.
And on the contrary, red or black can make a building stand out like a signal in an urban environment.
But zinc’s main strength is its capacity to blend with or even highlight other materials, to heighten their minerality (stone, plaster), their natural aspect (wood, plants) or even their industrial dimension (glass, steel).
Colour and texture
Colour is also related to the grain of the material, the shadow effects and main lines of the visual structure of a building’s skin. Seen from afar, the original subtle colours of the zinc are what stand out.
From a medium distance, we begin to distinguish the rhythm of the protruding or hollow joints that are parallel to the slope or in stone beds. These joints have their own value, dark like the lines in a Mondrian painting or coloured to influence the grey panels of QUARTZ-ZINC.
Close up, it’s the texture that dominates. The light reflects differently off the facets, perforations and undulations. A dark monumental mass seen from afar becomes light when we get close to it. A rigid monolith starts vibrating because its zinc skin reveals a multitude of lines and joints that are only visible up close.
VMZINC encourages this kinetic approach to architecture. It shows users its discreet changes and contributes to the de-banalisation of urban landscapes.
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