colour geographies

Salins Camarque, France.
colour as an identity of regions, landscapes and cities.


client Atelier Luma
year 2016/2017/2018
Colour is an unmistakable symbol of identity and an effective cultural, economic and political presence in cities and landscapes. Using the richness of palettes of the regions Arles and Camargue, the project Colour Geographies harvests the region’s colours and explores their impact on the present and future perceptions of the territory.
Orche quarry.
This project recognises the important role that colour has in a landscape, as a creator and shaper of form and atmospheres. In this context, colour is not only an intrinsic part of the landscape, it also defines its surroundings in many ways. Drawing on the rich environment of the Arles and Camargue region, Colour Geographies encourages designers to reassess the tools at hand, and work with colour as a powerful maker of meaning – not only does colour give meaning to places, but places also give meaning to colour.
Relations between the colour of water and the colour of doors near the lakes.
Colour relations between buildings, furniture and clothing.
Corporate identity colours of Atelier Luma.
In collaboration with Henriëtte Waal (artistic/research director Atelier Luma) we studied the Colour Geographies of the Camargue region. In addition, we worked together with experts in colour such as the famous art historian and curator Bice Curiger, director of the Fondation Van Gogh in Arles, the historian in charge of the protected cityscape and monumental colours of Arles, a biologist as well as an expert in natural dyes and other colour material from the region. Half of the group of experts focused on mapping colour stories in the city and the surrounding wetlands of Camargue, related to migration, economy and the natural environment. The other half worked with colour material, techniques and skills from the region.
This resulted in a colourful exploration of the Camargue, which revealed a lot more valuable colour relations than initially expected. Although as in any modern place where synthetic colours are used often lacking a deeper research, Arles, the biggest city of the region, is also affected by ‘colour soup’. We defined colour soup as a term when we feel the lack of sensitivity for colour or find it stagnant, potentially loosing the soul or identity of a room, place or city in this case. We do not see colour as a final stroke, it should be considered with care and thoughtfulness. After all, colour reflects a place, colour represents an identity, and colour is a material.
Colour relations between old city center and more recent neighbourhoods.
Colour geography chart of Arles by Noud Sleumer.
Wallpaper swatches by Karolina Michali.
Through research and in collaboration with local colour experts, we dive deep into the study of local pigments and hues. Colour Geographies seeks to define new limits, uses and meanings for the local palette. The first round of collaborative reflection resulted in the successful incorporation of pigments into Atelier Luma’s bio-laminates.

bio laminates

Rice hull, ochre and cane.
Rice hull, ochre and seagrass.
Seagrass, pine pins, ochre, rice hull and cane.
Taking the aesthetic appearance of the materials into outmost consideration, Huis Veendam and Belén successfully incorporated pigments from Luberon’s ochre quarries to the laminates.
The local production of these new laminates with Camargue colours can generate new and alternative options for the local industry.

algae ♥ wool

Double sided print with phycocyanine, phycoéritrine, spirulina and dunaliella.
Printed yarn weave with spirulina.
Random dyed cone weave with spirulina.
Transparant tuft with dunaliella, phycocuanine, phycoéritrine and spirulina.
Transparant tuft with dunaliella, phycocuanine, phycoéritrine and spirulina.
A sub-theme of the project, Algae Loves Wool, is an investigation into the utilisation of specific algae for colouring wool. The algae living in the Camargue coincidentally turned out to be the same colour that came out of the colour geography research. Initial tests showed that silkscreening is a process that works much better than dyeing. Combining colouring possibilities with various textile techniques have been developed into a range of options with wool and algae from the Camargue region.
Atelier LUMA
design and development bio laminates:
design and development algae loves wool:
Axelle Giserot
Marie Vinter
Eline ten Busschen