Creating a chromatic atmosphere: The colour design process of the new Koivusaari neighbourhood in Helsinki

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This study explores a colour design project of a new neighbourhood, Koivusaari, in Helsinki, Finland. The author has worked as the colour designer of this area and analysed the design process and the used colour design methods. The research questions are 1) How to design the colours of a new neighbourhood, and which methods are used at each planning stage? 2) How to design the atmosphere of a new neighbourhood with architectural colours? This paper describes the colour design process of Koivusaari and compares it with two previously documented urban-scale colour design projects. The Koivusaari project has a distinctive character, because the design target is to design colours for the design guidelines and not for directly to the existing architecture or the facades. The practice-led study has identified eight steps. The first steps of the colour design process are quite similar to the other compared projects. The analyses of the landscape, townscape and colourscape in different seasons and weather have given information about how to integrate a new residential area to the landscape. The chromatic atmosphere of the surrounding landscape and the experience-based envisioning of the new architecture were the basis for the design guidelines and new identity of the neighbourhood.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-14
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the International Colour Association
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • colour
  • colour design
  • architecture
  • atmosphere
  • design guidelines
  • urban design
  • environmental colour design
  • colour research

Field of art

  • Architecture


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