Van Gogh and the chimney

Senza autore Van Gogh and the chimney Effekte, n°2 2002

96/03.20 Effekte -EN

Nature - a mirror of color, light and shadows. A never - ending interplay of tones and moods. The metropolis - a man-made counterpoint of steel and concrete. Skyscrapers side by side. No space for softness, the humane. The Milan professor Jorrit Tornquist, one of today's most important artists and architects, uses color as a creative language in order to either activate or soothe people in urban environments. Since the 1960s, Tornquist has involved himself with the importance of color and light in the design of building facades. He has used pigments developed by Merck for several of his projects. For architectural purposes, the Iriodin® pearl luster pigments are used predominately in powder varnishes. Among other things, powder varnishes distinguish themselves from conventional varnishes by their high thermal stability. While earlier luster effects were mainly achieved through the use of anodized aluminum, today they are also available as powder varnishes completely free of solvents. "Effect pigments really find their correct use there where the design is hard," says Tornquist. The inspiration for the Graz native is nature: "light and shadow, all the shimmering effects, all the things I admire in the works by Vincent Van Gogh." For the recognized color theorist, who also wrote the book "Colore e Luce - Teoria e pratica" (Color and Light - Theory and Practice), the Dutch impressionist is and remains the absolute master in terms of translating the beauty and variety of nature into art and architecture. "Light energy reacts with matter, changes it and allows us to recognize its laws," Tornquist explained. He continued, "color informs us about the characteristic of matter. Color is therefore information, communication. Every specific color coat promises a specific characteristic - true or not. Just the word 'red' is a promise. The sensation occurs, however, in experience. The female baboon lures with her glowing red backside, and at the same time curbs the aggression of the male baboon. One and the same color can promise something completely different, depending on the surface. transparency, texture and the object it is connected to. From glowing red - either polished or matte, to the rawness of sandpaper, the messages are different. Or let's take the black and yellow of a wasp. With such signals the body is faster than the brain. We react before we even know what's going on. If we first had to think about it, we'd get stung. We can observe with colors: they attract and woo; they bluff, lie, cheat and sell; they threaten, warn, but also conceal. Color is a system which regulates the coexistence of the most distinct forms of life."

Light and color are radiation

By the intentional implementation of light and color, Tornquist uses in his building projects those contextual relationships which are established through the use of color and which lead to positive or negative reactions even before one is aware of them. For the artist and architect, light and color are always a radiation that not only touches the surface of our bodies, but also penetrates deeper into us and influences our hormone and enzyme production as well as the entire endocrine system. Based on this fundamental knowledge about perception, matter and aesthetics, Tornquist, in his "Color a Surface" studio located near Milan, Italy, is planning the color design of housing and industrial buildings for entire industrial areas and communities. He and his employees are looking not only at the "coloring" of the surfaces, but also at the correct use of various facade elements and other available materials, Tornquist emphasized. He and his team offer professional coloring consulting to industry and educational facilities, design the color of products and packaging, plan the color of corporate images and work on color sample collections, taking into consideration current trends and manufacturers' process.

Water tower as an emblem

Since the 1960s, Tornquist has re-designed and covered existing buildings, as well as developed and realized new projects. "Adding stories to a historical building can easily destroy the original proportions. In this case, by reducing contrast to about 50 %, the building brightens towards its top and appears lighted - a solution for narrow streets," explained Tornquist. He also solved the new design of water towers in different places in Italy with a color concept. "The water towers spread around everywhere could also have an aesthetic value, could dissolve and turn into an emblem." How does that look in real life? Tornquist painted the towers with a bluish pigment that fans upwards, merging with the sky. Even an incineration plant in Milan Silla that is gently clothed in Iriodin® pearl luster harmoniously integrates with its surrounding. Tornquist raves “the chimney reflects the color of the sky throughout the day and therefore fits perfectly into nature."

Integration of natural light

When asked which trends will be current in architecture in the next few years, Tornquist answers "concrete will become an important surface material, and in the future one will try more and more to simulate materiaIs. The integration of natural light will have a special meaning. That means: departing from monochrome surfaces and turning to glass and other surface materials, which, thanks to pigment-added varnishes continuously adapt to constantly-changing light conditions.

For Tornquist, another important contemporary architect has put these thoughts into action for many years - the Italian Renzo Piano. Among other projects, he built the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Commerzbank headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany. He is now contracted with the planning of the London bridge tower for the British capital. Renzo knows that this building, despite its monumental height, won't be overbearing in any way, since from a distance one will hardly be able to determine "where the tower stops and the sky begins." Here the reason too is natural Iriodin pearl luster. Vincent van Gogh also would have given a glowing endorsement.