Beyond Aesthetics: How Colour Transforms Design and Emotion

AXOR Stark V
AXOR Stark V


A Symphony of Emotion and Design

Colour has an extraordinary ability to stir our emotions, evoking immediate and authentic responses within us. It possesses the unique capability to touch our souls and transform our experiences. The impact of colour is well understood by AXOR, as the impressive colour spectrum across the ranges demonstrates. A recent whitepaper – written by Oliver Herwig and released by AXOR – aimed at designers, architects, interior decorators, and anyone with a creative flair, delves into the profound impact of colour on human perception and explores the intricate relationship between colour, emotion, and design.

The Language of Colour

From the soothing sight of the vast sea to the warmth radiated by the colour red, colours play a symphony on the keyboard of our perception. With the capacity to differentiate between approximately 20 million colours, our visual apparatus embraces a magnificent spectrum of shades, hues, brightness levels, and saturation gradations. We possess an astounding 132 million photoreceptors that enable us to perceive even the subtlest nuances, sometimes reacting to them instinctively.

Curiously, the ability to perceive colours evolved through a captivating co-evolutionary process between plants and animals. The concept of the fruit theory suggests that as seeds within fruits develop, the nutritional value and enticing colouration of the fruits increase, attracting primates who became adept at detecting ripe fruit amidst the foliage. While humans, as trichromats, are not at the forefront of colour vision, creatures like canaries and hummingbirds perceive ultraviolet sounds, and pentachromats, such as mantis shrimp, communicate through polarised light in the vibrant depths of the tropical seas. We are all part of this world’s most powerful means of communication—colour.

Colour as Art and Design

Throughout history, colour has been a driving force in art and design, inspiring awe-inspiring creations that span millennia. From the enigmatic prehistoric cave paintings to the tonalities of Le Corbusier, the perceptual experiments of Ólafur Elíasson, and Yayoi Kusama’s explosive dot-based colour explosions, artists have harnessed colour’s expressive potential to produce innovative and distinctive works of art. Moments such as the discovery of pigments and the invention of aniline dyes by Otto Unverdorben in 1826 have marked pivotal milestones in the evolution of our constructed environment.

Colour holds tremendous influence because it embodies a direct expression of our personalities. According to the insightful colour researcher Axel Buether, shaping our living environment in colourful ways makes us appear attractive, desirable, and vibrant. Just as bowerbirds meticulously create artful nests to preserve their species, we showcase our tastes and status through ever-changing fashion choices and the way we decorate our homes. Our decisions regarding colour, furnishings, and combinations serve to underscore our sense of self.

Furthermore, colour imparts a distinctive identity to our living spaces. Whether through conscious contrasts or the well-being spectrum embodied by brown hues, colour cascades that prioritise and emphasise certain elements within a mix of materials and forms, or simply by aligning interior preferences with emotional attachment, colours significantly shape our perception and experience of space. By understanding an individual’s interior preferences, we indirectly gain insight into their associated emotions. It is an art of finding the right combinations, for “colour is patient but not random.”

A Powerful Force

Colour is a powerful force that transcends language, acting as a universal medium of expression. It triggers profound emotional responses, influencing our perception, decisions, and overall well-being. As designers, architects, and interior decorators, understanding the intricacies of colour and its profound impact on human psychology is crucial in creating environments that evoke the desired emotions and resonate with the essence of the individuals who inhabit them. By harnessing the language of colour, we can create harmonious symphonies that enrich our lives.

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AXOR. Form follows Perfection.


AXOR conceives and manufactures iconic objects for luxurious bathrooms and kitchens. Developed in collaboration with world-renowned designers—Philippe Starck, Antonio Citterio, Jean-Marie Massaud and Barber Osgerby among them—AXOR products come in a variety of styles. All AXOR faucets, showers and accessories are produced to the highest standards of quality. With an expertise that extends far beyond the products themselves, AXOR inspires and enables architects, interior designers and the design-savvy public. Together with AXOR, they shape water-related spaces that reflect the unique personality of the user. Part of the Hansgrohe Group, AXOR is a forward-thinking brand dedicated to developing distinctive products, manufactured with excellence.