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Koolhaas’ OMA teams with chemical company to study link between color and economy

The firms hope the research partnership will make a significant contribution to creating more ‘human’ urban environments.

June 11, 2014 |
AkzoNobel's Human Cities initiative commits to improving, energizing and regener

By the year 2050, 70 percent of the world’s population will live in cities. In anticipation of this, Amsterdam-based AkzoNobel, a chemical company that specializes in decorative paint and coatings, recently announced its Human Cities initiative as a way to highlight their commitment in “improving, energizing and regenerating urban communities across the world.”

One project part of the initiative is a partnership with leading architecture firm OMA, founded by Rem Koolhaas, to research the link between color and economic development of a city. The announcement was made at the Venice Architecture Biennale.

“We believe that our new research partnership with OMA will make a significant contribution to creating more ‘human’ urban environments for the world’s citizens,” says AkzoNobel CEO Ton Büchner. “We’re delighted to be partnering with Rem Koolhaas and OMA on this study.”

Archdaily reports that this is not the first time research has been done on the effects of color in economics. Back in 2001, research done in Brazilian favelas by Brazilian firm Jorge Mario Jáuregui Architects and published by Harvard University Press found that “Colors had been absent due to poverty, people work on the inside, but cannot afford to work on the outside. And when a new, planned building rises in the slum – be it a public toilet or a sewing co-operative – it immediately becomes a monument. It was conceived by an architect, it indicates things are changing: People understand they now have the right to what was only available in the so-called ‘formal city.’”

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