Polychromie Architecturale

Far too few marketing campaigns for new ceramic tile ranges really hit the target. Many are simply too flowery and pretentious. Others follow the herd and are light on differentiation; while most fail to identify and address a specific audience.

But, every now and then, I come across a marketing idea that is well focused, coherent and relevant.

Such is the case with the new LCS collection from Gigacer based on an essay by French architectural giant Le Corbusier entitled “Polychromie Architecturale”.

Twelve of the 63 colours selected by Le Corbusier feature in the Italian manufacturer’s new LCS porcelain tile collection. Dating from the 1930s, Le Corbusier’s essay emphasized the importance of colour in architecture, and its visual and emotional impact on a building’s occupants.

Commissioned by a Swiss wallpaper company to create a sample book, the modernist architect compiled a list of 43 harmonious colours that he believed were the most suitable for architecture. Muted in palette, this first series of colours was eventually followed by 20 bolder hues, creating a versatile range of 63 colors.

Gigacer has paid due homage to the legendary architect, known for Modernist structures such as Villa Savoye in Poissy, France. Working closely with Les Couleurs Suisse, the Fondation Le Corbusier–certified company that holds exclusive international rights to the Le Corbusier colour system, Gigacer has achieved the exact colours Corbusier highlighted in his sample books.

LCS  by Gigacer at Cersaie 2016

Gigacer’s Le Corbusier collection has three components.

The first – LCS1 – comprises 12 of the 63 hues from Corbusier’s sample books delivered in gloss, 300 by 1,200mm ceramic tiles that are suitable for indoor and outdoor wall applications. The colours include rouge vermillion,  umber and ultramarine.

A second collection – LCS2
- adds six additional matt tiles that highlight Corbusier’s colours on a Beton Blanc background through bas relief–engraved stripes. Suitable for both wall and floor coverings, LCS2 tiles come in a 600 by 1,200mm format.

The final element is Beton Gris and Beton Blanc: matt unglazed porcelain tiles with subtle shadings influenced by the architect’s love of concrete. Ideal for wall and floor coverings for commercial and residential use, they are available in 1,200 by 2,500, 1,200 by 1,200, 600 by 1,200, 600 by 600 and 300 by 1,200mm modular formats.

The polychromie architecturale colour collection grew from experiences, insights and convictions Le Corbusier developed during his long, creative life.

It has three underlying three principles: Colour modifies space. Colour classifies objects. Colour acts physiologically upon us and impacts strongly upon our sensitivities.

During his career Le Corbusier created two colour collections based on these principles: the first in 1931, and the second in 1959.   Both comprise of a set of shades that are organized in such a way that an individual colour selection corresponding to the personality of the customer can be achieved very simply. Each consists of a set of claviers de couleurs (colour keyboards).

In his first palette Le Corbusier developed twelve sentiments with representative names such as space, sky, velvet, and sand. Each is a collection of 14 colours that can be mixed in accordance with the needs and designs of architects and customers. Almost 30 years later Le Corbusier created 20 new sentiments, in stronger and more dynamic base tones, for his 1959 collection.

Le Corbusier’s colour harmony logic is not just a tool for colour selection. It is a work of art in its own right.

In an era where ceramic tiles are starting to provide architects and interior designers with far more than just an alternative surface finish, Gigacer’s new LCS collection demands the specifier’s attention and is firmly based on a fully developed intellectual thesis that has already stood the test of time.


A post by Joe Simpson, Diary of a Tile Addict, November 2016.

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