1. The legacy of historic colour
To rediscover the original, ‘historic’ colour of a building, of a district or of a town is dreamt of and sought after by many. The need for historical reassurance and proof taking us back to our origins has become increasingly popular, the nostalgia of a golden age and our quest for authenticity. But do you reintroduce colour into a town when it has long since disappeared? How is it possible to find the original colours as they once were ? To do this, the first question is: as it was before, but when?! What period of reference ? How far back can one go? L’Atelier 3D couleur has developed a typological think tank concerning architecture, favouring the colour palettes according to the date of the construction.
2. The historic colours of the town Saint-Germain-en-Laye : conservation area
In 1982 Saint-Germain-en-Laye initiated a campaign to restore the facades in the conservation area of its ancient Royal town and to return them to their original, historic colours. L’Atelier 3D kept as closely as possible to the refined polychromy of the XVII and XVIII centuries that were revealed by in situ sampling : gentle warm and cool contrasts, harmonies of subtle greys, yellow-ochre rendering and blue-tinged greys of the woodwork of the period. The patina acquired with the passage of time also played a role in dictating the restrained colour scheme used in the classic architecture surrounding the castle, by using mineral based paints, natural pigments and ochres, and by contrasting them with the calmness, narrowness and the apparent darkness of the streets of the period, as shown in the classic urban plan. A stroll around Saint-Germain-en-Laye today will immediately convince you of the merits of the initiatives taken.
3. The historic colours of the town Nîmes : the old quarters
The perfect coherence of the urban landscape which can be seen today within the ancient fortifications of the town constitutes one of the most remarkable examples of elegance and high quality to be found in France. The old town of Nîmes is a veritable conservatory of what architecture has done best throughout the centuries. Since the end of the 1980s under the initiative of Jean Bousquet the town of Nîmes has been restoring its ancient quarters to their former outward appearance with its perfect mix of gentle colours bringing about an authentic renewal of its heritage. In the long term Jean Bousquet’s project has fulfilled its mission in restoring the face of the old town to its warm southern self that it had tended, over the years, to lose touch with.
4. The historic colours of the ancient town centre of Joigny : conservation area
The river Yonne flows through the town of Joigny adding charm to its quayside and terraced houses. Joigny is privileged in possessing a dense and perfectly contained urban centre rich in historic buildings. The 280 listed half-timbered buildings, houses and outbuildings date back, in most cases, to the 16th century and the sheer density of the town’s heritage makes it the most important in Burgundy. These houses belong to the period of reconstruction and restoration work of the town centre carried out following the great fire of July 1530 that devastated the old fortified village.
The ancient district is exemplified by remarkable half-timbered houses situated around the château of Gondi and the church of Saint-Thibault and surrounded by an ancient wall that clearly limits the area concerned by the development project.
5. The historic colours of the town Châlons-en-Champagne : place de la Mairie
Ancient Place of Arms, then Royal Place and finally Maréchal Foch Place, the Place de la Mairie is the ancient place of honour that was designed to a classic layout. Erected on the site of a Renaissance building between 1772 and 1776 by the architect Nicolas Durand, the project was financed by the King, which is to emphasise the importance of the care taken during its construction. Today, both the facades and roofs are listed features and registered in the Inventory of Historic Buildings. The geometric, almost military plan of the square, is ornamented by four stone lions, which had already delighted Victor Hugo when he was a visitor to the town in 1838. In1995 L’Atelier 3D couleur was given the assignment to uncover the original colours of this outstanding ensemble of classic urbanism, and to enhance the sense of rhythm of the facades' outward appearance as designed by Durand in 1768 with a view to restoring the cohesion of a building that had been severely mistreated.
Likewise in another nearby square in the town a covered market of Eiffel style architecture was renovated and its 19th century smart and elegant colours were restored.
6. The historic colours of the town of Limoges : patrimonial palettes
In 2007, the redefinition of the Z.P.P.A.U.P. (Zone for the Protection of Architectural, Urban, and Landscape Heritage) of Limoges made it easier to follow the town’s historic evolution. Henceforward the quality of the urban spaces and areas will be thought through as a whole including the colour palettes and choice of materials determined by type, period and architectural style , as well as overall consideration of the quality of the urban areas. L’Atelier 3D couleur has contributed its expertise and know-how to the creation of colour palettes according to architectural typology.
The major construction periods and styles of the town : the half-timbered buildings in fashion from the XVI to the XVIII century, neo-classical architecture with it's wooden structures, the rural architecture of the Limoges region, the Belle Epoque architecture built of granite or limestone. Art Déco architecture, 1930 pavillons in blue granite, the post war modernism following the Second World War, the architecture of the Fifties and beyond and the present contemporary trends forming the future face of the town.