Color Geographies

Arles and its environs are rich in colors, and in raw materials that contain pigments and dyes. The Colors Geographies project is dedicated to identifying, sampling, and inventorying the palette of local colors, and then to testing ways to implement it in projects connected to the bioregion.

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Exploring the local color palette and responsible coloring techniques to develop harmonious applications in the bioregion.

The Color Geographies project studies landscapes as well as the colors historically used in architecture, crafts, and art in the region of Arles, the Camargue, the Crau plains, and the Alpilles mountains. Through research into local pigments and dyes, the project ensures that the colors of Atelier LUMA’s productions are in harmony with the environment in and for which they were conceived.

A true color laboratory, the project works with pigments and dyes from local plants, algae, fungi, and minerals, extracted using mechanical or chemical processes. In conjunction with other projects, the team formulates paints, dyes, inks, varnishes, coatings, and enamels. In this way, the Color Geographies project makes the colors that are intrinsically related to the physical, geological, and climate characteristics of the region both visible and accessible.

For example, the Textile Lab and the Invasive Plants Club use vegetable dyes extracted from Mediterranean dye plants and local invasive species for their research.

In Lost Ground, designers explore using mineral pigments to color raw clay, coatings, and glazed ceramics.

Local Bioplastics colors certain bioplastics with pigments extracted from the algae and fungi cultivated in the Micro Cultures lab. In other projects, these pigments are also used to color biocomposites, coatings, dyes, and printing inks for textile and paper.

In all of these implementations, Atelier LUMA favors processes that avoid environmental impact by limiting chemicals and energy-intensive techniques. In this way, the Color Geographies project is developing alternatives to artificial and polluting colorants, which can be used in artisanal and industrial production.

Project team

  • Atelier LUMA

    Arles, France

  • Buro Belèn

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands


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