The colour palettes of ceramic

Delving into the realm of ancient ceramics, with a history of colour that traverses ancient ceramic cultures from 3000 B.C. to 1500 A.D.


In a three-year research process, designer Roberto Sironi developed a palette of twelve colours for LAUFEN that is inspired by the colours of historical ceramics from all over the world. To create this palette, Sironi not only visited the ceramic collections of all major archaeological museums - he also studied and catalogued countless images of ceramic artefacts in an extensive research process. This allowed Sironi to trace the development of coloured ceramics for a period from 4000 BC to 1500 AD - from the first advanced civilizations on the Euphrates and Tigris to the Japanese pottery of the 15th century. Sironi's study shows the central importance of coloured pottery for the societies that produced it. COLOUR ARCHAEOLOGY is therefore also a tribute to five and a half thousand years of ceramic culture.

The blues of Ancient Egypt, the colour tones of the lands of Mesopotamian civilisations, the celadons of Imperial China, the wabi sabi colours of ancient Japan, and the brick red of Roman sealed earth are some of the colours identified in the project that has analysed more than 10.000 archaeological finds from the most important international museums, from the Larco Museum in Lima to the Rietberg Museum in Zurich, from the Acropolis Museum in Athens to the Metropolitan Museum, to name but a few.

The research, commissioned by LAUFEN and undertaken by Studio Roberto Sironi, expresses LAUFEN's vocation in the search for new expressive languages and multidisciplinary collaborations, and materialises in a palette composed of twelve colours, where the most refined and sought-after shades of the ancient world are reworked to create contemporary and timeless hues.

As with the Polychromie Architecturale, which Le Corbusier codified in 1931 to offer a colour palette to architects that is still perfectly relevant today, the collection of 12 colours that make up Colour Archaeology, inspired by artefacts from antiquity, the cultural, religious and social archetypes of civilisations in different eras, has the strength to retain its value and expressive power well into the future.

20121 MILANO
The exhibition welcomes visitors until the end of May.