Oct 20th, 2010 | | Institutions | Recent projects | No Comments

Royal Festival Hall, Southbank, London

Patrick Baty carried out an analysis of the paint in the Royal Festival Hall

Far from being a brilliant white, paint analysis established that the surfaces in the foyer were painted in a very sophisticated manner in 1951. A deep red, a pale dull green and a dark brown were originally employed.  At first sight the selection of colour might seem somewhat random, but there appears to have been a rationale behind it.  I showed how the original scheme had been influenced by the writings of Amédée Ozenfant, a one-time collaborator of the Swiss architect, Le Corbusier.

Patrick Baty was surprised to discover the juxtaposition of complementary colours in the 1951 scheme

The Foyer appears to have been decorated on nine occasions.  For at least the first four redecorations there seems to have been a conscious decision to maintain the original colour scheme in most areas of the building.  However, with the obliteration of the early colours and the introduction of a universal green, the original concept had been lost.

The background to the project can be seen here.

Royal Festival Hall - Foyer Walls

Cross section of paint from Foyer walls


A British Pathé film clip of King George VI opening the Festival of Britain in 1951

A further Public Information film can be seen HERE

Royal Festival Hall

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