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DULUX TRADE PAINT Uses Colour To Create The Perfect Balance Between Old And New At The University Of Northampton 

The University of Northampton has recently completed an £11 million redevelopment project. As part of this, it refurbished its portfolio of prestigious buildings, including its recently acquired Grade II-listed Newton Building on St George's Avenue.

The University gave the redevelopers a testing brief, requiring a sense of modernity to be brought to the traditional setting, while ensuring the refurbishment was sympathetic to the building’s original decorative features. Dulux Trade Colour Consultant, Lisa Pilley, rose to the challenge by using colour to seamlessly integrate the original features of the building with a contemporary design, carefully avoiding fragmentation of the building’s appearance.

Lisa was informed that, once refurbished, the building would serve as a technology and research centre, housing the University's School of Science and Technology. To ensure the space inspired both learning and retained its traditional character, Lisa created an interiors scheme with a semi-traditional colour palette, adding touches of modernity in the flooring, fixtures and fittings.

Lisa comments: “For this project the flow of colour was important to ensure links from traditional to contemporary were created. I devised bespoke schemes for the three main areas of the building, making sure the designs integrated with each other thanks to clever colour proportion and connection.”

For the main reception, and at points throughout the building, paints from the Dulux Trade Heritage range were used to subliminally link each area. With colours inspired by traditional pigments and paint techniques from key eras in British history, the Dulux Trade Heritage range offers superb coverage and a lasting professional finish for any period project.

The authentic shades of the Dulux Trade Heritage colours are the result of in-depth research by the colour experts at Dulux Trade and every colour has a detailed provenance. From delicate blues made from natural pigments, to rich golds derived from Italian marble, each adds definition and character to a design scheme. The muted, traditional tones of the Heritage colours used at Northampton University were contrasted with contemporary furniture to bring a modern element to the setting.

For the main areas that are used by students - the learning zones and classrooms - bolder elements of colour, such as Dulux Trade Maroon, were added to the design to bring a younger, more dynamic feel. The refectory, too, was built into the overall design scheme by the Dulux Trade colour consultant. By using the same colour tones that were incorporated into the learning spaces, but strengthening them slightly to give a different ambiance, a relaxing and warm space where students could sit, eat and unwind was created.

The third area, intended for post-graduate use, was designed to let the building’s impressive original features take centre stage. The roof beams and chimneys were accented with Dulux Trade Quartz Grey, a strong, yet muted colour, to ensure they were a key focal point. While the main Heritage colours of the reception area were brought through to this space, splashes of brighter colour were also added to create a sense of fun.

Lisa concludes: “People can be reluctant to use colour in heritage projects, but the work at Northampton University is testament to the fact that colour can actually be a very powerful tool in subtly integrating traditional elements of a building with more modern touches.”

Funding in connection with the Newton Building scheme has come from the Higher Education Funding Council, Northamptonshire Enterprise Ltd, the East Midlands Development Agency, and the European Regional Development Fund. The development also has the backing of the West Northamptonshire Development Corporation.


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