Is black really the new black in Architecture?

21st-century design trends are changing how we think about the use of black in architecture. As architects search for ways to create standout appeal, without making designs too bright or busy, they’re more frequently turning to the darkest side of the color spectrum.

A black exterior is a striking choice for most any architectural style. Black is often seen as authoritative and bold, chic and even a bit haunting. Black never fails to make a bold statement. It can amplify modern architecture, sharpening lines and angles and breaking up large expanses. It is also being used to breathe new life into aged and dated exteriors, replacing bland and earth tone hues for a more timeless and stunning color choice.

Office building, France – Keim Concretal Pigmented Mineral Stain Color: 9008

Residence Acacia, Montreuil (Seine-Saint-Denis), France—Granital Exterior Mineral Silicate Paint Custom Black and Concretal W High Performance Finish Color: 9477

Locaux d’Archéologie d'Alsace et Centre de conservation et d’étude, à Sélestat– Keim Concretal Pigmented Mineral Stain Color: 9008

The John Lewis Store, Chelmsford – Keim Concretal Pigmented Mineral Stain Color: 9008

Concerns about Black Paint—Don’t Fear

Use of black color on exterior facades can strike fear in the hearts and minds of architects and designers alike. Will the surface get too hot in sunlight? What happens when the surface begins to fade and looks washed out? Does the use of black accentuate flaws and what gloss should I use?

Keim mineral silicate paints offer unique and unparalleled solutions to these very real concerns. The mineral surface of Keim finishes radiate light in a way that ordinary acrylic paints cannot match, thus reducing the thermal gain of a surface, even when painted absolute black. The unique mineral matrix refracts and scatters sunlight in a way that won’t heat the surface like other paint finishes.

Another major concern about using black paint is the fear of premature fading and required maintenance to keep black looking its best. Typical acrylic paints can fade soon after application, but Keim ends those concerns with pure mineral pigments and finishes that are guaranteed not to fade for 20 years. Many Keim paint projects across Europe have performed beautifully for over 140 years as proof of mineral paint’s ability to withstand even the harshest U.V. remaining unchanged.

And yes, the use of black can draw attention to surface defects and design flaws, especially in glossier paint sheens such as satin or semi-gloss. The beauty of Keim mineral paints and stains is their completely natural, mineral matte appearance. Sometimes described as “dead” flat, the unique finish displays no angular “sheen” even in severe “raking” light. From any angle, Keim mineral finishes are stunningly beautiful and velvety matte.

And nothing says “urban cool” more than the darkest grays and black

Without distractions from competing colors the eye is forced to focus on the design. If you want your design to be noticed, strip down to basic black for a minimalist and clean look and added “wow” factor.

Finally, black is not for the faint of heart and it is definitely not a “safe” color. It makes a strong visual statement and grabs the attention of most every passerby. But, used effectively, it can be stunningly chic, adding visual drama and depth to most any architectural style and it requires few accessories. It works well against natural backdrops of vivid foliage or snow-covered landscapes. It contrasts beautifully with other hues, textures and mixed materials.

And, black’s a-chromatic simplicity accentuates details and can set the perfect tone to your
next project.

Contact Keim to learn more about black mineral finishes for concrete, brick, masonry and stucco today.

PETZL Distribution Center, Crolles, France – Concretal Pigmented Mineral Stain Color: 9008

EMC2 Hotel, Chicago – Soldalit All-Surface Sol Silicate Paint Color: 9008