Copenhagen blue

native values R:0 G:77 B:117
Adobe RGB R:43 G:77 B:116



Exploring the city through different seasons and in different lights, one of the dominant colours is the deep deep blue of the water of the harbour and the even darker still water in the lakes and in the sections of the city defences where they survive. 

The water picks up blue from the sky and carries flashes of colour in the reflections of buildings and trees but it has an amazing quality and depth with a green tone and that forms a frame or base for buildings close to the water.

International critics and authors discuss Danish design at length but few seem to be aware of specific location - as if Danish architecture should be judged in some non-specific place - but Copenhagen has an almost unique combination of factors when it comes to location. 

From it's latitude the sun and therefore the angle of the light is low, or relatively low, for much of the year and that effects the quality or intensity of the light and changes the nature of the shadows; there is little industry or heavy industry here, compared with many capital cities, and, although there is traffic, there is, thankfully, not much vehicle pollution so the air is clear. The city is surrounded by water- relatively deep but calm water - and there is water in the city in large areas of lakes and moats to the defences.

In part, colours in stained-glass windows take on very specific qualities because they are framed in black … the matt black tending to grey of the lead cames. In much the same way, the colours of the buildings and the roofs in Copenhagen take on their quality and their character because, so often, they are seen against the sharp clear blue of a northern sky or are seen above and against water and with the light bouncing up off the water.




the colour swatch at the top was produced using a digital colour meter on these images  taking about 20 samples of what appeared to be, by eye, the most typical and the dominant blues. Curiously the colour is greener and heavier than I would have anticipated from the way colours change across the image. The camera is a Leica M9 and the lenses respond to Copenhagen light in an amazing way. Maybe not completely scientific and maybe not objective but still worth doing ... the blue is close to the colour chosen for the background of the logo here for copenhagen architecture & design news