Sunday mornings are great for drinking coffee or tea in your pyjamas while listening to ICA-Belgium’s online Colour Talks!

On Sunday June 27th 2021 from 10h till 11h CEST our guest was Axel Buether, a German media scientist, perceptual psychologist and architect with a research focus on colour, light and space. He spoke about the secret power of colours and how they influence our behaviour and feelings.

Full recording


Germany’s leading colour expert, Axel Buether, gets to the bottom of the mystery of colours in his latest book. As a product of evolution colours fulfil vital functions for nature and man. We communicate incessantly with our environment through the language of colours, which secretly has a great influence on our emotional life, our social behaviour and our health.


The world is colourful, colours give it a contour and form, but only one percent of us consciously process them. Axel Buether exposes them as the greatest communication system on earth and explains how we humans perceive colours. He describes how they control our behaviour without us noticing, and what role they play in our well-being, even our health. Above all, he reveals how colours affect our psyche.

To this end, Buether takes a look at the 13 primary colours, traces their symbolism in cultural history, and breaks down their effects on our psyche. An informative and exciting colour panorama that gives us insight into the latest findings of colour research and shows how we can use this knowledge in our everyday lives.


Axel Buether is one of Germany’s leading colour experts and researchers. He is a Professor of Didactics of Visual Communication at the Faculty of Design and Art of the University of Wuppertal. He held Professorships of Design Fundamentals: Colour, Light, Space at Burg Giebichenstein Kunsthochschule Halle, Perceptual Psychology and Creativity at Hannover University of Applied Sciences and Design and Design Theory at the University of Siegen. Since 2007 he has chaired the Board of the German Colour Association (Deutsches Farbenzentrum) – Central Institute for Colour in Science and Art.

After training as a stonemason and working as a restorer and freelance stone sculptor, he studied architecture at the TU Berlin, University of Arts Berlin and the Architectural Association London. He received his PhD from the University of Stuttgart on the subject of Semiotics of Visual Space.

In his design practice, Axel Buether realised numerous projects in the fields of architecture, exhibition design, scenography and media art. Among those are a colour design and development of PRO ARCHITECTURA 3.0 tile collection for Villeroy & Boch that won a Red Dot Award 2021 for product design, Fortress Xperience, a multimedia design experience exhibition in Dresden, winner of ADC Competition 2020 and a Media Art Installation İzmir Mozaic at PORTIZMIR International Contemporary Art Triennial.

Axel Buether makes colour accessible beyond specialist circles through his popular science lectures, publications, conferences and radio broadcasts.

More about his work via