Total Colour Award winners

Whanganui Arts @ Centre - Exterior Colour Scheme


From the Resene Total Colour Awards gallery of entries

Resene Total Colour Awards 2017
Whanganui Arts @ Centre

The Whanganui Arts Council established the Community Arts Centre in 1989 to provide a venue for artists and craftspeople to exhibit and sell their work. It has operated continuously since then.

The building was originally a disused bus garage, which was purchased from the Whanganui District Council. With the benefit of the architectural design skills of Mark Southcombe the building was expanded to include two galleries, a shop - (art supplies), and three studio/workshop spaces, which are now used by the Potters’ Society, the Visual Arts Symposium and Seniornet. It also has a beautiful mezzanine floor classroom overlooking the Whanganui River.

The 1989 conversion took inspiration from the work of painter Piet Mondrian using his grid format in the design of architectural elements like the steel frame work and glazing bars. During the early 2000s the build had undergone a repaint the moved it away from acknowledging the architectural inspiration. Over a decade later it was decided that the Community Arts Centre needed to undergo rebranding to better promote the role it has within the creative community of Whanganui. As part of this exercise the need for a new exterior paint scheme was identified.

The repaint brief required that:

  • The building worked as a signpost for the activities that it housed.
  • Stood out from the surrounding buildings.
  • Gave each of the tenants a chance to show their individuality.
  • Made provision for future signage.

Whanganui Arts Centre - front
Front and back
Paint squares
Other areas

The Arts Centre was one of the first organisations to realise the benefits of being located on the banks of the Whanganui River in the heart of what has now become the heritage and cultural precinct of Whanganui. With its new colour scheme it stands out amongst the other many other cultural organisations that have come to join it on the bank of the Awa.

The colour scheme overtly takes its influence from the Mondrian inspired architectural elements within the building. It has used Resene Sonyx 101 semi-gloss waterborne paint in Resene Black White as the main wall colour and Resene Diesel to produce the gridlines.

Each of the ‘areas’ of the building has been designated a colour that will later be incorporated into the way finding signage: Resene Citron = Seniornet, Resene St Tropaz = Awa Room, Resene Raging Bull = Left Bank Art Supplies, Resene Dixie Chick = Whanganui Potter’s Society and Resene Grey Chateau = Gallery Spaces.

There are two courtyards within the complex. To give each of these their own identity the cedar claddings in these areas were individually stained. The Taupo Quay entry was stained using Resene Waterborne Woodsman Natural. The Moutoa Quay entry that houses the potter’s kiln and sheds has been stained with Resene Waterborne Woodsman Sheer Black. The Cedar on the second storey was stained using Resene Waterborne Woodsman Bleached Riverstone. Resene Waterborne Woodsman was chosen for the cedar areas of the complex as a way of protecting the timber and preventing further discolouration.

The scheme needed to work as a sign post for the centre and give equal indication of the different users. The painters were required to produce crisp lines on uneven brick and plaster surfaces.

Client: Whanganui Arts @ Centre
Colour selection: Catherine Macdonald
Painting contractor: Richard Gedye Ltd
Photographer: Catherine Macdonald


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Colours shown on this website are a representation only. Please refer to the actual paint or product sample. Resene colour charts, testpots and samples are available for ordering online.   See measurements/conversions for more details on how electronic colour values are achieved.