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AkzoNobel to fund OMA research as part of Human Cities initiative

June 6, 2014

AkzoNobel and leading architecture firm OMA today announced a partnership to conduct global research into the link between color and economic development.

The new study will focus on the extent to which making an area more visually attractive can influence economic growth. The results of OMA's research will help shape AkzoNobel's newly launched approach to urban transformation.

Today's announcement was made at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia, which is being curated this year by leading architect Rem Koolhaas, who is co-founder of OMA.

Commenting on the launch of the study and AkzoNobel's new Human Cities initiative, CEO Ton Büchner said: "By the 2050s, more than 75 percent of the world’s population will live in cities. Given that 60 percent of our products are in the Buildings and Infrastructure and Transportation end-user segments, AkzoNobel has an important influence on the process of urban transformation that’s currently taking place.

"As a responsible company, it’s therefore our intention to use our expertise to make city life more energizing, inspiring and vibrant for people across the world," he continued. "We want to go beyond the purely functional aspects – which is what most people think about – and help cities and their citizens to connect on an emotional level. This is also the main driving force behind the Human Cities Manifesto we are launching today, which outlines some of the issues we think cities across the world should be focusing on, including color, heritage, transport, sport, education, and sustainability.

"We believe that our new research partnership with OMA will make a significant contribution to creating more 'human' urban environments for the world's citizens, so we’re delighted to be partnering with Rem Koolhaas and OMA on this study."

Added Koolhaas: "The link between color and our emotional reaction to the built environment is well established. But it doesn't stop there. In affecting our perceptions, color has a distinct impact on all the variables that determine the vitality of the city: social, cultural and economic. By combining our expertise with AkzoNobel, we’re hoping to produce a study that will provide important insights to all key players in the urban environment – from architects and developers, to city authorities and individual citizens."

Held every two years, the theme of the Biennale Architettura 2014 is Fundamentals. It consists of three interlocking exhibitions: Elements of Architecture, Monditalia and Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014. The event runs until November 23.

Human Cities in action
Our Human Cities initiative builds on a number of existing AkzoNobel activities, such as our employee-led Community Program, Let's Colour program and Art Foundation, as well as our work with external partners such as the Rijksmuseum, UNESCO and the Cruyff Foundation.

To highlight our commitment to improving, energizing and regenerating urban communities across the world, AkzoNobel today turned the square at Santo Stefano in Venice into a makeshift Cruyff Court. Located around the world, permanent Cruyff Courts are set up in neighborhoods where children lack the opportunity to play sports in a safe environment.

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