Portland Aluminium Smelter (1991)

“Nexus Designs provided a colour manual of approximately eighteen colours, including four schemes which will be gradually implemented in the administrative areas. The muted colours are those of the land and seascapes which the smelter straddles; greys, blues, greens and sandy yellows, nothing bright or jarring.

The effect externally is to carry huge structures off into the sky, to give them the decorative qualities of intricate metal sculptures of unimagined scale. Internally, long corridors are intersected with trusses painted a variety of blues and greens, conveyor parts and pipes are picked out in individual colours, vehicles are aqua green, and complex machines look like giants’ toys, fresh from their boxes.

Humanising the workplace with colour, along with landscaping, health services and supervised gymnasium programs is part of Portland Aluminium’s recognition of the value of the individual in the workplace.

Identifying the relationship between colours and emotional states, the poet Julian Grenfell wrote: “Life is colour and warmth and light.” (Into Battle, 1915), and in these two very different projects by Nexus Designs those three elements are simultaneously expressed.”

(Excerpt from Design World Number 22, 1991)

Photography: John Gollings


  • Interior Colour Palette
  • Exterior Colour Palette