The 2020 Guide · Unique London Builds: The Right Colour Brick

Choosing a brick colour is not always easy. Tone, surface texture and form all affect the appearance
General Blogs Section
January 31, 2020

Choosing a brick colour is not always easy. Tone, surface texture and form all affect the appearance, and differing manufacturing processes impact depth of colour too. London is seeing a resurgence in design led builds, and our capital is set to position itself globally for contemporary architecture. We are preparing for some profound architectural developments in 2020; since the facing brick colour is any builds outer layer, the visual integrity relies on getting the colour right. Let’s start by looking at the most popular colour choices for this decade so far.

Grey Tones: Luxe Inner City Offices

Grey bricks, particularly of darker tones, are fast becoming a favourite in our cities. For inner city offices, commercial hubs and multi-use builds, charcoal hues create a smart, dramatic look.

Exterior usage remains most popular, but recently, the trend for continuing the outer facade into interior feature walls is increasing. White mortar and trims give a contemporary feel, or for a distinguished look, blend with mortars in muted grey tones.  Here are some of our favourite grey tones.

White Tones: Unique Residential Homes  

White bricks align with the new shift towards Scandi and Coastal looks. The colour lends itself to creating clean, simple lines, and creates a crispness that cannot be matched by any other colour. When used for exterior walls, white cuts through surrounding brick tones, and provides a perfect backdrop to landscaping.

White bricks have become the contemporary alternative to white-washed paint; the kitsch aesthetic of the brush has given way to the pristine finish of honest white clay. The integrity of the pale surface creates a dramatic facade, but one that is warm and inviting too; contradictions and versatility are an architects most valuable design tool. Here are some of our favourite white tone bricks.  

Black Tones: Striking Urban Developments

Reserved only for the most confident design. But to exist and dominate the architectural global stage, our cities need to be brave, and embrace darker tones. The usage of this brick in the UK remains scarce, but this year, that is going to change.

We are proud to be teaming up with architects and developers, and we are excited to see the popularity of these bricks increase in our cities. 2020 brings the opportunity to redesign university hubs, government buildings, libraries and museums; bespoke builds, coupled with striking residential developments and villages, will redefine the city. Grey is the colour of London, but we want the Big Smoke to go black. Take a look at some of our favourite black tone bricks.

Buff Tones: Regeneration Apartments & Flats

2020 will continue to embrace the redevelopment of precious inner city land. Where tired site’s once stood, communities are being created, and the housing shortage is helping to reshape the capital’s skyline. New multi-storey residential apartments, penthouses and flats are emerging in varying tones of beige.

Buff may seem like less of a statement colour than white, black or grey. But what it lacks in reputation, it gains in versatility. And when contrasted sharply with gun-metal grey balconies, oversized glass windows or accenting black trims, buff makes a bold design statement. And one that cannot be ignored. Take a mooch of our buff collection bricks.

Manufacturing Process: Colour Variation

Design isn’t black and white. And, no one colour is universal, and colour naming isn;t an exact science. A red brick doesn’t mean it’ll be the exact shade you need, and finding the right colour can become an endless feat. To make the decision easier, we start at the beginning, or manufacturing process.

There is nothing wrong with a wire-cut brick. They undercut most manufacturing processes, and create a uniformed yet somewhat unassuming finish. Vast and consistent colour options exist, and their mass produced nature means they are a popular, everyday choice. Their cold, fast manufacturing lacks the personality and depth needed for true design led builds, though. Functionality and cost-effectivity is their main appeal, but if you’re looking for architectural brilliance, there are far better options.

Enter the soft mud bricks. And unlike wire-cut bricks, these boys aren't clones.

Sandstruck, or stock, bricks, are made by pouring clay into sand-coated moulds; once set, the finished brick is turned out with a sand releasing agent, imprinting a familiar grainy surface. Again, the colour options are plentiful, and the finish is generally consistent and versatile. They are popular in the UK, and they have reason to be.

Sandstrucks lesser-known, alluring, sister is Waterstruck.

These bricks are made in a very similar way to soft mud bricks, but no sand is used in the moulding process. Instead, water is the releasing agent. The fluid nurtures a completely different texture; the resulting brick surface shows a gentle yet striking purity. A soft yet sharp appearance, and a design-led, distinguished feel; this is the architects choice for exceptional builds.

And yet, until recently, waterstruck bricks have remained the least catalogued brick in the UK. This is changing fast though, particularly in London. The examples that do exist here are exquisite, but this brick has long been reserved for Scandinavian countries and exceptional builds worldwide.

Choose from an indulgent range of colours, and don’t be shy, ordering a sample is key to appreciating their depth of colour. The waterstruck manufacturing process leaves a unique surface texture, and so the colour and personality of each brick is mesmerising. With waterstruck bricks, architects enjoy versatility in design; for a striking finish, a consistent colour can be achieved, but each brick will retain a subtle individuality. At other times, a multi-tonal value is preferred.

The waterstruck manufacturing process brings a versatility in colour unlike any other. The surface structure responds to light, and the subtle textural imprints leave a complexity of colour that cannot be matched.

So what’s even better than waterstruck bricks? Our waterstruck bricks ;)

UK Bricks: Our Unique Collection Of Waterstruck Bricks

Our clay tells a story unlike any other; rich soils, and handmade finishes result in a unique surface texture. Patience is valued, and once ready, each brick is individually released from their moulds using pure Scandinavian water. These bricks are a product of everlasting beauty, and we are proud to bring them to the UK.

To help find your brick choice quickly, our website filters our bricks into convenient colour categories. Take a look at our brick collections.

Narrowing Down The Choice: Visualisation Brick Tool

We developed our visualisation tool for our website in Summer 2019, and it’s been helping housebuilders, developers and architects ever since. It’s all about convenient creativity and experimentation from your desk, so if you’re in the early stages of colour considerations, this tool will help you to play with ideas. It’s free and easy to use- enjoy!

Getting Closer: Order a Sample

And when you have a focused choice of colours, ordering samples is the natural next step. Afterall, handling the material is the only way to truly appreciate the colour and craftsmanship. Order your samples!

Helping Hands: Get In Touch

Since every build is unique, the best way for us to help is to hear a little more about your build. If you have a colour in mind, we can help find the exact tone and collection

Please get in touch!

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