Magic in the Everyday

>>Colour forecast presentations can be so clichéd can’t they?! Persistently educating those less informed on the clusters of colours we should be enthusiastically injecting into our well-curated homes for the upcoming season. A concoction of colour palettes which appear to be constructed as if by magic to enhance our lives & wellbeing, the interior design world seems to pull these magic tricks on us each year. With Pantone having announced their colour of the year – ‘Marsala’ its clear that the interiors colour forecasters are singing from the same hymn-sheet. Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Colour Institute expressed that “this hearty, yet stylish tone is universally appealing and translates easily to fashion, beauty, industrial design and interiors”. For this reason I was intrigued to attend the 2015 colour of the year CF15 (Colour Futures 2015) presentation to directly get under-the-skin of the world of colour in order to fully investigate ‘in depth’ the colour forecasting process. Seizing the opportunity to dissect this presentation I decided that instead of playing it relatively safe I would play devils-advocate by way of interview with Dulux UK Senior Global Colour Designer Louise Tod and Projects & Materials Manager Jim Biddulph of Material Lab.

Colour forecasting fundamentally draws its recommendations from political, social, environmental and creative attributes. Do you agree with this testimony and how much of this holds true to CF15?

I completely agree. The way we live our lives, the world events that shape our state of mind as well as the creative flair of style leaders shapes what we want to surround ourselves with and therefore the trends that emerge. In the discussions that take place at our trend forecasting groups we often see that ideas take two routes; either we see an up and coming design trend that we then work back from to see what made it happen or we see a shift in social trends that leads to a design articulation.

— Dulux UK Senior Global Colour Designer, Louise Tod

With so much content from these critical issues, which can dramatically affect our daily lives, how do you edit that down into five concise concepts or themes?

That is indeed the tricky bit! We meet with a group of external design experts and trend forecasters each year which we call our Analogue group. Each member presents their ideas at a two day brainstorm and them we distil down the stories to the five biggest ideas, and a dominant trend or mood of the moment that overarches all the trends. It’s amazing how our ideas naturally cross over and join up to create something new.

— Dulux UK Senior Global Colour Designer, Louise Tod

There’s a beauty and softness yet drama in the 2015 colour of the year ‘Copper Blush’ – how do you feel the design industry from architecture to interiors to fashion can utilise this hue to its best advantage?

This year’s colour of the year has a lovely warmth and human feeling that makes it easy to live with and combine with this year’s hottest colour combinations and materials. Combining Copper Blush with flesh toned pink and blond wood will give a softer, cosmetic feel whereas setting it off with dark wood and more industrial furniture gives it a more earthy masculine feeling that would work beautifully in more commercial spaces. And don’t forget to add this seasons key copper accessories to either look.

— Dulux UK Senior Global Colour Designer, Louise Tod

Whilst walking curiously through each of the cleverly curated roomsets, each one depicting the very narrative of each CF15 collection, I was extremely intrigued to see how this concept and collection of ideas could be transposed into a tangible representation of itself through materiality. If there was one thing I learnt through my masters recently it was that these elements are imperative when translating a narrative within design and as such, materiality is a strong factor. I was impressed that within this presentation Dulux had taken this distinctive direction to pair their CF15 concept with a much broader interpretation of itself.  Intrigued, I asked Projects & Materials Manager Jim Biddulph what challenges were faced when curating five distinct collections in their collaboration with Dulux for CF15? And how did they break down those concepts to transpose them through materiality?

When set the challenge of curating materials to bring together each of the five CF15 trends we started off by dissecting them to ascertain how they create balance through colour and textural combinations. Whilst colour is obviously the primary driver for each trend, we quickly found that every trend considered texture and scale in a unique manner. For instance, +UnseenSpaces sits between both the light and dark and, we felt, the rough and smooth. This could be as obvious as a heavily textured or relief surface with a very flat paint finish, but it might also involve a combination of a gloss and satin finished tiles, potentially even in the same subtle shade. On the other hand we felt that Layer+Layer was reliant upon materials that had inherent combinations or mixes of colours within or on them, particularly those with speckled, partially printed or even iridescent coloration.

— Jim Biddulph, Projects & Materials Manager

Digging much deeper I wanted to know how materiality and purity through form could assist the design industry to translate this theme in finding the wonderful in the normal? Also as a renowned material resource lab what were the current breakthroughs or new materials that designers should look for & how could these materials benefit designers?

The five trends gave us a great excuse to highlight some of our newest and most exciting surfaces too. We have found a number of beautiful applications of mixed composite materials over the past year, some fine examples being Flensted Studio’s use of pigmented Jesmonite, Stephanie Tudor’s varied textured plaster tiles, Olivia Aspinal’s Chalk and coal pieces and Ella Bulley’s innovative use of sugar and plaster. The intrinsic nature of these ‘setting’ and transformable materials means that they can be moulded into simple, flat shapes, to relatively complicated three-dimensional forms, which offers a genuine freedom and ability to work in a very bespoke manner, creating greater affinity between the surface and end user than your standard ‘off-the-shelf’ product. We have found a real sense of craft coming back into surface and material design that similarly promotes appreciation of the end product too. Design studios that are intent upon creating intricate and richly layered surfaces, such as Giles Miller Studio, Anthony Roussel studio and Tex-tile, prove to be popular with an audience who wish to enhance their space with contemporary detail and depth – proof that our everyday environments can be transformed into the magical and wonderful.

— Jim Biddulph, Projects & Materials Manager


Further Reading:

Dulux UK | Material Lab

2 thoughts on “Magic in the Everyday

    • Mary-Ellen Paul says:

      Thank you so much Susie for taking the time to check out my blog and for your really kind comment regarding my content. Glad to have at the blog anytime! Mary x


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