Till recently, the interior colour choices were dictated by room function and the occupant’s gender. No more restricted by unwritten colour rules, the modern palette draws inspiration from all over the world. Sapna Srivastava takes a look at the latest colour combinations and themes and factors influencing colour trend for 2013.
Unlike last decade, colour trends are now evolving organically rather than short bursts of fashion statement. Layering of colours is becoming popular as a way to add interest to a space where modern technology finds representation as multiple accent colours or smaller pieces of block colour. What’s more, the fusion of high tech with traditional is creating new juxtapositions such as weathered and worn hues and neutrals backdrops for bold colour splashes. Creamy shades have moved towards green edged neutrals and green is moving towards yellow and limes. Makeup inspired pinks and reds are fresh and uplifting while antiqued oranges reminiscent of times gone by.
The influence of nature ranges from muddy undertone to fresh airy blues and greens with wood tones in beiges and browns while earthy neutral tones with golden metallic shimmer show appreciation for earth and its resources. “Colours play a very important role in any kind of design. It is the strongest recall factor in our memories and a unique identifier of an object or the entire layout. As per Vastu, different colours represent different areas. Such as, green & gold symbolizes Southwest (SW), blue stands for Northwest (NW), Northeast (NE) is defined by white and pastels and Southeast (SE) with red & orange colours.” says Interior Designer Anish Motwani of Anish Motwani Associates (AMA). Talking about trends he adds, “Colours can be categorized as vibrant, subtle or dark with each showcasing a separate perspective. In India, with changing lifestyles, theme designs have become common. Different themes represent different colour combinations. For example, Morrocan style interiors involve more of gold, red and green. Japanese style interiors use subtle combinations of wooden brown with white. While, a contemporary interior is a combination of light colour walls in white, beige, cream or pastel shades.
According to Dulux, the colour of 2013 is Indigo. The colour gives a sense of tranquillity and stability and combines the evocative elegance of blue. Within a colour palette, indigo pairs very well with citrus colours, warm neutrals, as well blues, purples and greens. International paint company Benjamin Moore has picked Lemon Sorbet as the colour of the year as it can play off its softness and optimism with a variety of colour combinations. It is the ideal transition colour from the more vibrant spectrum and mid-to-deep tone hues to the emerging palette of freshened, polished pastels. As per designers, the shift in colours hues this year is in three directions – the dusty timeless hues that remind of us of our heritage, the clean cool light hues that provide tranquillity in a fast paced world and the pops of bright colour that bring fun, excitement and energy. Architect Sabina Sood adds, “The palette is shifting from super saturated and strong hues to softer, lighter pastel shades. This year, the trend seems like going back to basics.
The emphasis will be on creating relaxed yet vibrant, easy-going spaces. Many paint companies have selected one special colour of the year and then created a series of palettes that will take that hue and transform it in myriad ways.” For instance, Asian Paints predicts five colour styles for India:
• Gender bender: Layering of unusual colours, dual toned shades and the flowing colour wash finish for a freeing, relaxing effect on the palette.
• Human: The chromatic colour palette includes neons and greys softened by gentle and nurturing pinks and flesh tones.
• Taste of Earth: Earthy tones of natural materials and muted and basic hues reflecting subtle interplay will form a refined and nuanced colour vocabulary.
• Pockets of Silence: Soft whites and beiges create a placid light and clean mood while, deep contemplative blue-greys evoke a sense of stillness.
• Upcycle: Sepia tones, old metal and wood finishes accented with brighter, glossier shades to complete the idea of a snazzy makeover results in a contemporary offbeat colour palette.
According to Jennifer Ott, designer at the Austin-based architecture and interior design firm Loop Design, the four colours in vogue globally include softer orange that pairs well with warm white floors and ceilings. It is soothing than an electric orange and packs a nice punch as an accent wall in an otherwise light and neutral space. Poppy Red, a happy colour that captures attention and contrasts nicely with natural greens. It can make dramatic architecture really stand out. Next is lemon Yellow which has some cream in it and works well in light and bright space. While not quite pastel, the colour is soft enough to work as neutrals and can look fantastic contrasted against a cool gray concrete or tile floor. Lastly, bold Berry Pink is a grown-up version pink that can work in any space. A stress reducing and an absolutely cozy, warm and elegant colour, it contrasts well with dark, cool-coloured materials. At Sherwin-Williams, the colour experts have grouped colours into four palettes, believed to drive paint colour selection in 2013.
• Honed Vitality: Created to reflect the interplay of time and nature, the colours include chalky greys and blues and earthy, cider-coloured browns.
• Vintage Moxie: The retro glamour tempered with funky accents is reflected in colours like vivid violets, golds infused with citrine and gauzy white.
• High-Voltage: Inspired by consumerism and our digital lives, the bold colours include electric limes, phosphorescent yellows and feverish reds.
A themed colour palette ensures the colours are of a roughly equal value in terms how light or dark they are. This creates a harmonious feel throughout that can be punctuated with bolder accessories to create an individualistic space. As consumers today are much more at ease with colour mixing and matching, the colour themes this year display complex patterns and colour blocking. Last year, the trend was all about colour intensity paralleled with a need for relaxation. In 2013 all the predicted trends have one thing in common – well articulated individual expression manifested in bright colours and unusual combinations.
Low-key, functional aesthetic – The theme embraces clean, crisp lines, lightness and simplicity. A mellow yet optimistic vibe is the foundation of the colour palette. The hues are soft and un-saturated. Earthen, terracotta shades of red and brown warm the palette, while khaki, grey, and white serve as neutrals.
Illusion –This is a theme that balances dark and dramatic designs and highlights a playful, fairy tale like environment for grown-ups. Bright colours such as fuchsia and sea foam are the energetic middle ground between dramatic black and the pale pinks, blues and grey that serve as neutrals
Discreet Luxury – this theme emphasizes the importance of integrity in design embracing both a masculine and feminine aesthetic. The colour palette conveys the mood by pairing rich, sumptuous reddish-browns with rich blues and pale blues and grey. Mixed metallic colours like copper brown are a feature of this theme.
Artful Expression – The expressive theme celebrates tradition and multi-culturalism. Playful yet sophisticated, it is a touch bohemian and is comfortable with vibrant mid-tones and bright colours from the full spectrum working in powerful combinations. Hybrids such as mustard yellow, olive green, and salmon shades provide energy and suggest constant flux.
Modern Tech – Minimal yet fashionable, this theme is a blend of the modernist spirit with the stark but friendly appeal of contemporary technology. The colour palette includes blocks of black and white against almost-primary hues. The grey provides subtle warmth while lending to the décor and sophistication.
The quality and quantity of light, as well as a surface’s reflectivity, have a major affect on how we experience colour. The interplay between different colours may also alter colour perception, sometimes dramatically.
The glossier the surface, the more vivid will be the perceptual reaction to the colour. Looking at glossy and matte surfaces painted with the same colours, viewer perceives them as darker and lighter surfaces. The texture of the painted surface also influences colour perception dramatically. Paint additives affect the experience of colour. Acrylate paint colours reproduce a slightly bluish tinge and alkyd paints has a yellowish nuance.
Wall surfaces will only reflect colours whose spectrum wavelengths are contained in the illumination source used. The light given off by an incandescent bulb is extremely yellowish while halogen light reproduces all wavelengths like daylight. For example, Blue-tinted walls may look dirty and dull under incandescent light. On the other hand, yellows, yellow-oranges and reddish colours look good in the light given off by incandescent lamps. Compact fluorescent lamps from the colour rendition standpoint are extremely problematic. The spectral distribution of compact fluorescent lamps is uneven, leading to situations where a surface may appear as a completely strange tint. Natural light too significantly alters the colour situation. Light originating from the outdoors is slightly bluish. A blue-tinged light tends to “cool” colours. Colours with yellowish and reddish nuances take a bluish tinge whereas blue, blue-green and green may look too bleak.