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It goes without saying that we all perceive colours in a different way and can feel drawn towards a diverse range of colour schemes at any given moment. And this is precisely what we’ll be going into in more detail here.
The dictionary entry for the word “colour” is
- n. Sensation produced by light rays that impacts the visual organs and is dependent on wavelength. In other words, "the perception of colour is a very personal phenomenon"
Go a little deeper into the subject of colour and you discover that Newton was the first (1666) to prove that colour does not exist (he discovered it by experimenting with a light beam passing through a prismatic glass). He observed that this was broken down into the six colours of the rainbow and that it is the reflections by objects that we actually perceive as a colour. So the important thing to remember here is that light alone is responsible for colour.
The human eye is capable of distinguishing between 10,000 different colours, so imagine the diverse colour palette we have to play with when it comes to interior design. But the most incredible part is what I mentioned at the beginning: colour depends on our perception, on our attitude and our mood, and therefore, we have to take into account our own individual personalities, which are inherent to our perceptions.
Translated to interior design projects, this means that when we choose the general colour scheme and the finer details related to different colour shades in each room, they must all be deeply linked to the client's personality. It means understanding their individual tastes to discover which colour will convey serenity, comfort, and a modern touch in their home.
I encourage clients to choose a neutral tone as a base that will enable them to introduce a more varied range of colours later without altering the overall atmosphere of the space. This could range from whites to greys or stone, which are all soft and timeless shades, and then introduce a more personal, contrasting shade of colour in the different elements of the room’s decoration, such as wallpapers or cushion covers and other fabrics.
In today’s world, when we define colour trends we look at four external factors: firstly, the social situation globally, which currently has a unique emotional framework due to the pandemic affecting us all. This translates into more sober colours. Then we’d look to the constant flux taking place in big cities, home to the largest proportion of the population, because these are the hothouse in which different trends are born, grow and very quickly become consolidated. This movement is represented by a range of more vibrant, happy colours. Another key role is played by fashion - the great barometer of these social changes in the big cities, which quickly incorporates new trends into its designs. And finally, Pantone, the universal colour guide, which also proposes the 'colour of the year' to be incorporated into the different elements that make up our lives.
So I would encourage you to go ahead and sharpen your perceptions and pay attention to what is happening around you, on the streets, in shop windows and in the big cities, as this will help you to anticipate and predict the colours that will set the season’s trends.
Cristina Carvajal, Retail Designer and Architect at Milimetric (www.milimetric.es)