Why are we seeing ocean shades everywhere at the moment? The blue colour palette is really decorative, and this trend also tells us a lot about society. Blue does us good, calming and de-stressing us; blue can also be refreshing and enlivening. Blue is an all-rounder, as versatile as a pair of jeans. There’s something more important though: at the moment we think a lot about protecting the ocean, about the environment and our blue planet. Colours are like feelings for which there is no name. At the moment everyone seems to feel the same.
Inspiration from the deep
When the Pantone Color Institute chose Living Coral as its 2019 colour of the year, it was because of the energy and radiance in this reddy-pinky-orangey shade – qualities we all crave in this tech-obsessed time. While we were diving to find those reddy-pink coral reefs, we also found something else entirely: cool aqua shades ranging from grey-blue to turquoise. The impact of these calm and modest companions has rippled outwards, through our table decorations and interiors onto the catwalks. Charlotte Thorhauge Bech, Creative Director at Blomus, confirms “Ocean shades are a clear trend at the moment.”
Chanel, Elli Saab, Prada, Alberta Ferretti and others have showcased a lot of blue, from petrol to pastel shades. Did Pantone’s trend researchers get it all wrong? Quite the reverse. It’s only in these blue worlds we see around us, worlds which touch our souls, that the coral and magenta colour palette really comes into its own. Complementary colours go together like yin and yang, they always offer a stylish touch when employed by interior designers. The room décor at the hotel Monteverdi Tuscany, near Siena, shows how the overall effect can be stimulating and simultaneously relaxing.
Designs with an interplay of contrasts are very contemporary. Pink is boldly linked with green, rose with sage and magenta with blue. This follows mother nature’s example, where corals need the cool, aqua-green ocean to really shine. As on coral reefs, this world of trend colours also goes well with neutral sand and earth shades, and they in turn bring us a step closer to nature.
Feeling, experiencing and handling with care
We’ve spotted another trend in products and interior design which fits alongside the ocean shades. It uses texture, tactile materials and effects wherever possible. Chunky wool, velvet, uneven ceramics and visible woodgrain offer a welcome change to the sleek touchscreen, providing a balance between technology and nature. The colours of the sea are ideal for creating vibrant surfaces, as trend researcher Insa Doan from Rosenthal confirms. “Water creates an exciting interplay of blue, green and grey shades. Mixed tones of blue give a special character to the surface of the design object – for example, by creating depth and a sense of balanced well-being.”
We must also consider our growing collective consciousness and our wish to cut down on the plastics we use, going back to natural materials like stone, wood and wool – which also seem more luxurious. Certain products are increasingly in demand, with background stories such as those of Danish textile producer Elvang, whose alpaca blankets and cushions are produced sustainably as part of a socially responsible project in Peru.
Rethinking nature, patterns and the interplay of colours
The big issues of our time are protecting our climate, rethinking our lifestyles and using our resources sparingly. At present, nature is the go-to source of inspiration for everyday fashion and interior design – not only for colours but also for patterns, some reminiscent of the strata in rock.
Feelgood colour scheme also suits shops
Ocean shade elements are increasingly popping up in restaurant and shop design. On walls or shelves, they provide a neutral backdrop. They’re ideal for presenting products, especially in retail – as seen in the new Jakarta store for London label Off White. Polish architects BUCK.STUDIO also made a design statement with the interiors for the new location of Warsaw restaurant Opasly Tom, using aquamarine and sage to harmonise with rose and natural shades in the stone and wood. The walls and furniture are clad in burl wood, which has undergone an unlikely revival in recent years. It is harvested from trees that have a twisted, deformed grain and would otherwise be thrown away. Yet this wood is processed and refined into a luxury material: an example of sustainable resource use. These days we certainly can create beauty from something which would otherwise have been wasted.