A Coloured View.

Was invited to be part of the Asian Paints ColourNext Style Lead Panel few days ago, which was primarily a workshop to understand the trends in colour. There were about 16 of us who were invited, from different backgrounds of design, architecture, fashion, photography and journalism, and 11 of us finally attended.

It was a rather interesting mix of people… Dilip Chhabria (THE DC of autos), Vikram Bawa (Fashion Photographer), Abhimanyu Kulkarni (Philip Design), Shimul Kadri, Sonal Sancheti and Ajay Sethi (all architects), Mugdha Sethi (graphic designer), Nrupen Madhvani (fashion and architecture photographer), Dev (of Dev R Nil – the fashion designer duo), Mamta (Asst. Editor of Design Today) and of course, yours truly.

The entire event was organised by CKS headed by my friend and co- Pecha Kucha Night organiser from Delhi, Aditya Dev Sood. For the past five months, his team has been researching, taking market surveys, interviewing people, taking workshops for this event, and this particular workshop was the last bit to tie everything together.

It was fun. To say the least. We were all asked to work on certain themes, colour palettes and ideas, to come out with what we thought will work in home decor, for the upcoming year. It was interesting because with the rather different mix of people, the process was not just about space and home decor, but about people, consumerism and emotions, which is what the focus should always be on.

What everyone was interested in knowing is whether architects and designers do really follow these Colour Trends? And I think this is something that Asian Paints has been trying to work at for the past six years, are not yet totally successful, but perhaps may get there one day due to consistency. Still, I rather doubt they’ll ever get designers to admitting that they follow trends, considering design is all about setting trends.

The process is still on. So it’s too early to talk about what colours did well and did not. That will be showcased in December, when Asian Paints will launch their new trend setting Colour Palette.

We were asked to do a little ‘homework assignment’. Basically talk of the five design driving factors that will be be prominent in 2011. So am writing about what I thought might be the big trend setters…

1. SIMPLIFICATION = Raw look – clean lines, simple design, lack of embellishes – not really talking of minimalism here. But it’s about getting saturated with too much and trying to simplify life and hence our home/office.

2. INTERACTIVE = Textures + touch and feel +3D. With the rise in internet and hence social isolation, there is a need to get back in touch, one of the reasons why Facebook is such a hit. This also gets transformed to a more experiential and interactive decor.
Also 3D is on the rise with films being great successes, and one can see typology,graphics and animation coming very strongly as part of the design language.
In a way, going back to pt.1 of Simplification- when a look is simplified, to create accents, depth and layering, the use of textures through materials will be a strong focus.

3. EXPERIMENTS OF MATERIALS= different combinations, finishes, pushing boundaries.
Not just one medium, but different mixes of materials, finishes and styles, seem to be on the rise. Especially different combinations of materials, pushing boundaries of regular materials, recycling materials and experimenting with them to come out with something unique and innovative, creating textures, patterns, hence bringing about different styles and looks.

4.’CONTEMPNIC’= contemporary + Indian ethnic + merging the old and new.
India will never go out of Fashion, and anything Indian created in a new style gives a great Retro feel. In fact, one can see the rise of many Indian designs and handicrafts/arts being worked upon to match the new context of living, making them contemporary, hip and trendy.

5. CUSTOMISATION= valuing crafted pieces, one-off/unique, designer.
India is now opening its hearts out valuing design and the designer. And I’m not talking about Fashion Design here, because that has managed to capture its audience perfectly. But with more awareness of how things work, there is also respect and awe as well the realisation of what goes in truly creating a masterpiece by hand.
Apart from that there is a shifting trend towards DIY. So IKEA is here to stay and how.
And yet people want to be different so ideas are being generated from the quirky to the innovative, all one-off pieces solely customised for the client.

And of course… the green and sustainable is here already, as is the ‘bling’ effect, but these can also be modified, worked on, reshaped as per the above five parameters.

Would love to have some feedback on this one. Cheers!


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