AT a recent behind the scenes tour of the Dulux manufacturing plant in Melbourne, 20 members of the Design Institute of Australia (DIA) Victoria Tasmania Branch met the team behind Australia’s leading paint brand.
Inside the state-of-the-art Dulux Colour Centre, chemists dressed in white lab coats and safety goggles use hi-tech equipment to create new paint colours and run quality assurance and performance tests across a range of new and existing products.
Throughout its history Dulux has sought to deliver the highest quality products to Australian homes, business and industry and in doing so has become an entrenched part of the Australian colour and decorative landscape with more than 90,000 colours in its database. Now more than ever, new colours have double-barrelled names such as Garden Pond, Becker Blue and Hot Embers. Some old and some new colours make it into the annual Dulux Colour Forecast for the coming year.
Dulux Colour Planning and Communications Manager Andrea Lucena-Orr explains that each year the in-house design team review thousands of images captured during annual visits to international design exhibitions and events such as Milan Design Week. They look out for emerging designers to see what they are producing, evolving design themes, textures, the design and colour trends of top fashion houses and review various forms of popular media to get a sense of how consumers across the world are responding to international trends.After sorting images into different hues, tones, shades, textures and finishes, the team of five interior designers then distil their findings into several colour palettes for the specifier and consumer markets. These palettes forecast colour trends for the next 12-18 months.
This year the theme behind the Dulux colour forecast for 2015 is Connection which explores ‘the idea of connection with the earth, ourselves, our heritage and creativity in commercial spaces’. Under this umbrella of connecting and disconnecting from the real world are four distinct colour palettes – Wildland, Silentshift, Modhaus and Earthworks, which capture the essence of the team’s research into colour and design trends.
Dulux employed guest stylists to bring to life the themes of each palette in captivating settings that explore the ideologies associated with connecting, reconnecting and disconnecting in the real world.
Bonnie Ashley and Neil Downie are textile designers and co-owners of Bonnie and Neil and styled the settings for Modhaus and Earthwerks while Ben Edwards and Juliet Moore of boutique architecture firm Edwards Moore designed the settings for Wildland and Silentshift.
Inspired by the bold colours of Modhaus and a geometric tile they had designed, Ashley and Downie created a stunning and playful set of large graphic patterns in opposing colours and geometric forms which references the 1980’s Memphis design movement, fashion and modern art.
Bonnie and Neil have used the organic colour range of Earthwerks to reconnect us with nature in a setting that brings the natural environment indoors. Variations of green remain popular with a trend towards bringing real plants into the workplace which Lucena-Orr says is, in part, an extension of the trend for living green walls.Edwards Moore has taken the organic and moody colours of Wildland to create a false perspective landscape that contrasts light and dark, natural materials and untamed landscapes. The image is reminiscent of the ‘Salt’ series of photographs by Murray Fredericks. The understated organic colour palette is inspired by trends in fashion, furniture and the crafting of handmade objects.
In contrast, the setting for Silentshift was inspired by the film 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick and represents a disconnection from the outside world, a space to unplug and unwind while cocooned in a pod finished in a soft, dreamlike colour palette.
“People don’t necessary know how to use colour,” explains Lucena-Orr. “It’s about inspiration and giving people ideas of what they can do,” she says of the styled settings.