Friday, January 15, 2016


It seems everyone has an opinion when it comes to choosing the color of the year. Certainly every paint manufacturer has an opinion. We did a post near the end of last year when Benjamin Moore came out with its choice: OC-117, Simply White. I was all in on this pick back in October 2015.
Here's what I had to say then:
Time to acknowledge Benjamin Moore's color of the year 2016. In the past the color picked has always had a more terminal feel. The colors have been trendier. This year's selection is hard to disagree with, I mean who doesn't love white? Simply White OC-177.  It's not a harsh white. It never looks muddy or dingy. It's not the white your teeth turn when you smile in a room lit by black lights.
Here's how Benjamin Moore describes it: "It works equally well with cool or warm palettes and retains its neutrality, remaining as constant as possible under different light sources."
Now as we slide into 2016 a whole plethora of voices have added their two cents to the name game of choosing their color of the year.
Sherwin-Williams has followed a similar track to Benjamin Moore going with their SW7008, Alabaster. Their description of Alabaster rings the same bell as Benjamin Moore saying,

"It provides an oasis of calmness, spirituality and 'less is more' visual relief. Alabaster is neither stark nor overly warm, but rather an understated and alluring white." I can buy into this in the same way I bought into Simply White.
Glidden was the third American company to weigh in on a shade of white for 2016. They selected their Cappuccino White, 45YY 74/073. They describe it as "a delicate, creamy neutral that creates a peaceful calm in any space."
Maybe it has something to do with all the craziness that went on in 2015 from terrorism to the Kardashians to Donald Trump the design community seems to think we all need to calm down and find that place of peace in a white home devoid of distractions and contrast.
The Europeans have also weighed in and deservedly so they've chosen to mourn with Fine Paints of Europe choosing Piano Keys #0029 as their top choice,
a high-gloss rich black. It is the opposite of  America's white but the effect is very similar.
Now it is time for the color czar, Pantone, to come out with their selection and for the first time in their history they've announced a double winner: Rose Quartz, Pantone 13-1520 and Serenity, Pantone 15-3919. They chose to explain their choice this way: "Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace". It does seem peace is on the minds of everyone but pink and blue. I'm feeling more like I've been invited to a baby shower. Where the white (and black as well) have a very strong message of regeneration, going back to square one and starting over, the very wishy-washy choice of pink and baby blue seems an odd throwback.
One can go all the way back to the eighteenth century and Thomas Lawrence's Pinky alongside Gainsborough's Blue Boy.
This gender specific choice of side-by-side Rose Quartz and Serenity Blue seems like such a step backwards to the 1950's when we were all swaddled from birth in pink and blue. I know that as a generation ages there is frequently a desire to turn the clock back and wax nostalgic about the times gone by but this combination baffles me. The colors appear very old-fashioned and perhaps by themselves could be interesting and soothing but together they don't seem to help each other out. It's almost an institutional vibe good only in giving a hospital maternity ward a safe non-threating feel.
In spite of my unenthusiastic response I have seen that some major lifestyle stores must have had forewarning of the color edict for the year and have rushed these colors into their product mixes in upholstery and accessories. It will be interesting to see whether the trend sells out or ends up on the discount and sale counter.
So here's the challenge. I've done what research I could to see if I could find any designers who might have found a way of combining these colors into a successful design concept. I couldn't find much. This was the best I could add to this blog: a restaurant where both the pink and blue have been ramped up to a playful level that seems to speak to fun rather than contemplation.
But most attempts ended up looking more like a candy store, way to sweet even for my sweet tooth.
Even Jamie Drake, the master of color, had to emphasize the rose as a complement to grey relegating the blue to the floor to make it work. If anyone else would like to give it a stab I'd be delighted to see your responses.
Good luck hunting!

Sleeping Child. 1950
Arthur Leipzig, photographer
Represented by Howard Greenberg Gallery

No comments:

Post a Comment