Thursday, December 12, 2013


Pantone, a global authority on colour, recently picked Radiant Orchid, a purple hue with pink and fuchsia undertones, as the 2014 colour of the year, replacing the 2013 colour, emerald.

In the upcoming year, the purply rose is expected to influence the world of fashion and interior design.

Each year a colour is selected by a secret committee that draws on global influences ranging from popular travel destinations to technology.

Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, says next year's colour is an invitation to innovation. Radiant Orchid “encourages expanded creativity and originality, which is increasingly valued in today's society,” she says.

So how can we inject this pinky-purple radiance into our own homes, without our interior looking too much like a child's bedroom? We took some notes from Australia's top colour experts.

Rikki Stubbs is one of Australia's leading colour designers. Stubbs' career in colour and interior design can be traced back to the 1980s. And today, she runs her own colour consultancy, Pure Colour. For Stubbs, colour is the starting point in interior design. 

Every surface is a vehicle for colour.
Stubbs says Radiant Orchid is “a beautiful colour, it's a clear bright colour. So that means in interior design it has to be used judiciously in small doses.”
Stubbs says it's best to avoid painting walls in Radiant Orchid. “You want the wall colour to just sit back quietly,” she says, explaining that in interiors, the wall colour is what holds the colour scheme together.

Splashes of Radiant Orchid in a home are best complemented with neutral walls. Stubbs says soft blue greys work well with bright colours like purple. Think Dulux's Dieskau or Covered in Paint's Translucent.But pops of purple do not go amiss elsewhere. “You could paint a chair, or you could have it on one cushion, or better still in a stripe with an orange, and a green and fuchsia... on an outdoor fabric.”
But that doesn't mean you can't pair it with other bright colours.

Sonia Simpfendorfer, creative director for Melbourne-based company Nexus Designs, agrees.“I'd put it with turquoise and aqua and mint green and you could add in a dash of orange because it's the opposite,” Stubbs says.
“These slightly difficult, more challenging colours are always good to use and they're a great foil for colours that people think are beautiful,” she says.

In a nod to the Pantone Fashion Color Report Spring 2014, Simpfendorfer says pairing with Dazzling Blue is a clever way to use Radiant Orchid.
“Use it with colours that are a similar level of intensity and saturation but once again use them in balance rather than making one of them too dominant,” she says.
Simpfendorfer says Radian Orchid can be used as a colour for a side table next to something that's highly patterned and has a small element of purple in it.
“Or if you imagine a rug where there might be that colour in a small amount and then use it as a solid colour on an entire chair but just one in a space... That would be really powerful,” she says.

There's no doubt that people today are experimenting more with colour in general.

Stubbs says colour is now in fashion in interior design. “We have been subjected to really bland, all white interiors where people were terrified to use any colour for years and that is changing, that is the biggest trend that is changing.”
And the choice of Radiant Orchid marks a positive move for the use of colour in interiors. “I really love the fact that it's quite controversial and has made people really stop and think about colour,” Simpfendorfer says.
While it's good to be challenged, Simpfendorfer offers a word of advice for those who aren't tickled pink (or purple, for that matter) by Pantone's colour choice.

“You have to love colour otherwise it'll always sit a bit uncomfortably.”

This photo provided by Pantone shows the Radiant Orchid color swatch for Pantone.
This photo provided by Pantone shows the Radiant Orchid color swatch for Pantone. Photo: AP