It’s as if everyone swivels towards the new shades, like the heads of sunflowers. Fully saturated, purple and gold feels debauched and royal, which nobody frankly feels at the moment. But desaturated or tilted into surprising hues like mustard, magenta, and a near-gray, it’s thrilling and discreet, the colors of a new affluence.
Here’s an unscientific wager: Tine K Home sells the bulk of this funereal elegance outside of her own northerly latitude, Denmark. Winter in Northern Europe is itself a narrow palette of grays, dimly seen: a slate-blue smudge inside a wavy windowpane, the faintest of bottle-green tints in the roiling sky, always spread with tangled white cotton blocking out a stingy sun. In Berlin, this is the season of cod-liver doses, hugging your light-box for dear life, swallowing Vitamin D, candles guttering in every window, on every surface, and so many lit wicks the room gets a fraction colder when you snuff them all out. Selling color in Berlin is like selling tea in China: you can’t believe how much it’s wanted already, until it’s winter. Then, incredibly, everybody wants more.
designers have been drawn, over and over, to mix up these palettes
lately. Here is CB2’s home design for “Bright New Decade” collection, 2010:
the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan.
And lastly: spearmint, which is both a refreshing look and a clever, complementary progression once we’re jaded on yellow and gray, but still lingering on purples, exemplified by Illusive: Contemporary Illustration Part 3, published by Berlin’s Die Gestalten Verlag.
Northerners, tend well to the classic cures. Hot drinks. Plane tickets. Vigorous or meandering sex (or both). And try the new colors, butter, plums and mint!
Jude Stewart is a Print contributing editor. She has written on design and culture for Slate, The Believer, I.D., Metropolis, and Good, as well as a column on color for STEP Inside Design. She now tweets on color daily at twitter.com/joodstew. Design TV’s exclusive video with Jude Stewart: Color Trends and Inspiration