Radiant orchid sets the tone to liven up interiors

Shades of Pantone's 'intense' colour of the year likely to be lightened down to suit city homes

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 January, 2014, 4:34am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 January, 2014, 6:23am

Watch out world - radiant orchid is coming. Trend forecaster Pantone's bold prediction for the 2014 colour of the year set design tongues wagging when it was announced recently.

"Expect to see the peppy shade on everything from cardigans to coffee makers next year," one style watcher wrote of the "it" colour, variously described as "a pinky purple", "a strange purple", and "purply rose".

Of course Pantone's description is more sophisticated. Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Colour Institute said: "An enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, radiant orchid inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health."

Predicting the colour would be big in paint, accent pieces and accessories, Pantone says radiant orchid complements olive and deeper hunter greens, and is "gorgeous" when paired with turquoise, teal, and light yellows. Use it to liven up neutrals including grey, beige, and taupe, or as a unifying element to re-energise almost any colour palette, we are told.

Pantone has also identified four interiors themes for the year: Techno Colour (shades like faceted emerald and turquoise-like blue, exuberant orange, jet black and dark citron); Sculpted Simplicity (unassuming colours that allow the shape, form and structure of objects to shine through); Intimacy (tactile, yet subtly different - a marriage of warm, cool and neutral tones); and Moda (attention to detail, and the drama of high fashion, translated into interiors).

Elle Décor tips Asian influences. Bold, Eastern-inspired fabrics, as seen on the runways of Prada and Pucci, will make their way into home interiors. Referencing textile artist John Robshaw's New York apartment, which he designed in collaboration with Sara Bengur, the style bible notes a layering of colour, pattern and texture - such as a John Derian chair upholstered in Thai fabric, and a custom-made ottoman covered in an Indian textile.

Jennifer McConnell, vice-president of product development for American furniture brand Pearson, reports a global movement away from what she terms "bright, 'Crayola box' colours".

"There's a noticeable softening or deepening of colour moving to sophisticated neutrals and rich jewel tones," she said.

"Grey, ox blood and deep turquoise fashioned in plush velvet and chenille add a sense of glamour and pizzazz. It's nice to see this refining of the palette that works beautifully with all of the beige and Belgian linen that's been used in recent years."

Various forecasters tip a comeback of wallpaper in 2014. Hongkongers love their wallpaper, but in a sophisticated way, said Gina Shaw, vice-president of new product development for York Wallcoverings in the United States. "Hong Kong is different from mainland China - more fashion-oriented, higher-end."

Colour-wise, Shaw believes Pantone's radiant orchid to be "too intense" for our smaller homes, but expects to see "shades of it, lightened down". "Anything with metallic/iridescent accents [will be big], as will soft eco-colours such as warm blues, warm neutrals, and soothing green with a blue cast," she said.

Black and white was expectable but trendy; mink brown "gaining popularity"; and "warm greys are good with white and/or iridescent [tones]", Shaw said. While animal prints had had their day, florals were emerging - particularly in surface print "because the technique has a handcrafted look that is not easily duplicated".

Kelly Hoppen of Kelly Hoppen Interiors believes European-made will dominate in our part of the world. The celebrated South African-born British designer, half of whose work is now in Asia, recently told the BBC she no longer manufactures in China.

"[High-end consumers] in Hong Kong only want British, Italian, French, German and Belgian brands - they won't buy anything that's Chinese, it has to be made outside of Asia," she said. "We were making some of our furniture in China - we've taken it out, and are making it in Britain now."

European design, Hoppen added, would always stand out and be different. "We have something that's different, we have heritage, and we'll always hold onto that."

John McLennan, Indigo Living's managing director, believes Hollywood glamour will still be strong here in 2014, but toned down. "There will be a lot of gold - blingy, but tasteful. For example, a classic Chinese porcelain stool may have accents in a warmer, richer gold - not 24-carat Chinese gold, but more subdued," he said.

McLennan is also forecasting a big use of mirrors, metallic cut-out shapes, and decorative use of faux exotic materials such as shagreen (stingray). "One trend I am seeing is almost Japanese," McLennan said, citing abstract paintings in a soft, washed effect and fabrics hung as artworks.

The reclaimed materials theme will continue to run through 2014, although not as raw as before - this year it's more refined. "Ethno-exotic is still the thing, with a very high-end, Out of Africa feeling," McLennan continued, suggesting a romantic bedroom look pulled together by a Lucite headboard with a velvet insert, and African pictures on the side tables.

"The final trend we are looking at is what I deem 'London Calling'," McLennan said. "Think high-end Mayfair home … a little bit of British quirkiness in a sofa that hasn't been re-upholstered in 20 years, and a bit more silver (but not chrome), antique mirrors, and elegant cut crystal."

Tequila Kola trend-spotters predict Steampunk and Vintage Romance as the hot trends of 2014. Steampunk, explains managing director Geoff Fuller, is inspired by New York in the 1920s. He describes the look as "industrial chic" - seen in wood, metal, antiqued leather and industrial lighting "with a bit of playful theatre thrown in".

"Batman's cave was steam punk," explained Fuller. "Author KW Jeter coined the term steampunk in 1979 so it's been around for a while but getting much bigger now, and we think will be big in 2014." Beds, steamer trunks, dining tables, occasional chairs, and antiqued cigar leather sofas will reflect this trend.

Vintage Romance will continue to add glamour in sofas, occasional chairs, cushions and throws "all upholstered in luxurious fabrics, designed with a nod to yesteryear".

Velvet is tipped to be hot in Europe in 2014, but how would it work in Hong Kong's climate, especially given our short winters? Perhaps tone it down by teaming, say, a velvet bed with neutral accessories, says Fuller, adding that the range is designed to be mixed with cooler colours for summer.

Going green - in the trendy, upcycling way - is also sure to further cement its presence in 2014. "Eco-chic enables stylish and sophisticated living, while also promoting issues of sustainability," said Kate Babington, managing director at TREE. Furniture and accessories made of recycled tyres, and a new furniture collection made from reclaimed metal, will feature in TREE's offerings for the year.

Interiors and lifestyle blog recycledinteriors.org regards the recycling/vintage trend as "inspirational", noting that it works particularly well with Pantone's colour of the year.

"Using wooden pieces in your home is a beautiful backdrop for the coppers and other metallics we expect to see more of in 2014, as well as radiant orchid, the shade that summarises the overall colour trends of the year," blogger Helen Edwards writes on the site.