Curious colour combinations for Spring
Selecting colour can often be overwhelming; and whilst there are no strict rules, it’s important to always consider three elements: prescribed use of the space, lighting and the architectural provenance of the space. Colour needs to work in unison with the lighting source, whilst respecting the space’s architectural integrity and the designer or architect needs to ensure that a space is functional, whilst feeling like a considered and inspirational space. Cyclical changes can massively impact on a space: as the seasons change, our colour preferences also adjust. As Spring beckons, we see pastel hues fill the world around us; the seasonal variations in nature, fashion, interiors and even our bodies adjust with the seasons, and in turn, these seasonal variations affect our colour preferences.
The word Spring evokes the advent of warmer times, time spent planning for and anticipating annual holidays, family time spent outdoors, and a period in time when new life is injected into almost everything which surrounds us. Playing with form, scale and contrast adds so many welcome distractions in our lives, creating unexpected harmonious vignettes whilst offering happiness and focus. Layering bold blocks of colour creates intrigue and curiosity, launching a new lease of life to a space, by thoughtfully injecting some passion, movement and often unconventional elements.
Spring palettes typically conjure up coastal images, sumptuous pastel florals, exotic botanicals; these are Spring’s evergreen images, but pushing our creative boundaries is key for design professionals: being the creative pragmatists that we are and taking risks with colour, sets the stage for ground-breaking design and meaningful lifestyle changes.
We introduce the concept of introducing darker colours into some Spring palettes from Le Corbusier’s Architectural Polychromy, namely 4320R Ombre Naturelle 59 and 4320J Terre d’Ombre Brûlée 59, offering a design-forward feel to a space, whilst anchoring the Spring palette. Using dark colours in Spring may seem daunting, but thoughtful pairing can achieve unexpectedly refreshing and sophisticated results. We also consider pink, Spring’s quintessential crisp hue with a certain allure: we examine ways in which 32091 Rose Pâle, 32102 Rose Clair, and 4320C Rose Vif can be unconventionally combined, injecting vibrancy, optimism and sophistication into a “classic with a twist” design.
Developing a design from a conceptual image is a powerful and meaningful way to create magic. Here, the natural oasis of the breathtakingly iconic pink beach in Budelli, Sardinia, named Spiaggia Rosa, is an idyllic place to start with this palette. Taking 32091 Rose Pâle as our pale pink sandy base, adding 32111 L’Ocre Rouge Moyen representing the slightly darker shades of fragmented pink corals, introducing 32034 Céruléen Pâle, being the crystal clear waters surrounding the protected island, and contrasting these delicate pastels with 4320J Terre d’Ombre Brûlée signifying the expanses of granite rock formations dotted throughout the island. This subtle earthy palette is contemporary, restrained whilst adding intrigue; the fruity peachy tones are fresh and punchy when paired with the aqua, whilst the dark hue adds mystery, depth and sophistication.
Continuing to use darker hues to create a layered, stimulating palette, we used the image of a striped liquorice sweet, pairing two bold primaries, namely: the vibrant 32020 Bleu Outremer and the joyful 4320W Le Jaune Vif. Then, making use of a harmonious triadic colour scheme, we introduced a hue of pink, namely 32102 Rose Clair, and then added 4320E Noir d’Ivoire for a shadowy contemporary twist. This candy-hued composition is bold, daring and pushes certain boundaries; the mixing of cool, warm and darker tones offers an unexpectedly edgy design-forward composition. Definitely not for the faint-hearted, but unquestionably a confident and distinctive colour composition.
The third palette is inspired by Neapolitan ice creams, Japanese Cherry Blossom and the delectable mouth-watering macarons from Ladurée. This nature-inspired palette comprises the coffee-toned 32141 Ombre Naturelle Moyenne, which stems from the brown family and feels very grounded due to hints of pink and grey undertones which offer warmth and versatility. Next in this combination is the calming and grounding 4320G Vert 59: a rich warm green, which pairs beautifully with its complementary colour 4320C Rose Vif, the vibrant energetic pink hue in the 1959 collection. The final colour adding some mysterious edge here is the luxurious 4320R Ombre Naturelle 59, the atmospheric dark brown/black. Together they create a crisp, soothing, nature-inspired palette, which is both calming and grounding. Again, as before, the darker hue is not overbearing at all; on the contrary, it grounds the other colours and creates an atmospheric contrast.
For our final palette combination in this article, our inspiration came from a jug of homemade berry lemonade: an enchanting combination of succulent blackberries, tender ripe raspberries, lemon juice and some fresh mint and lime. The almost identical hues from Le Corbusier’s Architectural Polychromy are 4320M Le Rubis, 32101 Rouge Rubia, 4320C Rose Vif and 32042 Vert Anglais Pâle, which together blend harmoniously from the warm spectrum and crisp Vert Anglais Pâle totally changing the dynamic of the red hues. The minty hue adds a sense of calm and balance to this fruity composition, giving the palette a feeling of wellness and tranquility, whilst feeling balanced and toned down.
In summary, dramatic contrasts can create some unexpectedly congenial colour palettes; colour makes a space come to life, it sets the mood and influences our lives, so don’t be risk averse to using colour to its full potential. Le Corbusier’s Architectural Polychromy of 63 colours offers so many different options to pair unexpected hues, and the beauty lies in the fact that all of these colours originated from natural forms. Therefore, it is relatively simple to create a cohesive palette and a dynamic, timeless and polished design, since they complement each other in a natural environment. Perhaps sometimes they may create unexpected reactions when paired together, but the 63 colours that Le Corbusier created are pure genius. So, go ahead, and take the plunge when it comes to Spring colour choices.