Colour combinations: Five minutes with Davina Harper


Colour combinations: Five minutes with Davina Harper

What was your focus for this year’s Milan Design Week?

I attend an international colour marketing group meeting, which is where colour specialists in the interior-design industry get together and discuss the latest global trends and come up with colour palettes based on these trends. The rest of the time we try to get around as much of the Milan Design Week exhibitions, installations and Salone as possible.

Why is it important for you to attend Salone?

It’s important in terms of discovering which colours and colour combinations will be popular for the upcoming year. I usually come to Milan with colours and themes in mind, but then check for repetition for confirmation. It’s also good to pick up on new creative ideas and different colour combinations, including textures and finishes.

What trends did you notice?

Colours are definitely warming up. Neutrals and whites are getting warmer. The Pantone colour of the year – ultraviolet – is definitely having an influence. We are seeing soft violets and mushroom colours because of the purple influence. The other trend we’re seeing is a lot of tonal variation (tone on tone), which means similar hues used in one space with added texture to add more dimension. This technique can be very calming because you’re not seeing contrasting colours.

There seemed to be a lot of mustard around. Do you agree?

Yes, it’s a deep mustard that is almost gold. There’s also a lot of other variations of yellow coming through.

And green is still going strong …

Green has been around for a few years now (especially olive green) and doesn’t look to be going anywhere soon It’s now being used as a neutral as it’s so versatile.

What were some of the highlights for you across the week?

I went to a Swedish design exhibition in Brera called Hemma – Stories of Home. It was beautifully styled and included interesting colour combinations like mustard with pink. I was also very inspired by the Hermès exhibition. The scale was enormous – it was like walking around in some sort of colourful, ancient civilisation.


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