The colours that will guide you through 2018
Words Vilma Paasivaara, additional reporting by Daisy Gray
In the second of our exclusive reports from Heimtextil, we look into the importance of colours to our wellbeing…
Even if you’re not one of the hundreds of design experts who descend on Frankfurt every year from all over the world to discover the colours of the year at Heimtextil, there is still plenty to glean from our use colour here – extending beyond mere aesthetics. For instance, according to research by Franklin Till, colour is a simple and natural way of improving our wellbeing.
Within the trend space they curated at Heimtextil this year – titled The Future is Urban – Franklin Till set up a colour installation with The Unknown Collective, where visitors could fully experience the top colours of 2018 – red and blue. These colours were picked as they have a profound effect on our brains and could be used to create spaces that ‘restore balance’. Perhaps contrary to popular belief, red is in fact a calming colour which encourages relaxation and even sleep. Blue, on the other hand, is a stimulating colour that will awake your mind and keep it active (witness the blue light from our screens keeping us awake).
In the Relax/Recharge colour experience space, visitors were invited to lie down and be immersed in intense, shifting hues of red and blue (depending on whether it is a ‘Relax’ or a ‘Recharge’ cycle). The space draws from the concept of chromatherapy, which has already sparked many projects using coloured light to improve our health. From resetting circadian rhythms at the Chronarium (a public sleep lab by Loop.pH combining lights and pink noise) to flexing both body and mind through a multi-sensory yoga experience with ChromaYoga, there is growing momentum in using colours as a natural remedy to the over-stimulation of urban life.
Though we might be becoming more mindful of how different colours affect our brains, the study of colours and their connotations in itself is not new. Matisse, for example, experimented with envisioning spaces in single hues like the scenes depicted in his paintings Blue Window (1913) and Red Studio (1911). In turn, the Bauhaus-trained Josef Albers explored our perception of colours using blocks of blue and red to see whether both could have warm and cool effects. The use of colour as a cure has been recorded in Egyptian papyrus scrolls, dating back to 1,550BC, as well as in ancient Chinese texts.
As more and more people are moving into cities, we will see designers become increasingly mindful of promoting well-being in urban spaces. The effect colours have on our mental state will be an important factor in answering those questions. The colour palettes curated by Franklin Till, and the textiles they chose to embody them, showcase the seemingly endless hues in which the blues and reds could be integrated into our homes and workspaces… and get us through 2018.