Both art and science are important factors in the color and design trends influencing home and housewares right now, said color expert Lee Eiseman in her keynote address, The Art of Living: Directional Color/Design Trends, at The Inspired Home Show 2023.
Eiseman, who is director of the Eiseman Center for Color Information and Training and executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, shared the insights and inspirations that went into creating the seven palettes in the Pantone®View Home + Interiors 2024, which were unveiled in the Show’s Pantone ColorWatch display.
“Being alive is an apt metaphor in a time when we are still, and we really are, emerging from the anxiety that has engulfed us in the last few years,” said Eiseman. “We can’t ignore that. We know that no matter where we are in this ongoing process, it’s left an indelible and emotional mark on our lives that seeks relief, renewed optimism and rejuvenation.”
Art is an important part of that healing, as it allows us to use our imaginations to visualize new ideas or to express emotions, she explained. Science is important because it provides the very explanation for life itself and how lifeforms are created, evolve and are sustained.
Both art and science played a role in the selection of the 2023 Color of the Year, Viva Magenta. That hue, which Eiseman described as a nuanced crimson red that balances both warm and cool colors, reflected both the influence of digitized art and a very small, but powerful creature – the cochineal beetle who produces carmine dye – one of the most precious, strongest and brightest in the natural dye family.
When it comes to art, Eiseman says she’s particularly interested in the resurgence of surrealism, which portrays “dreams as an escape from reality.” The style often incorporates unique color combinations that “dare to be different.”
Trending artforms that are more nature-based include regenerative design, which often offers a creative and quirky mix of colors, designs and materials that “bring new life to anything that is abused, under-used or otherwise neglected.” There’s also Storm Chaser artwork that captures landscapes at tumultuous, but very colorful, moments in time.
She’s also watching how cuisine is often elevated to an artform, especially when it comes to baking and cocktails/specialty beverages.
When it comes to science, water – an essential source of life and energy to many lifeforms – is emerging as a theme in several ways. One is literally in terms of the popularity of the blue palette, which is often associated with clarity, health and balance. Another is in the popularity of products coming from ocean-related materials, whether seaweed or clay from the powdered shells of sea creatures. There’s also the continued popularity of pearlized finishes and metallics, which evoke the undulating motion of water.
Sustainability or nature-based color and designs continue to resonate, as does anything related to health and wellness.
Entertainment is one of the many industries Eiseman studies for future color trends and preferences. In this year’s session, she cited the latest Avatar movie – whose theme involves water; an upcoming sequel to Disney’s “Inside Out” – where each character or emotion assumes a color; and “Despicable Me 4,” which incorporates traditional blacks and whites, with a wide range of supporting colors.
She also noted that the colors in many of the action-adventure games that remain popular are definitely darker. While those colors are not for everyone – the lighter or mid-tone colors remain most popular – it’s important to note that some people may be more comfortable with them.
Eiseman closed her session by detailing each of the seven Pantone®View Home + Interiors 2024 palettes unveiled at the Show. Each one speaks to a different way consumers can move forward in our post-pandemic world in a tempting, positive and deeply human way.
• Sustenance – This palette reflects “the rituals of entertaining and dining that never goes out of style,” said Eiseman. It evokes feelings of creative cooking, love and laughter, and the joy of sharing. It involves greens, blue-greens, a yellow-green, some deeper tones and a suggestion of pink.
• Replenish – Eiseman called this “a water-born palette,” which involves many shades of blue but also incorporates apricot and pink to add “a touch of newness.” Evoking thoughts of self-care, hydration and calming bath rituals, it’s all about life balance and rejuvenation.
• Creative Mixology – Every color family is represented here – even earth tones – in this palette that Eiseman called “great fun.” This palette is all about individuality and experimentation, allowing for free-spirited aesthetics and the mixing of old and new.
• Sanctuary – For those who want softness and steadiness, Sanctuary offers relaxation and harmony with several pastels, mid-tones and a deeper, chocolate-like brown. It inspires a simple environment, where smart technology solutions are hidden underneath the surface.
• Stylist – Inspired by fashion crossovers, this combination features many blues and blue-greens, but also incorporates metallics, which add a sheen and “the feeling of undulating water.” This palette feels both traditional and contemporary and has universal appeal.
• Surrealism – Consumers looking to escape from the everyday with unexpected and unusual color combinations will likely appreciate this one. Described as “illogical, quirky and witty,” Surrealism evokes feelings of an uninhibited dream state.
• Scenic – Inspired by the prismatic hues in nature’s light spectrum, this palette is dynamic and visually arresting (think flashes of lightning, bold sunsets, reflections of bright colors on clouds). Pinks and purples combine with oranges and orange-pinks, as well as some earthy tones for a “quite beautiful” effect, Eiseman said.