Last week, as part of its ColourNext initiative, Asian Paints revealed to the design world the Colour of the Year – ‘Curiosity’. If you haven’t already read about the intensive process that goes behind making a distilled call like that, you can read our detailed story about how this particular shade of blue was chosen, here.
As the leading paint company in India, Asian Paints has unique insight into the world of colour, making it perfectly placed to know how colour affects design and consumer choices. As our editor said in her Ed’s Letter last week: I won’t bore you with a short dissertation on why this exercise matters—you could just watch the ‘Blue Sweater Scene’ (described precisely like that on YouTube) from Devil Wears Prada. Suffice to say, this selection of colours will go on to inform product design choices throughout the coming year in a variety of fields, from home décor to fashion.
To reinforce the importance of how the colour forecast influences design in every arena, Asian Paints offered up beautiful products designed especially with ‘Curiosity’, the Colour of the Year. Exploring the versatility of Curiosity, Asian Paints has collaborated with a diverse group of designers and artists to use the colour in a one-of-a-kind catalogue of products unveiled at ColourNext 2020 last week.
From furniture to fashion, art prints to table accessories, Curiosity inspired the designers to experiment and engage with the colour in innovative ways. Here’s a look at how each one discovered a unique aspect to Curiosity:
Table Linen by No-Mad
No-Mad’s addition to the Colour of the Year catalogue is a collection of Ikat-embroidered table linen. The brand, which is partial to 100% natural fibres deviated from its signature muted palette with its Curiosity-dyed linen collection—although its use of Ikat stays true to No-Mad’s affinity for bold, graphic motifs. “To make it more special, we have styled a full table using props from the No-Mad collection,” says brand founder Anuj Kothari. No-Mad’s iconic thali trays have also been coated in Curiosity for the occasion.
The Strings Cabinet by Scarlet Splendour
A classic from the Scarlet Splendour catalogue, Nika Zupanc’s Strings Cabinet is a feat of innovation, in which strings of hard steel are evenly arranged to create a sculptural cabinet. For ColourNext, Scarlet Splendour reimagined the cabinet in Curiosity—thereby enhancing the wave-like formation and texture. “The Strings Cabinet is an elegant paradox,” suggests brand co-founder Ashish Bajoria. “It is versatile in its use, with spacious shelves and soft edges.” The piece is an ornament in its own right—a piece of exquisitely innovative design that defies materiality, and evokes the core essence of Curiosity.
Artwork by Kulture Shop
Contemporary art collective Kulture Shop commissioned two new works by Uma Gokhale and Abhilash Baddha for the ColourNext collaboration. Gokhale’s Cheetahs in Morocco is a whimsical pattern on which wildlife frolics through the architectural motifs of Marrakech, against the soothing tones of Curiosity. Baddha’s VR the People and Bubblegum Tokyo talk about technological development and contemporary culture—in both these works, Curiosity represents a younger, brighter, cooler future. “It is a bold, confident and strong colour,” offers Kunal Anand, Curator and Art Design Director of Kulture Shop. “It’s the kind of colour that inspires a sense of rejuvenation.” In addition to Gokhale and Baddha’s work, Kulture Shop will be bringing back pieces by Shruti Ventakaraman, Jyotirmayee Patra, Kanika Sethi and Kunal Anand.
Furniture and Rugs by Hatsu
Hatsu’s collaboration with Asian Paints is especially noteworthy because of the brand’s innovative manufacturing process. “We like to play with a lot of metal--because it shows dependability and sturdiness,” says Saumil Suchak, founder of Hatsu. For the Colour of the Year collaboration, Hatsu has crafted a side table, a chair and a floor lamp in steel and aluminium, in silhouettes that evoke the brand’s appreciation for clean lines and elegant contours. The metals have been anodised in Curiosity. “Anodising adds colour but it still shows the finish of the material… there’s no layer or covering.” Hatsu has also created a hand-woven carpet for the collaboration, crafted using traditional techniques and natural materials, but with a bold modern geometric print.
Safomasi is presenting a wool rug, two cotton-linen cushion covers, a bedcover and a cotton-linen lampshade, all hand-dyed in Curiosity, for the ColourNext collaboration. “We do hand-screen-printing, for the cushions and the lampshade,” says Sarah Fotheringham, co-founder of Safomasi, “There’s a vibrancy that you get with that process… you get a slight variation in the colour in cotton-linen, it becomes very vibrant.” The patterns on the textiles were inspired be the founders’ travels to Cappadocia in Turkey, and frescoes and paintings they saw in the caves and churches there. Interestingly, will be the first time Safomasi is producing a rug in blue—and it will also be the first time pom-poms make an appearance on their cushion covers.
Fashion by Ka-Sha
Karishma Shahani Khan who is behind the label Ka-Sha, is no stranger to blue. “It was already a very integral part of our Spring-Summer 2020 line,” she says. “And Curiosity is such an easy colour to work with - it is so intrinsic to India.” Crafted in Ka-Sha’s signature cottons and chanderis, hand-dyed and hand-embroidered with floral motifs, Ka-Sha’s garments for ColourNext are an ode to the environment. “We’re always trying to tell stories through clothes--we're talking about who made the product, and how it feels, it’s really inspired from what is around us,” she says.
Nyx bar stool by Spin
Curiosity features in Spin’s Nyx bar stool, a Scandinavian-inspired fusion of wood and metal. An aluminium steel seat, powder-coated in Curiosity, is cradled on a solid oak leg frame constructed as a single piece. Part of the brand’s Nyx series of products, the bar stool is typically available in a range of colour options, but Curiosity sets it apart. “The bold blue adds to the silhouette and design appeal of the product,” explains Spin co-founder Avenish Jain. “It also goes really well with oak wood with a natural finish.”
Ophelia Lamp by Josmo
Josmo’s table lamp is “inspired by the opera and everything dramatic,” as brand founder Anjali Mody puts it. “The quirky colours and warm glow remind you of that feeling of walking into a theatre right before the lights go out.” The lamp, which comprises a frosted glass orb on a satin-finished duco-painted base, strikes the quirky chord of Curiosity—bringing a sense of whimsy to an otherwise minimal design concept.