Visual stimulus with a focus on wellbeing.

Colours can be used to create, break up and indicate a space and its function.

We are becoming more aware of the important role and affect the built environment has upon our lives; from where we learn, work and play. The links between art, aesthetics, the built environment and health and wellbeing are becoming a predominant focus and in turn, a new design ethos has emerged to ensure colour palettes are put together thoughtfully and are mindful of how they impact us both physically and mentally.

Colour alone can influence up to 90% of an individual’s first impression, while also subconsciously affecting moods, behaviours and stress levels. For example, blue is deemed a highly peaceful colour and can be especially helpful for stress management due to its encouraging powerful sense of calm. Equally, purple offers similar effects and represents strength, wisdom and peace in some cultures. On the other hand, red can represent danger, violence and aggression, while also encouraging a sense of warmth and passion.

As a studio we design each scheme which is informed by this breadth of analysis, we have often used colours to set the tone of a space with the intent of designing purposeful settings. At Bagot Street Student Living, Birmingham, we washed the floor, walls and soffit with the colour teal due to its renewal qualities that can make individuals feel revitalized and rejuvenated, this in turn maximises the spaces potential for users through aesthetic choices.

Colours alone can influence up to 90% of an initial impression. They also subconsciously affect moods, behaviours and stress levels.

As interior designer’s we can use colour to break-up a larger space into several zones and still retain functionality in a micro-setting, in what could be portrayed as an open plan layout lacking an innovative approach. It has been recognised in the workplace sector especially, creating zones of colour can encourage creativity, productivity, performance and even promote rest. Further to this the term ‘colour blocking’ became a key trend since 2018, first starting its life on the catwalk. This trend plays right into its hands of a designer who loves colour, or equally for a scheme which aims to feel enlivened, exciting and playful. Colour blocking done right can offer the illusion of more space, giving different activities for defined zones. This trend has risen on a domestic level, even more so since Covid-19 where individuals were forced to work from home, defining a space for work within your home can be made apparent through this approach.

For a number of our student living schemes this has proven to be successful where vast amenity areas can be broken down to create more meaningful settings for study and socialising, using colour as a tool to emphasise these settings. Naturally, we aim to create exciting and lively settings within amenity spaces therefore bold patterns, colour and textures are welcomed by clients to create a compelling palette of materials.

Some colour trends stay, and others fade. As a studio we believe colour still needs to work with the overall palette of materials of a scheme to work aesthetically and we often choose on the basis of building’s name or brand guidelines. We always aim to design timeless schemes, with longevity which harness the character of the architecture or work to offer a contemporary and fresh outlook.

For instance, The Refinery uses colour in different ways; boldly through a feature colour applied to exposed structure, and subtly through the weft of the carpet tiles we designed, both combined together create a balance which feels relatively understated despite the amount of saturated coral roaring through the photographs.