The Power Of Colour

Paola Govoni (CSIL – Centre for Industrial Studies – Milan, Italy) reports on the role of colour in our life and living styles.

Photo 1. Chemise armchair
by MY home collection
People want to live, work and play in colourful environments. The strong communicative power of colour is a common denominator of all cultures, although the perceptions and meanings of colours may be different and also vary significantly from one country to the next, from one culture to another.

All around the word, people are more and more fascinated with colour and with its power to convey messages and explore meanings. Colours are often associated with a state of mind, that can generate relaxation, energy, wellbeing or even a kind of discomfort.

Colour is a dimension that trendsetters, brands and designers should always take into account as a priority. Choosing the right colour may be crucial for the creation of a successful product or for outlining a winning strategy. And the opposite is also true.


Announcing Pantone 18-3838 Ultra Violet ‘Color of the Year 2018’, the Pantone Color Institute presented it as follows: ‘A dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade, PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity and visionary thinking that points us towards the future (...) Ultra Violet lights the way to what is yet to come’.

Colours go beyond trends and become tools to help understand the world we live in and where people’s feelings lead to in a fast changing sociocultural environment.


MY home collection is an Italian manufacturer of furniture and accessories for a designconscious style. With its head office near Florence, the company has always made the expressive power of colour one of its most distinctive traits. A collection of soft furnishings in ‘Ultra Violet’ nuance has recently been launched: a vibrant and decisive shade of violet, a symbol of experimentation and creativity, a strong personality and a lively temperament.

The Chemise armchair (Photo 1), designed by Ilaria Innocenti and Giorgio Laboratore of Li-do Studio, accentuates the roundness of its design thanks to the abundant fabric lining, wrapped in a tubular belt-ring. Bulé (Photo 2) stands out for its particular design resembling a mushroom inspired by the organic, living and moving language of nature. This pouffe designed by Lorenzo Palmeri can be transformed into a comfortable table-top, an alternative to the classic coffee table. The Jolie armchair with its soft and enveloping shapes and the Weekend sofa (Photo 3) with tubular legs, both designed by Angeletti Ruzza Design, are also in Ultra Violet.

Photo 3. Weekend sofa

Photo 2. Bulé,
mushroom-shaped pouffe
Photo 5. Faro kitchen open units

Photo 4. Faro kitchen from ARAN Cucine

Launched by the Italian kitchen furniture manufacturer ARAN Cucine based in Atri, Teramo, the Faro model in 22 mm thick MDF covered in polymeric sheet is characterised by the linearity of the door, slightly rounded at the edges. Available with both handle and concave recess opening, in more than one profile, Faro is characterised by simplicity and sophisticated rigour and is available in a full range of design possibilities, with personalized cuts of the top and combinations of different materials. The matt aubergine composition (Photo 4) features oak almond open units and wall system (Photo 5), with Eclisse handle, magnetic back panel and wall plamky finish.


The project called ‘Segrete Stanze’ (Secret Rooms) realised by Elisa Ossino Studio for Barovier & Toso, a leading Italian manufacturer of glass lighting fixtures based in Murano, Venice, focuses on the power of white as a pure, refined and essential colour, resulting from the sum of all colours. Historically a symbol of wellbeing, serenity and eco-sustainability, white slowly swings between immaterial and tangible appearances (Photo 6).

Over the centuries, white has been widely chosen for building impressive architecture, both civil and religious. A symbol of purity and neutrality, festive liturgy and mourning, it is an example of how the meaning of colour may vary, according to different cultures.

Photo 8. Relaxing aquamarine
nuances from Flexform MOOD
Photo 6. The ‘Segrete Stanze’ project from Barovier & Toso
Photo 7. Refined chromatic mix from Flexform


Sofas, armchairs, tables, chairs and beds from Flexform, an Italian furniture manufacturer based in Meda, Milan, generate true islands of wellbeing and create welcoming “nesting refuges” with smooth chromatic mixes (Photo 7).

The sophisticated colour palette of the Flexform MOOD collection emphasizes its intimate and refined character, featuring iridescent fabrics, unprecedented textures and nuances ranging from forest green to aquamarine, from rust to mauve. Shapes have the charm and taste of our memories and coverings include materic fabrics of the finest sartorial tradition. Chromatic research accompanies the whole narration of these products.

Forest green creates a pleasant contrast in an environment dominated by neutral tones. The nuances of aquamarine are relaxing and give the room a warm intimacy (Photo 8). Rust is a warm colour that creates a perfect contrast with shades of grey and brown (Photo 9).


Intercolor is an international Association made up of 15 member countries across Europe, Asia and America and includes China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Each national association brings together experienced professionals from different areas of colour concept and application in fields like design, fashion, furnishings, home, industry, craft, art and tradition.

The Intercolor Congress – held twice a year – was hosted at a public Convention in Milan on 29th November (Photo 10), followed by a two-day meeting on 30th November and 1st December 2017.

Prominent colour experts from the industry, design, art and fashion exchanged views on the theme of colour, involving journalists, retail operators, stakeholders and opinion leaders with reference to case histories, experiences, Research & Development, innovation and new technologies applied to colour.

Chromatic values were shared with participants to prove the power of colour as a strong element of integration and communication and one also capable of influencing consumers’ choices.

The vision of colour as a ‘multicultural psychotherapy’ emerged from the speakers’ contributions, as well as its role in the sociocultural development of each country. A further issue was the meaning of colour as a global paradigm of expression and a key to the reading of our daily life.


In the course of the two-day meeting of exchanges and talks, the representatives of the 15 countries associated with Intercolor defined the basic concepts and colour ranges of the Autumn-Winter season 2019-2020.

Reportedly, the forthcoming Autumn-Winter 2019-2020 season is expected to be marked by multiplicity, rich in contrasts, but also characterised by new chromatic alliances between digital and natural, real and virtual, emotion and rationality.

With respect to new lifestyles, optimism and pessimism will be a stimulus for generating dynamic and positive reactions, with the aim of giving life to creative and original atmospheres. New value parameters will be attributed to already known situations, with the aim of continuous innovation.

‘Harmonious Discord’ is the paradox of the season, which divides the colours in five groups:
- Pretty Toxic, changing natural tones, contaminated and evaporated green.
- Amplified Emotions, a range of intense colours, caramelized reds, radiant pinks and energetic oranges.
- Awakening, silent atmosphere, ephemeral colours, foggy grey and blue tones, or cold and crystalline ones.
- Data Nature, a set of bio-synthetic tones, acid or very clear molecular pastels in a sort of digital eternity.
- Beautiful Collapse, dark dyed, dense, blackened tones that highlight unusual, deformed, and tactile surfaces.

Photo 9. Warm rust nuances from Flexform MOOD

Photo 10. The Intercolor Convention held in Milan on 29th November 2017