We have weathered the storms that sometimes brew both outside as well as inside our souls during the winter months. March arrives, bringing with it positivity and expectation as nature explodes into growth.
In the world of interior design, new collections of paint, fabric and wallpaper hit the shelves and we are off again – in my case, compulsively dreaming up new design scenarios and colour schemes at home (whether necessary or not!) or for work, overflowing with ideas.
When embarking on a creative project, where do we find inspiration? Do we look to others to help steer our path? The high street, home and fashion magazines, or social media? Or do we seek out the unusual, hidden independent shops, or museums, art galleries and such like.
One place we often forget to look for inspiration is right under our nose. As we rush about from one place to another going about our business, watching the clock or, sadly more and more these days, our phones, we forget to take stock of what is going on around us. If we take a moment to stop and look up, inspiration is everywhere. I am of course talking about the great outdoors.
One has to admit that when it comes to design, mother nature has got it covered. You only have to look at the intricate structure of a spider’s web, a snail shell, a pineapple or flower head to see genius on full display. For generations, designers have drawn inspiration from nature, and its creations continue to influence many contemporary projects: Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona for example, paying homage to a forest bathed in fractured light; Norman Foster’s Gherkin in London, inspired by a type of sea sponge; Nicholas Grimshaw’s Eden Project in Cornwall, making use of the Fibonacci spiral pattern; and the shell-like sphere of Sydney Opera House in Australia, designed by Jorn Utson, to name just a few. When it comes to interiors, the structural shape of a space is just as important and influences the design process. The interior furnishings often reflect our appreciation for all the wonders of nature using natural materials, colour combinations, and the pattern and texture found in all living things.
This is the perfect time of year to step outdoors and look with fresh eyes, so I set you this task: find ten things in your garden or elsewhere that have colour, texture and pattern. The more you look the more you will see. Take a walk in the woods, visit your local fruit and vegetable shop or florist, go down to the bay and study the colour variations on the wet pebbles and the yellow ochre of our magnificent coastline - you will be surprised at the abundance around you. For me this also includes such things as the effects of weather on a rusty old tin roof, the patina on metals and aged wood, and the distressed layers of paint worn off an abandoned shed.
All these things can influence our interiors and feed our soul. Imagine a newly decorated room paying homage to the colour combinations found outside: an evening sky, autumn leaves, or the powdery pigment of a moth’s wings. Your favourite reading chair upholstered in a moss green velvet. A collection of shells or photographs from your travels. Houseplants and flowers. Decorative lighting creating atmosphere by highlighting the special features of a space.
As nature often leads the way, the colours on trend this year are the earthier pigments. Ever popular pale pinks are added to with a selection of deeper, more sultry, warm clay pink and brown, rusty hues. Honey creams and mustard yellow/orange ochres are named ‘the new magnolia’ while bold and darker greens (natures favourite) take centre stage over the safer tones of sage. Dark blues also show no sign of disappearing and are great for creating a cosy feel in the bedroom or living room, paired with lighter-coloured accessories and warm lighting. All that aside, you get to choose what you like - the possibilities are endless and, who knows, maybe you’ll be the trailblazer for 2020’s colours.
So, let us look up and all around, to hunt and gather life’s gifts and take pleasure in the thought that the best things in life are free.
Published in the March 2019 edition of Bridport Times magazine: bridporttimes.co.uk