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World views (Pt. II)

Not as far away as you think

Earthly fortitude

IN A MODERN WORLD filled with economic concerns, concrete jungles and oil spills, the concept of living with nature can seem like a distant memory of a forgotten age.
     But as new communications technologies become cheaper and more mainstream, it's easier than ever to bridge the gap between city and rural living. Ironically, these new technologies can actually act to help advance the idea of simple, natural living and to promote the spread of sustainable practices, cultures and colors.

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     "A global balance is being achieved as communications technology shrinks the oceans and miles between us, and as what once was foreign blurs into familiar," according to Benjamin Moore's Color Forecast. "On the style front, this is visible in ‘ethnic glam' designs, pattern-on-pattern, map motifs and hand-worked decoration such as beading and embroidery."
     Benjamin Moore's Soulful palette interprets the global eco-conscious as a collection of pastel-like hues of predominantly earthen shades. Vintage Wine, Wasabi, a brownish-clay hue named Etruscan, a soft olive tone titled Amulet, a delicate taupe named Hush and a deep turquoise titled Casco Bay make up the Soulful collection. Vintage Wine is the standout flavor from the group.
     "It is an anchoring and rich hue with a deep brown base and a hint of smoky violet," said Sonu Mathew, ASID, the company's senior interior designer, who also blogs about color and design. "Vintage Wine is the perfect foil for the latest wood finishes, leathers, linens and other textiles."
     From Pantone's Resilience palette, Black Coffee resembles Benjamin Moore's Vintage Wine. Both colors are dark shades of brown enriched by hints of red that call to mind outdoor living and handcraft smanship. According to Pantone's 2012 color forecast, "Resilience represents a group of sturdy hues that work very well together. It speaks of hand-hewn objects of substance, sustenance and solidity in a range of natural, outdoor shades."
     Barbara Jacobs, Color and Design, identifies two distinct directions for color in 2012: "Clear and light colors, and complex and muted colors." Jacobs' predicted palette includes the lighter Dune and Fieldstone, and distinct, fuller colors like Etruscan and Red Clay.
     Jacobs said her palette pulls inspiration from renewable and reusable resources, natural materials and textures, and "a viewpoint of color use relating to ‘The Human Connection' and creating healthy environments."
     Pantone enlivens Resilience with complex shades of straw, leaves and salmon. "There are nuances of the deepest browns, varietal mushroom tones, foliage green and greenish yellow. A dash of flamingo orange adds an exotic touch to this otherwise organic grouping," the company wrote in its 2012 color forecast.
     It is Resilience's exotic touches - Oil Yellow, a warm foliage green titled Oasis and Flamingo - that distinguish the palette. The various earthen tones - the sand-toned Fog, the light bark-colored Chanterelle, Black Coffee, a strong brown named Dachshund and Shitake - provide stability in familiarity, while the exotic additions signal experimentation and growth.

Speaking vintage

COLOR CONTINUOUSLY LOOKS to the past to inspire the future. "Color moves in evolutionary rather than revolutionary cycles," said The Trend Curve's Lamb. "We think hues relating to historical trends can provide consumers with a firm foundation."

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     Pantone's palette Transcending Time helps explain history's influence on the future. "Transcending Time is a palette that speaks of continuity - inspirations from the past, both style and color-wise, which continue well into the future - containing hues that heirlooms are made of, including elegant wine and plum, warm beige and wood tones, as well as classic rose. A touch of frosted almond adds a soft and subtle glimmer to the atmosphere," according to the company's 2012 color forecast.
     "This is a palette that evokes movies like The King's Speech or the Boardwalk Empire series on HBO," Pantone's Eiseman said. "That era (1920s-1940s) is very romantic. It's a vintage that is very, very classic and very subdued."
     The trend finds a further base in varying shades of taupe and, as Lamb describes it, "the ‘mauve-itization' of purple." Some examples of these shades are also found in Pantone's palette titled Nonchalance. The rosy Pink Nectar, robust Grape Compote and earthen Plaza Taupe extend this time travel trend into less bold shades. Laura Guido-Clark, principal of Laura Guido-Clark Design, foresees a palette that lacks the shades of wine and plum, but shares a taste for taupe.
     "One of the color directions we will see is a reassuringly simple palette that is also weighted and rooted with earthy, vintage color," Guido-Clark said. "The palettes pull from a bit of nostalgia, simplicity and earthbound colors. It helps create an escape from visual overload and is fresh, yet grounded. We want optimism, but expressed in a cleansing palette with bits of warmth and natural shades."
     Finding strength and identity in the past helps us move into the future. Look to vintage styles in furniture, upholstery and accents to showcase these classic shades, though with design twists that offer a slight modern panache.
     "The balance and proportion is inspired by a quiet strength and subtlety," Guido-Clark said. "We want to unclutter our minds and think optimistically. These are clean neutrals that are slightly muted, mixed with softer earthy colors. It is no longer about our desire to escape, but to feel grounded while looking toward the future."

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