28 October 2020

Green is the new black

With all due respect to the Pantone Color Institute, which pronounced Classic Blue to be the leading colour for 2020, this year the role of protagonist – not just in furnishing and design but in a number of different contexts, from technology to politics – is being taken up by green. In all its different shades. Democratically. To good use, what’s more.

First of all, it’s the most common colour in nature, which is why the human eye literally perceives green more than any other colour, even before it picks up on red and blue. Right in the middle of the colour spectrum, between the poise of blue and the energy of yellow, it’s fair to say that green is the great harmoniser. Often described as a relaxing colour, it has a physiological effect on the nervous system, making us breathe slowly and deeply and helping the heart to relax and recharge, channelling that feeling of equilibrium, serenity and positive energy that we feel when we are surrounded by it. It also boosts reflection and creativity and puts us in a good mood.

In all cultures, green symbolises the desire to start again, to change direction, stay strong – it represents life that goes on, grows and is renewed; it expresses power, tenacity, perseverance and stability. It is the colour of those who believe in themselves and in their own potential.

It also speaks to our “being human” because it reminds us that we are intrinsically connected with the natural world. Even though we now lead increasingly digital and urban lives, far from our natural habitat, instinct makes us go back to our origins, spurring us to look increasingly obsessively for solutions that will enable us to bring green back into urban environments, through well-thought-out urban planning, architecture that is in symbiosis with nature, and sustainable and recyclable design.

Green erupted onto the scene, perhaps not entirely surprisingly in 2020, bringing with it that feeling of reassurance that we’ve all yearned for, given the complex political and social situation, and a symbol of our desire to retrieve our connection with health, nature and other people.

It’s hardly surprising, therefore, that furnishing producers have channelled it for all their latest collections. None of its thirty-six shades seem to have been neglected – from the brightest, such as Lime and Spring Green, to more delicate ones such as Celadon and Moss Green; the boldest ones, such as British Racing Green and Myrtle to burnt colours such as Olive Green and the more mineral ones such as Verdigris and Alpine Green.

This colour is an excellent choice for walls and floors, because it brightens up spaces, making them look bigger and refreshed. Laminam has taken this on board, with a bold and unconventional surface covering: Verderame from the Ossido collection reproduces the oxidising process in brass and metal sheets, making for a strong, rich colour that simulates the effects of atmospheric agents on the material. In this case, interior lighting has a fundamental role to play by setting up intriguing and constantly-changing reflections.

Verderame, Laminam

Golran, on the other hand, has extended a metaphorical invitation to walk barefoot in the garden with its Garden of Eden rugs by India Mahdavi. March, with its pattern of regular leaves gradually overlapping towards the centre, seems to move with the wind, showing off all the Springtime shades: Grass Green, British Racing Green, Olive Green, Jade Green and Moss Green.

March, design India Mahdavi, Golran - Photo by Daniele De Carolis

Yuri Himuro has gone for Forest Green in Cultivate for cc-tapis. It is a totally customisable rug crafted from wool, made in India and created using the new jacquard Snip Snap textile weaving technique, its design only becoming apparent when the woven threads are snipped, revealing a double structure within the fabric.

Cultivate, design Yuri Himuro, cc-tapis - ©Dario Salamone

The fact that green instils trust and serenity, puts people at their ease, and encourages them to open up to each other, makes it the ideal shade for living rooms. Roche Bobois along with Joana Vasconcelos has chosen the boldest, freshest and most acidic tones for one of the sofas in the Bombom collection, created to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the brand - upholstered pieces in fluid, organic shapes that can be put together as desired, rounding each other off, for a shot of optimism and a burst of energy that is hard to miss.

Bombom, design Joana Vasconcelos, Roche Bobois

Draga&Aurel’s nubuck leather Brigitte sofa for Baxter achieves a different result, despite its rounded and harmonious shapes. Lagoon, a borderline shade of green and blue, serves to bring out its contemporary, beguiling comfort.

Brigitte, design Draga&Aurel, Baxter - Photo by Andrea Ferrari

Bright Emerald Green marks out the “feathers” of the Pavone capsule collection, born of the collaboration between artist and designer Marc Ange and Visionnaire, and inspired by the ancient bestiaries and the fragile, seductive beauty of the peacock, from which it takes its name. The Pavone throne is a stand-alone piece, a ceremonial chair that explores the concept of seduction without compromise, while the armchairs represent a “ready-made” version.

Pavone, design Marc Ange, Visionnaire

Blurring the lines between past, present and future, the Pacha Lounge Chair from Gubi marries a classical spirit with an extremely contemporary design. Ergonomic and comfortable, it was created in 1975 by the designer Pierre Paulin and has now been revisited by Gubi. The Olive Green velvet fabric is an evocative dark yellowy-green shade that bestows liveliness and cheer on any space.

Pacha Lounge Chair, design Pierre Paulin, Gubi

Minotti’s Daiki chairs, born of the passion of Marcio Kogan and his studio, mk27 design for the Japanese culture, are clad in Mint Green and are suitable for outdoor use in spaces conceived and treated as extensions of indoor living rooms. Their design explores and reinterprets the Mid-Century American atmospheres, giving new life to contemporary outdoor furnishing style, with their bold, clean lines, the sophisticated crafting of the teak and their balanced proportions.

Daiki Outdoor Armchairs, design Marcio Kogan/studio mk27 design, Minotti

Tables and occasional tables are also protagonists of the living and dining rooms. Going for green here means reawakening the desire to get together as well as the appetite! That could well be why Michael Anastassiades chose Alpine Green marble for his first collection of tables for Molteni&C.Half a Square is a deeply minimalist project in terms of design, but the choice of materials is lush, and the designer’s engineering training almost takes the upper hand, making for a unique, intriguing object.

Half a square, design Michael Anastassiades, Molteni&C

Massimo Castagna has chosen the same marble for the new uncompromisingly round Zen Black table for Gallotti&Radice, the upshot of a quest for style involving shapes and materials, its particular design making for a powerfully visual impact.

Zen Black, design Massimo Castagna, Gallotti&Radice

At Fendi, natural colours prevail, making for a touch of intense modernity and glamour. They have been harnessed for the Boogie Coffee and Side Tables with back-decorated Green Tea glass – the same as the Prisme Color range of coffee and side tables – and the omnipresent Alpine Green marble, also to be found in the Anya Lite coffee table, with the latest addition of Forest Green. All in all, a riot of green in blocks of pure, dominant colour.

Margaret armchair, Prisme Color coffee tables, Anya Lite coffee table, Fendi Casa

Green also looks versatile and sophisticated when used for open storage systems. One such example is Modern by Piero Lissoni for Porro: a container system for living rooms, which harnesses the “full up” concept to enliven entire walls dressed in Black Sugi melamine which open up to reveal secret cubby holes painted in a delicate Sage Green, paired with Emerald Green Marble footboards.

Modern, design Piero Lissoni, Porro

The rigorous geometrical purity of the Florens sideboard, with its generous, compact volumes, designed by Oscar and Gabriele Buratti for Lema, is offset by the natural tones of Dill. The monolithic shape of the pure solid and its pure graphic lines reveal its strong personality, mitigated only by the delicate plant-like shade.

Florens, design Oscar e Gabriele Buratti, Lema

Where bathrooms are concerned, green makes for relaxing, cocooning spaces. Agape has taken this on board with its attractive, rounded free-standing Alpine Green marble In-Out tub by Benedini Associati – a design that achieves a balance of beauty and function, with a powerful emotive dimension.

In-Out, design Benedini Associati, Agape

Finally, those keen to introduce this colour into the home, restoring a sense of beauty and reconnecting with nature, need not necessarily change the furnishing, but can simply put the focus on accessories. JCP Universe has come up with Glacoja, for example, a vase and centrepiece that seem to have been carved right in the heart of an iceberg. These are unique pieces, carved out of blocks of Plexiglass, in a blend of technology and craftsmanship.

Glacoja, JCP Universe

FOS Ceramiche’s Porifera collection of vases, bowls and modular decorative elements feature a texture inspired by corals, channelling the ocean floor, and the astonishing, exotic shapes of its creatures. The irregular surfaces and use of metal oxides make for light green, evanescent colour combinations that render each object unique.

Porifera Collection, FOS Ceramiche

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