The world would be a dull place without colour. Very dull, and almost incomprehensible as, thanks to nature and nurture, colour guides us sub-consciously through almost everything we see and do. 

Red tells us to watch out and it also makes us feel warm and loving while yellow cheers us up, it lifts the spirit and highlights details without shouting. Black keeps us on the straight and narrow, it is the pure, luxury standard that makes us feel smart and safe while, last but not least, there is green. My favourite.

Green tells us to go and it is usually used as a way of telling us all is well (on a form, ticks are green and crosses are red). But it is the colour green’s evident connection with nature and its ability to calm the senses, slow the heart rate and quieten a busy brain, that appeals most to me. 

And it is that connection to nature that led an expert panel of colour designers, trend forecasters, architects and design specialists to choose a green tone as the Dulux Colour of the Year for 2020.

Tranquil Dawn™ (above) is one of a series of colours in four new palettes – Meaning (‘below), Creativity, Care and Play – that have been inspired by nature and the changing seasons’ sunrises in particular.

“A new decade heralds a new dawn and the hazy pale green tones of Tranquil Dawn™ are calming and comforting just when we need it most in our lives. When paired with neutral pastels and rich jewels [the colour] becomes incredibly powerful at creating spaces that encourage making better human connections,’ says panel member Marianne Shillingford, Creative Director of Dulux UK.

For my part, the launch of this chalky pale green hue has reminded me that it is a rich vein of colour running throughout the history of decorative arts and interior design. Consider the ancient Chinese Celadon or greenware pottery, prized for its jade colour which was the result of the iron in the slip used to coat the stoneware reacting with the top coat – a glaze – during the firing process.

Shades of duck egg blue were a key feature of Neo-Classical designer and architect Robert Adam’s colour palette – I was standing beneath his famous Adelphi drawing room ceiling in the Victoria and Albert Museum only the other day – and the colour strayed into muddier, darker shades as well as paler, creamier ones in the hands of designers such as William Burges (in his design for the drawing room ceiling at Sir John Heathcoat-Amory’s Gothic Revival manor house, Knightshayes, for instance) and William Morris, whose textile designs such as Acanthus, Lotus Leaf and Strawberry Thief continue to furnish our homes, classic and contemporary, today.

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