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Michaela Lancaster – Head of Design

My position is to oversee and drive the design of amazing spaces. The essence of engaging design will always be about people – how they use a space and how it makes them feel. It is about the realities of what makes for an attractive, inspiring, and meaningful environment, not about passing fads or fashion. It is rewarding to work closely with our clients to identify their vision and then translating that into full design solutions.

What’s your colour?

It has long been accepted – by artists, fashion designers and interior designers in particular – that colours can affect our mood. Yellows are believed to be agitating, greens can be refreshing, and cold blues can be calming. Dining rooms decorated in warm reds and oranges are supposed to encourage conversation and social interaction.

Colour can sway thinking, change actions, and cause reactions. Wearing brightly coloured clothes can improve your mood, or even feel empowering, and can help to raise our spirits or the spirits of others. What colours inspire you?

Personally, in my work – the bolder the colours, the better! As Claude Monet said, ‘Colour is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.’ As a powerful form of communication, colour is irreplaceable.

I have seen a thousand times how the clever use of colour can totally transform the form, feel and function of a space.


Discovering colour

So how did it start? Well, Aristotle developed the first known theory of colour believing it was sent by God from heaven through celestial rays of light. Back in 1666, Sir Isaac Newton passed pure white light through a glass prism and found that the light separated into all the visible colours – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Colour is nothing more than how a person perceives the light waves that enter their eye but how glorious the outcome.

More experiments showed that by combining different colours, you could create yet more colours – for example, yellow and red mixed together made orange. As artists and interior designers know all too well, mixing colours to create new tones and hues can be a beautifully satisfying experience.


The Psychology of Colour

Colour is a powerful communication tool and can be used to signal action, influence mood, and even influence physiological reactions.

Certain colours have been associated with increased blood pressure, increased metabolism, and eyestrain. A careful choice of colour can have a positive impact on the user’s ability to learn – the colour of everything, furniture, carpets, and walls could all make a difference.

Yet, according to a recent paper by educational consultant Kendra Cherry, colour psychology isn’t a well-developed or well-understood area. Researchers Andrew Elliott and Markus Maier noted that ‘Little theoretical or empirical work has been conducted to date on colour’s influence on psychological functioning, and the work that has been done has been driven mostly by practical concerns, not scientific rigour.’

But despite the lack of scientific research in this area, colour seems to have a huge impact on our everyday lives and is influential in the fields of art, fashion, design and marketing. Colour can help us to see spaces in a whole new way.

Colour Harmony

Harmony can be defined as a pleasing arrangement of parts, whether it be music, poetry, colour, or even a bouquet of flowers.

In visual experiences, harmony is pleasing to the eye. It engages the viewer and it creates an inner sense of order, of balance. When something is not visually harmonious, it’s either boring or chaotic.

At one extreme is a visual experience that is so bland that the viewer is not engaged. The human brain will reject under-stimulating information. At the other extreme is a visual experience that is so overdone, so chaotic that the viewer can’t stand to look at it. The human brain rejects what it cannot easily organise and interpret.

Creating visual harmony is incredibly important to us at WF when designing public or educational spaces and I consider colour combinations almost scientifically in our work.


Our Range

Sometimes I like to challenge myself with unusual colour schemes…and I use my work to express my love of colour.

When we were designing and collating the Everna™ range of modular furniture, we wanted to create a core palette of colours. Each was carefully selected for its ability to complement the others and for each to enhance the others. Reducing the number of colours in this core range did nothing to limit the number of possible combinations but helped to create harmonious schemes.

We, of course, have a huge range of other colours available to our customers, so that your scheme truly reflects the needs of your audience, or even a school crest or your surrounding environment.

2020 was a challenging year for projects within education, and 2021 continues to feel the after-effects of the pandemic, so why not upgrade your space and “colour your world” with our range of carefully curated furniture and finishes.

To talk to Michaela about your next project or your love of colour, contact her today…

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