Color in the Modern Office

Color is an especially powerful and emotional part of design. Everything in the world has color. Everyone responds to color. When we apply color to a space, it can change the mood, application and purpose of the space. 

Coalesse recently released a new and refreshed knit palette for our popular SW_1 Seating. In light of the release, we asked Coalesse Global Director of Design John Hamilton to speak to the role of color in furniture and space design.

How does color impact our relationship with the physical space around us?

I’ve always felt that color and materiality go hand-in-hand. They can calm us down or energize us. Depending on the colors in any built space, you can evoke both physical and emotional reactions to the palette from the people who inhabit the spaces. 

If you’re trying to make a space that feels calm, relaxing, rejuvenating, a space where you may go to focus, you might consider colors that are deeper, cooler and something that people respond to as if they were in a quieter, more natural space. 

If you were trying to create a space about energy and collaboration even socialization, you might choose colors that are brighter, lively, have more energy to them to get people up and interacting with each other. 

How can color be used to refresh a product line, like SW_1 Seating?

It’s interesting. The products that we’re creating and the spaces that we’re building are so influenced by the material and choice of color. Now with new colors, you see the products in new ways. It’s the same product, yet it looks more contemporary, up-to-date. Just like we change our clothes or lipsticks or any of those things we personalize. It’s a means of personalizing those objects in those spaces. 

In the new colors, you can combine the paint and material finishes in new ways. You can create a monochromatic expression, a polychromatic expression, a polychromatic expression that’s contrasting, or tone-on-tone. You can combine matte with gloss. You start playing with the palette of color, and the pieces look completely new and different than they did in the past. 

Why is color important in today’s workplace?

Today, many products are described as feeling very corporate. What’s exciting to me is using color and materiality in a way that take these high performing products that are designed for the workplace but design them so that they don’t feel like they are high performing products designed for the workplace. Materiality is a nice way of doing that. It’s a way in which you and present something in a way that feels like it’s from somewhere else but functions and works for the workplace. 

You know how hard working and effective our products are. They have power built in to them. They look like residential tables, yet you can still plug devices into them. When you use a new palette on them, they feel even more residential. They connect you to the space even more and make you feel more comfortable in the space. They can help you create a space that doesn’t feel like a workplace. It feels like a place you would choose to work. 

That’s what Coalesse is about. Helping people create spaces they want to work in, not places they have to work in. They choose to go there; they’re not forced to go there. Color and materiality are part of that.

What color story or family are you most excited about?

I love all my children equally, but if I had to choose right now, I’d choose the yellow family. There has always been a challenge with finding great yellows, and I think the palette has found some new versions of these burnt, deeper yellow, mustard colors that are really nice and fresh. They connect to our desert inspirations. It’s also a color that we haven’t seen as often, and I like seeing it in the spaces. I think it connects with the warm woods that we’re using often. It’s also a beautiful contrast to some of the other colors in the palette.

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