“Having fallen in love with colour as a child» (her words), Marie Augagneur turned her passion into her profession through a careful choice of studies. Having graduated from a Parisian school of applied arts, she moved on to the prestigious Parson design school in New York before finally settling in Lyon, becoming an independent consultant at the gorgeous interiors store Ressource in rue Auguste Comte
“A sense of harmony betweeb floors and walls is the future of interior design”
Hidden away in a small shopping street in Lyon is a gem of a shop that goes by the name of Ressource, a haven for amateur and professional decorators seeking expert advice on paint. As we step through the door, Marie Augagneur, a colour consultant at Ressource for the past 13 years, sits us down for a private lesson on the secrets to decorating success…
We couldn’t have pictured any better setting in which to unravel the mysteries of the colour wheel and discover the latest interior design trends.
Before we start discussing trends, could you just say a few words about what colour means to you?
Not just me, but everybody! Colour is a universal emotion. It starts out as a set of wavelengths that bounce off an object.
Whenever you arrive somewhere, you are immediately bombarded with colours. You can’t help but notice them! And these colours create an atmosphere, a vibe that predetermines our behaviour. Red generates excitement, blue is relaxing, yellow improves our ability to concentrate… That is why it is so important to think very carefully about which colours to use, whether it be in your own lounge at home, a hospital waiting room or a busy supermarket.
How are trends changing in this particular field?
At Ressource, we sort trends into decades. We find that putting them into “historic” chunks really speaks to the majority of our customers: when talking about the 1970s, for example, people immediately picture zingy orange hues! Over the past decade, between the years 2000 and 2010, the overriding trend was for strong colours. When a country is in crisis, colour almost becomes a medicine, with people seeking out vibrant colours to counter the pervading sense of gloom and doom.
And that’s not all: the psychological effect of the crisis triggers a visceral need for change. When we want to shake things up and give our lives a bit of a boost, the first thing we think about doing is repain- ting our walls or changing our furniture… It’s com- mon knowledge that colour is highly therapeutic.
Is this need for change solely expressed via the colour of our walls?
Walls can be changed quickly and easily: a simple lick of paint gives them a brand new look. They are usually the first port of call when we want to breathe new life into our interiors. But lots of people tend to forget that the colour of the wall is inextricably linked with the colour of the floor! A room is a three-part concerto with the floor, walls and ceiling all playing the starring roles. Changing the colour of one or the other changes the harmony of the entire room!
That is why we are also seeing huge changes in flooring. Ceramic tiles and solid wood floors are far less popular today than they were at the end of the 1990s. I think that flexible, repositionable flooring is the future of interior design: it’s the flooring equivalent to a “quick lick of paint” on a wall!
This is especially true given that flexible flooring is no longer synonymous with old-fashioned designs. Modern-day designs are not only surprisingly realistic to look at, but they are also incredibly realistic to touch.
What would your advice be in terms of creating a sense of harmony between the walls and floor?
It all depends on what kind of atmosphere you are trying to create: you wouldn’t associate colours in the same way in a kitchen as you would in a bedroom. But there are a number of hard and fast rules, notably those related to the colour wheel.
One key thing that must always be remembered is the fundamental role played by light: how bright a room is or the fact that there are trees blocking the windows are elements that need to be considered when contemplating changing the colour of a room!
Is it the same in professional environments, such as hospitals or supermarkets?
Colour works in exactly the same way in all environments and all countries! The colours you choose for a room should reflect how you want visitors to feel. An increasing number of hospitals, for example, are abandoning the “clean white” look in favour of brighter colours. We’re notably seeing a lot of green, a reassuring colour that symbolizes health…
In supermarkets, we are seeing lots of posters and other design elements that use opposing colours on the colour wheel. This creates more impact, catching the customer’s eye. At the same time, the choice of wall and floor colours is equally important if supermarkets want to earn customers’ trust and make them feel at home!