Monday, May 20, 2013

Do these colours say 'Italy'?

I've been in Rome for four years now and have been planning (and failing) to do a series of Italian themed designs since we arrived.  Well - Summer's on the horizon again -  the sky is blue, flowers are draping themselves over the walls, we're planning trips to Tuscany and the Island of Ponza,  and I spent yesterday morning running around the center of Rome, past the Colosseum and the Forum, in The Race for the Cure.  I'm feeling inspired.
I've started with a series of illustrated Italian scenes (the sea, the countryside, the city etc) and am planning to continue the theme into smaller, repeated, all-over co-ordinates for fabrics and finally food related designs, suitable for kitchen-ware.
The big question was color.  How would I do this without turning it into a big, old, rustic cliche - i.e. without using red, green and white (the colours of the flag are evocative of Italy and it's cuisine but are so overdone and are very Christmassy looking too)?  
How would I make it modern yet distinctly Italian, retro cool but also bright and warm? After hours of messing about with about fifty colour combinations (went down the acid yellow route for a while - eek!) I hit on this - and I'm really pleased with it.
Here's how my brain worked;
Soft tomatoey red - perfect for when I need to Italian tomato. It lends warmth (think old, enameled pots and kettles) and is a compromise on the Italian flag red too.
Fleshy, shell pink - always useful for people and compliments the red.
Salmon pink - like the stucco on so many houses here (including mine).  Also good for people.
Retro blue - covers both sky and sea.  It was inspired by a beautiful, brand new Fiat I saw parked outside the local cafe the other day.
Dark teal/French Navy - for high contrast but also a crisp, smart, contemporary neutral.
Minty green - need I explain this?  It creeps into everything I do.  My studio is this color.  But it does serve a purpose too.  It's a beautiful, popping accent colour and evokes the traditional green part of the Italian flag  - and I can't do food/plants/countryside without a bit of green!
Soft warm-toned grey - a much needed neutral and another favourite of mine (my living room!). I think it's a modern and sophisticated alternative to beige and makes everything look updated.  
Warm, peachy ivory - adds to the warmth yet lifts the designs with some light and space.
I've posted a sneak peek of the group with these slices (above) from two of the designs.  I'll post the rest when they're done!
What do you think?  

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