The only paradise is paradise lost*

We have literally just landed from what has to be the most awesome vacation I have ever been on – we have been to the Maldives (a destination not on our list, but the villa, stiltly, water thing is something that has to be done…). Firstly, the scenery was absolutely breathtaking – I have never seen colours so vividly – the turquoise of the lagoon in contrast to the dark blue of the ocean was out of this world…. it was wonderful to see how the appearance of light driven by geography and topography has such an impact on how you perceive colours.

One thing you learn as an interior designer is that colours look very different and work very differently in different types of light and, as a consequence, you have to appreciate how different colours work in different types of environment. This was illustrated supremely in the Maldives where the light from the sea, which has a slight but significant blue to it, had a huge impact on the vividness of the colours everywhere else and, more importantly, on the colours that work. In contrast, here in London the city light is slightly grey and hence, the colours that work in the Maldives won’t necessarily work in city light… furthermore, in the countryside, the light is slightly green and unsurprisingly a totally different colour palette typically works in this environment. It made me realise that as a consequence of the fact I have spent a lot of time designing in London (and hence lots of my schemes have an undertone of grey to work with the light) is was so refreshing to see bold bright colours working so well in the natural sea light of the Maldives.

The Six Senses was beautifully designed and its colour scheme was based on a standard and neutral base colour, to complement the wood from which all the Ocean and Lagoon villas were built - this was then fused with a tropical colour palette of bright turquoises, oranges, pinks, yellows and lime greens… which may well have been inspired by the coral reef that surrounded this private island. These vivacious and bright colours are ideal for locations by the sea where bold decoration looks fantastic and gives natural vigor to an interior. In this instance they had to tastefully reach the appropriate balance between the neutrals and tropical colours to ensure it didn’t look garish or over the top…

(Image from Wonders of Creation and Six Senses Laamu)

One very practical and unglamorous tip that you can take from this blog is the importance of never trusting the lighting in the store in which are purchasing your paint and fabrics – either purchase a sample pot or request a fabric cutting and check that your chosen paint and fabric work in the lighting of your home – it can be hugely shocking how different they actually look in the location… In addition, if you are lucky enough to own a place in the city, in the country or by the sea, make sure you consider the type of lighting that you use as it will have implications on the success of your scheme.

*Marcel Proust


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