Natural, earthy tones with an emphasis on well-being
By Yanika Liew
With the experience of the past few years and the flourishing of work-from-home schemes, we have become more familiar with the expanse of our own space. As families begin to prepare for the new year, a change of scenery can be a way to cleanse your palette and set the tone for a new start to the year.
Whether through a fresh coat of paint, a different selection of furnishings or tiles, creating a new sense of space provides an opportunity to revitalise old rooms. Consequently, it can encourage a revitalisation of personal energy and outlook.
With increased urbanisation, especially heavily-concentrated in large cities, the question moves towards preserving and enhancing human conncetion with nature.
“Planners and architects are discussing ingenious solutions, such as ring-shaped parks and urban agriculture, but what should our homes feel like?” AkzoNobel Global Aesthetic Center creative director Heleen van Gent said.
Heleen outlined the necessity for a space that supports its occupant in challenging times, with a hint of the outdoors, the echo of a landscape and a sense of belonging.
“As concerns about mental health increase around the world, creating a home that feels in touch with the natural world couldn’t be timelier,” she said.
AkzoNobel’s colour of the year 2023 is a hue inspired by the warm tones of harvested crops, named Wild Wonder, with four Dulux decorative paint colour palettes designed around the theme; Lush Colours (the forest hues), Buzz Colours (meadow brights), Raw Colours (harvest shades) and Flow Colours (seashore tones).
“Having access to green space has been shown to have profound and positive effects on both our physical and mental wellbeing – so much so that doctors have begun prescribing nature-based therapies, such as gardening or forest bathing, to treat a range of mental health conditions,” Heleen said.
This focus on the natural is echoed by Wall Craft Sdn Bhd founder and project director Lucas Chan’s assertion that earthy colours will be the next trending colours. Specialising in texture paint, Wall Craft was founded in 2017, providing products that emphasise ambience and quality.
As people slant towards nature, Heleen elaborates on AkzoNobel’s process of finding its colour of the year through a stringent and comprehensive process of brainstorming and consumer research.
“Every year, we host a three-day trend-forecast brainstorm and invite international design experts from a range of disciplines to share their thoughts and insights with us on what factors, they think, will influence the way our consumers will experience their homes in the next coming years,” Heleen said.
“The trends show we’re recognising nature as the source of everything in our lives and re-evaluating our relationship with the natural world. As people search for support, connection, inspiration and balance in the world today, they’re diving into the wonders of the natural world to find it,” she added.
Healthy and safe interiors
However, Covid-19’s effects are still present in the population even in its endemic phase, and this sentiment is observed in market research. It is these trends that inspire innovation in paint and design technology.
“Health and safety are possibly the top concerns and trends in recent years due to the ongoing pandemic. These concerns have to a certain extent contributed towards the trends in paint technology development that could bring a positive impact on consumer’s health and well-being,” AkzoNobel Decorative Paints Southeast and South Asia product management director Pamela Phua said.
The pandemic is only one such stimulus. As an example, Phua pointed to the fact that AkzoNobel has been researching and developing solutions that bring health and well-being advantages to its customers for years. Prior to the Dulux EasyClean Anti-Viral, AkzoNobel already had in their portfolio products with antibacterial properties and now the Dulux Better Living Air Clean Biobased product, which had been built on natural ingredients with the ability to neutralise common and harmful indoor air pollutants.
“Dulux EasyClean Anti-Viral properties are effective against human coronavirus NL-63, with 99% efficacy, but are not tested for coronavirus disease 2019, Covid-19. Its anti-bacterial properties are based on testing against 6 types of bacteria as per the TUV JIS Z 2801 test method,” Phua said.
Health and safety is predicted to continue to be important considerations for people, as more consumers seek products made with the highest safety standards that also contribute to their overall well-being.
“We find that homeowners are concerned about how this will protect my family and me, so they look for products that will give them peace-of-mind and confidence for the safety and wellbeing of their family, especially within the four walls of their homes,” Phua added.
With the technology to produce anti-viral and anti-bacterial paints, AkzoNobel goes through a process of constant research to create products that can repel tough stains, as well as have the ability to neutralise indoor air pollutants.
Additionally, Dulux paints help homeowners secure the exterior of their homes with durable products that combat algae and fungus while protecting against the accumulation of dirt and dust on the surface of the wall.
“Homeowners nowadays are also much more digitally savvy and will do more research online before buying products or hiring contractors and painters for home renovation. Hence, there is also a lot more awareness about environmental issues and support for sustainable solutions,” Phua said.
As with many companies, AkzoNobel allows sustainability to be a key driver in its product innovation, bringing sustainability benefits not only to the environment but also to its users.
Wall Craft has similarly seen an increase in demand for wall texture paint compared to previous years, especially when it comes to the younger generation, aged from 25 to 40. This demographic has a different expectation of lifestyle, which could have been influenced by social media. Using existing materials, Wall Craft developed a range of new textures to be brought into the new year.
Wall Craft sales director Josephine Cham noted that a trending texture for 2023 will be micro-cement, which is suitable for those who like a minimalist design. The texture exudes an industrial feel and can be applied to the floors, walls and even ceilings.
“New paint products will slant towards using a mineral base material, as this material is very suitable for all kinds of designs,” Cham said.
She also pointed to sustainability as an important factor, as it continues to be on the mind of many consumers.