Greige has had a hold over us for far too long. We all love a pop of colour, and now it seems we want more… Say hello to ‘colour drenching’ and, if you dare, full-on maximalism. Move Over, 50 Shades of Beige, Viva Magenta 18-1750 is named Pantone Colour of the Year 2023.
Powerful and empowering, Viva Magenta is an animated red that encourages experimentation and self-expression without restraint, says the team at Pantone. Brave and fearless, Viva Magenta pulsates optimism and joy, which is just what we need after the past couple of years. Something to bring brightness, positivity, and energy into our homes and interior spaces as we move away from neutral colour palettes. This nuanced crimson tone descends from the red family, and is inspired by the carmine dye derived from the cochineal beetle — one of the brightest, strongest, and most precious natural dyes. At once warm and cool, the rich and layered tone adds an energising, feel-good, mood-boosting shot of visual impact. Aptly dubbed ‘an unconventional shade for an unconventional time’, the Pantone Colour of the Year captures the strength, resilience, and boundless horizons of nature and the digital world.
The trickle-down effect from fashion to design means that magenta pinks are already popular within the runway and beauty community, and as always happens, the interior world follows suit. Italian fashion house Valentino embraced magenta pink for their Autumn/Winter 2022-23 collection, with the models wearing similar shades on their eyelids and lashes. The colour brightens up Gucci’s double-breasted blazers, while at Loewe the sumptuous shade has been used for head-turning ballgowns. It also works brilliantly in accessories, adding a zingy pop of colour to an otherwise more neutral outfit — both Bottega Veneta and Valentino recently revealed bags in the striking hue. Viva Magenta even has the royal seal of approval, with the Princess of Wales stepping out in an Emilia Wickstead coat dress and matching hat to receive South Africa’s President Ramaphosa the other day.
‘Dopamine dressing’ is the term commonly used for the movement towards vibrant colour in fashion. Likewise, ‘dopamine décor’ has unmistakably been bursting forth in furniture, interior design, and accessories throughout recent Milan and New York Design Week presentations.
Pantone has partnered with several companies including Motorola, NASA, and Lenovo to form the basis of a new immersive exhibition at Miami’s technology and experiential art studio ARTECHOUSE to introduce visitors to the Magentaverse.
On the other side of the Atlantic, a vivid visual extravaganza of magenta is being shown at the Saatchi Gallery in London. Serpenti Metamorphosis by Refik Anadol presented by Bulgari is the world’s first multi-sensory immersive data sculpture — a reimagining of the signature Bulgari Serpenti icon unlike any before.
Bold and beautiful
Current interior design trends show two polarising movements emerging: paired-back minimalism and full-on maximalism. Of course, the vibrant Viva Magenta may not be to everyone’s initial liking. It’s a scary move using a bright colour like this in our homes; however, this hue is the perfect melding of a rich red with pinkish undertones that can cater to all interior tastes. The stunning shade looks playful in a bright area and more sophisticated in a smaller, cosier space. For the more fearless, there’s the option to go wild and drench the room in colour and richness, adding it everywhere — on the walls and wood trims, ceilings, and the furnishings.
The beauty of Pantone’s fiery Viva Magenta is that it pairs perfectly with nearly all colours. Use it as a warm accent to enhance neutrals, greys, and pastels. The shade also works brilliantly with darker inky blues, greens, and teal, especially when combined with vivid crimson red, making it the ideal accent colour for any scheme. It’s a very strong and saturated colour — sophisticated, stylish and vibrant. It doesn’t need contrast to make a presence. So, I would also pair it with its neighbours on the colour wheel: red, purple, or periwinkle blue.
You only need a small dose to make a big statement:
- Be wise, accessorise
Take a safer route by adding flashes of colour using accessories. Window treatments and textiles like pillows, bedding, and rugs, are great ways to incorporate this bold and exhilarating colour.
- Grand entrance
Bright paint instantly perks up any space, and it’s up to you whether you apply it across an entire room or only as a hint of colour on an accent wall. Repainting your front door can go a long way in making a good first impression — the impression being that you’re ahead of the curve with your on-trend Pantone-inspired entrance (something you can always paint over when you want to try something new in the future).
- Home is where the art is
Another way to add and update a room is with bold artwork.
The same principles apply to our outdoor spaces as indoors. Incorporate Viva Magenta through sculptures, chairs, or even pots and planters for an all-out colour drench.
Viva Magenta will undoubtedly elevate the feel of design this year, bringing positive, powerful and passionate energy. Here’s to a fabulously colourful 2023!
Interior Architect, Travel and Design Writer