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2021. 03. 02

Ultimate Gray and Illuminating: Pantone’s Colors of the Year 2021

The events of 2020 posed some of the toughest challenges in recent memory, which had a great effect on the prospects of Pantone Color Institute, mainly: their annual announcement of the Color of the Year. Last year’s title holder, Classic Blue, was one of balance and tranquility, according to Pantone - no one would’ve thought just how contradictory that would prove in the face of uncertainty and doubt that was 2020. It’s no mistake that Pantone - for the second time in the institute’s history - chose not one, but two colors to represent the year 2021.

The Bond Street Shaker Showroom, deVOL

The two colors are a symbol of said ambivalence. The familiar tone of Ultimate Gray and the vibrant yellow of Illuminating are the embodiment of calm and hope: solid faith in the rebirth of life, our human interactions and the reopening of our world. These ambitions are greatly assisted by colors that radiate strength and positivity, which, in turn, is balanced by a shade of gray that is founded on stable ground, reminding us of stability in our lives: it is a trustworthy, calming natural color that stood the test of time.

1. Analysezentrum I, photo by Adrian Schulz. 2. Loafer armchair, Amore mirrors / &tradition

Ultimate Gray and Illuminating are a power couple, inspiring interior designers to break new grounds. Their harmonious combination will surely become more and more abundant in modern interiors - so much so that we can already see a number of high-end brands and designers applying the hopeful philosophy of Pantone in practice. Read on to discover some of the most exciting and stirring innovations from the world of furniture and interior design!

Neyran Turan - Architecture as Measure / NEMESTUDIO

How Will We Live Together? - asks the 17th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia in its 2021 theme, inviting the most influential professionals to find new perspectives in their search for modern humanity’s burning issues. Architect Neyran Turan sees introspection as the starting point of change in Architecture as Measure, the presentation curated by her: she thrives to reinvent the role of architecture in a changed world.

In 2021, the Pavilion of Turkey will demonstrate the constructive power of architecture through the fight against climate change. Leaving the solution-centered definitions of design behind the presentation will take architecture as the measure of environmental and societal transformation, elevating its perspective to a global level. This is what Neyran Turan and hear team calls planetary imagination: they take the local and everyday workings of architecture as inseparable from the wide scale geographical and temporal effects of climate change, reimagining the role of design and architecture in the reformation of present and future.

Angel Martí, Enrique Delamo - Aura / Treku

Wood has always played a central part in the history of Treku. The Spanish family business was founded more than 70 years ago in the idyllic coastal town of Zarautz, which had a long-established tradition in woodworking, and looked to a truly distant land for inspiration in the creation of its latest collection. Designers Angel Martí and Enrique Delamo found that Scandinavian furniture manufacturers had a great eye for combining traditional and modern elements in their work, and thought to incorporate these qualities when coming up with the Aura TV cabinet. With its oak frame and yellow-grey fronts Aura manages to be contemporary and traditional at the same time, evoking the dynamic coupling of the Colors of the Year 2021.

Patricia Urquiola - Tufty-Time / B&B Italia

An avid enthusiast of eclecticism, Patricia Urquiola has made a name for herself as a designer with an eye for sensual shapes and a feminine touch, not afraid to experiment with unusual patterns and exciting materials. Her Tufty-Time sofa design for B&B Italia was brought to life with the intention to infuse the classical look of capitonné and Chesterfield sofas with the essence of a modern, casual lifestyle. The modular system is designed around an ottoman as its centerpiece, which is complemented by comfortable corner and island elements. Sporting Pantone’s both colors of the year, Tufty-Time combines the aesthetics of past and present with style.

Antoine Fritsch & Vivien Durisotti - Corail / Eric Gizard - Structure / Roche Bobois

Roche Bobois’ groundbreaking design, Corail was inspired by nature’s imperfections. The concrete base of the dining table is brought to life through a 3D printing process, resembling coral reefs, shells and trees - and the final touches are applied to this core by the customer itself, via a digital interface enabling a wide range of easy customizations. Technology is serving Roche Bobois’ environmental purposes, as the “base code” can be digitally transferred to local manufacturers everywhere without the need for physical transportation, decreasing the brand’s carbon footprint.

The grey concrete base of the massive Corail table radiates a sort of stoic calm, dominating its surroundings like a sleeping giant. Its asymmetric, almost incidental shapes are perfectly complemented by Roche Bobois’ radiant Structure rug with its natural fibres and Eric Gizard’s diverse patterns, bearing a look not unlike Corail’s. It is an energetic look that is almost like an impression of the moment.

Jean-Marie Massaud - Santa Monica / Poliform

The everyday elegance and comfort of the Santa Monica armchair will immediately make you want to curl up in it. With its uncompromising warmth and attractive, yet functional design it is unmistakably Poliform. Santa Monica’s design shows off both colors of 2021, Ultimate Gray and Illuminating, which makes way for an inexhaustible list of combinations with elements in the interior, whether it’s the wall, the carpet or other furniture. 

Gabriele Centazzo - Artematica / Valcucine

Contemporary intuition with the smallest ecological footprint possible. Doors attached to the aluminum frame of Valcucine Artematica kitchen furniture are made of wholly adhesive-free colored glass panels. These kitchen sets were designed to make kitchen work as efficient and safe as possible, while introducing relentless style and spectacle into the space. Glass fronts are vividly colored and made safer with rounded corners and edges. These panels close much more softly and are produced to be fully shatterproof, fulfilling even the strictest safety regulations.

Gordon Guillaumier - Lennox Sofa / Lema

An unmistakable retro vibe is evident when you look at the double Lennox sofa from Lema, manufactured to recapture the well-known comfort of its namesake deck chair. The Lennox Sofa can be an elegant inclusion in both a modern community area or a refined interior design concept. The Lennox is a superb choice for your most private moments at home.

Daniele Lago - Sand / Lago

The clean geometric approach that resulted in the calming look of Sand from Lago is accompanied by the familiar tone of Pantone’s Ultimate Grey. The rounded shape and great depth of this immense furniture is the ideal combination of excessive comfort and serenity. The different-sized base units can be easily combined with a variety of modules, making the Sand customizable to fit your personality and your immediate environment. The neat grays of its stylish fabric enhances the overall impact of the sofa, conveying reassurance, stability, independence and elegance to the interior.

1. Interior styling by Mari Strenghielm / Interior styling by Julia Sherman 2. Maison Moismont scarves / Milk Decoration. 

Pantone guidance for 2021 is clear: to be able to overcome the prevailing presence uncertainty, we have to restore mental clarity and our trust in better days to come. And to truly dive into the world of furniture and interior design, and to explore how the most astonishing brands and designers apply this philosophy to their unique works and innovations, follow our blog and our official Facebook and Instagram pages, and let’s meet between September 24-26. at S/ALON BUDAPEST 2021!

Our professional assistants for the article were Kata Hortobágyi and Inout Design. Cover image: Chester Moon sofa, Bauhaus armchairs / Baxter.

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