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Ceramic colour schemes inspired by the seasons, nature and Paris – A conversation with the designer Gesa Hansen

Press Release   •   Jan 18, 2016 07:00 GMT

Coloured and decorative bathroom ceramics – like no other in the industry the name Villeroy & Boch has stood for many years for sophisticated and trendsetting colour concepts. The latest additions to the Villeroy & Boch colour family will be presented at the imm cologne 2016 as part of LivingInteriors: the high-quality designer bathroom sinks from the Artis series featuring new colour schemes that have been exclusively developed for Villeroy & Boch by the German-Danish designer Gesa Hansen.

Gesa Hansen (34) lives and works in Paris. She has received numerous international design awards for her work, including the reddot design award and the International Good Design Award of the Chicago Athenaeum. For the Artis bathroom sink series the designer has developed four harmonious colour schemes in shades of green, yellow, red and blue, each available in three gradations, as well as a neutral range with three timeless colours in a black/ grey spectrum. In the conversation, Gesa Hansen talks about how the new colours were created, the inspiration behind her work and the new creative design options that are possible with the coloured Artis bathroom sinks.

Mrs Hansen, which colour trends do you currently see in the field of interior design?

I see that the current colour schemes are about to change. In past years, more neutral, restrained shades have been popular in interiors. But now I have the impression that the trend is towards strong colours again, just like in the world of fashion. In all living spaces, including the bathroom and the kitchen, colours are livening up interior designs.

What inspired you to create the colour schemes for Artis?

The Artis bathroom sinks are extremely fine and delicate, and the geometric shapes embody the perfect reduction to the essential. Yet at the same time, ceramic is inherently a rather cold and hard material. To overcome this coldness and hardness, I deliberately created soft colours. I was inspired by nature and the seasons: the fresh green of spring, the radiant summer sun, the rust-coloured leaves in autumn and the chill of winter. And of course Paris. Its special flair, its typical way of life and the culture of the French capital also influenced my colours.

What was the result?

I developed four harmonious colour schemes in shades of green, yellow, rose and blue, each with three gradations, as well as a neutral range with three timeless colours in a black/grey spectrum.

You speak of colour schemes, not of a colour concept. Why?

For the new colours I moved away from the idea of using a classic colour concept made up of different, matching colours and replaced it by playing with the different shades of a single colour. The result is four vibrant colour series each consisting of three colours within which the depth of colour intensity varies. You can think of these gradations as being similar to the base, heart and top notes of a perfume: the lightest shade represents the base, the middle, more intense colour is the heart note of the series, and in the strongest colour, the top note, the colour intensity is developed to the full.

The use of colours in a room creates moods and feelings. What effect do your colours have?

The colours are of course atmospheric and emotionally charged and create different atmospheres in a room. I deliberately want them to arouse associations and trigger feelings. Just hearing the names of the colours conjures up specific images: take for instance Mint or Lemon, and immediately a strong sense of tangy freshness comes to mind. Powder makes you think of something fragrant, gentle, and Frost creates a clear coolness, don’t you think?

Mrs Hansen, using colour in interiors always requires a certain degree of intuition. Do you have any tips on how to use the new colours to best effect?

Yes, gladly. The green shades are ideal for combining with dark wood, along with grey or white elements and walls. Rough textures such as concrete effect floor tiling or matt metal further underscore the association to nature. The yellow variants harmonise with light wood and also work in combination with pastel colours. Black can be used here to create strong contrasts, while a warm wood-brown adds naturalness to the design. The rose shades also go well with light surfaces and furniture, for instance made of grey limed or white lacquered wood, white marble or cream-coloured stone. And the blue shades are ideal for creating an atmosphere of freshness and purity. A floor with a light wood or concrete look accompanied by white or light grey furniture enhances this effect. Those wishing to add a warming touch to the design can choose warm yellow or wood-coloured accessories.

And how do the neutral colours fit into the overall concept?

Light grey, medium grey and black are true classics in interior design and an indispensable part of modern bathrooms. These three neutral colours offer contemporary yet timeless design options for attractively designed washplaces. Not to mention the white models!

You have already developed colours for ceramic sinks from Villeroy & Boch. What are the differences to the bathroom sinks?

The colours for the ceramic sinks are stronger than those for the bathroom sinks. They deliberately set strong accents in the rinsing area, making it an eye-catcher. Moreover, the ceramic sinks are fully coloured. In contrast, the coloured Artis bathroom sinks feature a bicolour design with a bright white interior and a coloured exterior surface. They also have a different effect due to their installation as a surface mounted sink.

Do the colours for the kitchen and the bathroom match together?

Yes, they do. Those who wish can use the same colour family in the kitchen and the bathroom or combine different colours with one another. This is because the colours for the kitchen and the bathroom are designed to allow both harmonious designs in a single colour scheme and designs with different colour accents. However, no matter which option you choose, the result is always an interior with a harmonious, expressive colour scheme.

Coloured kitchen sinks and bathroom sinks – what’s next? Are more coloured products planned by Villeroy & Boch?

The colour schemes can also be wonderfully applied to other products. Matching furniture or even freestanding bathtubs as an extravagant eye-catcher. I don’t want to reveal too much, but prepared to be surprised…

Villeroy & Boch:

Villeroy & Boch is one of the world's leading premium brands for ceramic products. The family business, which was founded in 1748 and is headquartered in Mettlach/Germany, stands for innovation, tradition and exceptional style. As a renowned lifestyle brand, Villeroy & Boch offers products from the sectors Bathroom and Wellness and Tableware, and is active in 125 countries.

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