Pantone brings ‘Greenery’ to life
Words by Alicja McCarthy
Photos by Pantone Colour Institute
Every design enthusiast is familiar with Pantone. The global colour authority of professional colour is responsible for trend forecasting and the study of its influences on human thought, emotion and physical processes, and each year the institute launches its ‘Colour of the Year’ based on thorough research into design trends, spotting colour families and macro colours in popular culture. This year the institute chose ‘Greenery’ PANTONE 15-034. We were curious to find out what guided the decision.
Reconnecting with nature
Unlike previous years where multiple colours were selected, ‘Greenery’ is reflective of our need to connect with nature, it is symbolic of what Edward O. Wilson defined in his Biophilia hypothesis in 1984; we humans are genetically programmed to have an affinity with nature and other life forms. With cities becoming increasingly overpopulated and polluted, the craving for greener living is increasing by the minute. From tropical palms topping the charts on Instagram to vertical gardens in overbuilt urban spaces, the natural world features in more places than we think. We are joining community gardens, buying plants for our homes in place of designer furnishings or accessories and we are consuming vegetation like never before. There is definitely something primeval going on.
“With cities becoming increasingly overpopulated and polluted, the craving for greener living is increasing by the minute”
“Each season poses its own set of unique happenings.” says Laurie Pressman, VP of the Pantone Colour Institute. “There are so many factors involved – beyond trends in the design industries – entertainment, film production, traveling art collections, hot new artists, fashion and beauty as well as all areas of graphic and multimedia design and travel destinations, the Pantone Colour Institute looks at new technologies, materials, textures and effects that impact colour”.
Embracing therapeutic living
‘Greenery’ intends to inspire us to embrace the therapeutic benefits of green living. Described as “a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew. Illustrative of flourishing foliage and the lushness of the great outdoors, the fortifying attributes of ‘Greenery’ signals individuals to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate.”
The benefits of the natural world
A positive reflection in trends in design, architecture, arts and lifestyle, ‘Greenery’ is more about the benefits of the natural world than it is a statement on environmental issues. Acting as a hint, and a celebration of greenery in our everyday lives, inspiring positivity and the therapeutic qualities of green tones. Pressman tells us, “we know from our research that surrounding ourselves with greens has a calming influence. Urban dwellers should bring more greenery into their spaces to invite peace and unity into their homes, offices, and communal spaces.”
Pantone x Air BnB
To launch ‘Greenery’, Pantone collaborated with Air BnB to create a public transformational experience in an urban environment. They created the ‘Outside In’ house in London, allowing visitors to experience greenery-themed activities in interactive but non-digital ways. Guests could forage the walls for herbs and vegetables, drink fresh tea grown inside, eat in an indoor greenhouse and sleep in a garden bedroom with a mown lawn, topiaries and soporific plants. This is just one of the experiences in the Air BnB Trips series which are currently expanding to 51 cities this year. These biophilic experiences are not only exciting and inventive but they inspire everyday citizens to adopt some of the ideas in their own environments.
“Simply being surrounded by nature, trees and greenery has a multitude of benefits from boosting the immune system to reducing blood pressure and stress”
Inspired by Eastern tradition
“A big inspiration for the selection of ‘Greenery’ was the Japanese art of forest bathing, an act of detoxing from technology and city life by immersing yourself in nature.” Says Pressman. Shinrin-yoku, was developed in Japan in the 1980s, but feels like an ancient tradition. Research has been developed to suggest that simply being surrounded by nature, trees and greenery has a multitude of benefits from boosting the immune system to reducing blood pressure and stress, and increasing energy levels and improved sleep. With our overwhelming need to reconnect with nature, to surround us in not only plant life but also respective imagery of it in our homes or on our backs, it really is apt for Pantone to highlight such an important colour. It may be one of the most important sociological debates relating to colour influence on body and mind to date.