The relationship between colour, hue, light, and form, is an ever-evolving pursuit for me, so when I was approached to provide a presentation for a collaboration between Argile and Orac, it was the perfect opportunity to demonstrate the synergy of mouldings and colour with my working method.

Using the Argile colours with Orac architectural elements, I showed guests the advantages of thinking about colour in 3D, and applying the idea of light and shadow to introduce hues and chroma that make interesting colour schemes and harmonious combinations inspired by architectural accents. It was a great opportunity to push the boundaries of colour harmony by incorporating vivid chromatic values in Couleurs de Ciel, the latest paint collection from Argile.

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Brand histories

Founded by Jean Frédéric Nothomb, Argile is a French industrial manufacturer of high-quality decorative paint, and has specialised in premium design projects for over 15 years. Argile is incorporated into projects internationally — residential, commercial, heritage, hotels, museums, scenography, boutiques and luxury. Their motto is ‘Nature doesn’t make mistakes.’

Founded in 1970 by Guy Taillieu, Orac was launched with the vision of becoming the world’s most innovative manufacturer of architectural decorative ornaments for simple, unique ways of giving walls extra dimension and personality. Successful global expansion has meant that Orac will keep on creating beautiful, innovative interior concepts, with a focus on 100% sustainable entrepreneurship.

Brand styles

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Palette observations

Argile colours are inspired by the earth, botany and the sky, through 184 timeless and subtle shades from the Terre, Végétal and recently launched Couleurs de Ciel collection. Each hue is a sophisticated blend of resins and pigments, with colours that are deep and intense, yet dynamic and vibrant. In my work with hues, I often find that Argile is an easy brand to work with by offering subtle variations that transition between parent colours with curiosity — the inability to detect the obviousness of a colour is what attracts me to the Argile colour range. By contrast, Orac products are plain white, which presents infinite possibilities.

Working process

This project was a perfect opportunity to demonstrate bolder, stronger forms and colours on products that usually present in soft variations and combinations. It gave me an opportunity to reflect on my approach, and push my boundaries, to prove that my method is a successful process, no matter what colour I start with. The accentuated shadows and highlights presented on the three-dimensional Orac mouldings undeniably demonstrated my approach.

It was important to cater for a variety of colour — so I ensured that my examples offered calmer examples. However, it became clear early on in my planning that the more creative the form, the more adventurous I could be with colour pairings. Each moulding was carefully painted by hand, leaving beautiful brush strokes that added a sense of history and an artisanal feel. I wondered whether this was something that would be lost with spray-painted finishes, and whether this enhanced the relationship between heritage and innovation.

With my palettes completed, I set about experimenting with a common interior design approach: starting with pattern first. Here, I randomly introduced wallpapers and fabrics that co-ordinated well with the palettes for their ability to lean into the colour-ways through association of hue and chroma, rather than by an exact colour matching process.

To demonstrate my methods, I hand-mixed one Argile colour — Terre du Vaucluse — with black, white and grey to produce six colours that show the linear nature of colour shades. Then, I introduced another six Argile colours for shadow and highlight to show the transition from one hue to another, and how ‘rounded’ the colour experience could be — something I had previously documented and researched in Italy with Argile colours against trompe l’œil façades.

Colour palette for Deus ex Gardenia grasscloth wallpapers by Fiona de Lys, colour consultant

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The results

Deus ex Gardenia grasscloth wallpaper in Complex White

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Deus ex Gardenia grasscloth wallpaper in Earth Green

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Deus ex Gardenia grasscloth wallpaper in Peach Sand

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Deus ex Gardenia grasscloth wallpaper in French Grey

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Deus ex Gardenia grasscloth wallpaper in Brown Stone

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Aesthetic narrative villa by Fiona de Lys, interior colour consultant

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Explore a few of my colour consultancy projects

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