In March 2024 I was asked to help redesign and style the new Bisley Home Space showroom, and give a talk on my approach for Clerkenwell Design Week 2024. For this collaborative vision I used my shadow and highlight methodology for selecting colours that would deliver a harmonious relationship for the refit, and then explained my approach in my talk ‘Harnessing Hues’.

The very popular talk attracted interior designers, home owners and design professionals, and was rated #2 in the Elle Decoration Clerkenwell Design Week 2024 Things to See list — a wonderful surprise!

Katya Nappolini at Deus ex Gardenia

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Brand history

British brand Bisley are a design and manufacturing powerhouse, with a focus on reimagining spaces. Founded in the 1930s by Freddy Brown, a panel beater for luxury cars, the brand went on to manufacture vast, metal containers for transportation during WW2. After the war, Bisley produced metal bins for commercial and office space.

From there, Bisley blossomed into a global market leader producing colourful storage solutions, filing systems and office furniture, with uncompromising standards. Bisley ranges have since evolved, from meeting the needs of the commercial and hospitality sectors, to include the residential, interior design industry. During the pandemic lockdown of 2022, Bisley introduced new colours and styles for home owners, interior designers, and those who prefer a softer, more homely aesthetic for home-office living.

Brand style

Recognised with an award for excellence in British steel manufacturing, Bisley upholds a reliably consistent industrial style, blended with softer material accents and colour in more recent ranges, whilst retaining an emphasis on durability and practicality.

The Bisley colour range has evolved since the 1930s. Once popular for utilitarian greys, blacks, browns and creams, bolder colours influenced by the Bauhaus followed, and then new hues to really push the boundaries of imagination — a palette of 37 colours. It’s the more recent hues, aligned with colour trends, that have helped the brand aesthetic work within residential colour schemes, and delivered much greater product diversification.

Palette observations

For the re-design of the Home Space, the palette decisions were determined by the Bisley showroom, and the recent introduction of new feature colours — Natural Canvas, Berry, and Marine (see below).

Formerly a lighting studio, the showroom benefited from a corner position with vast windows, allowing plenty of daylight, further accentuated by a permanently-lit ceiling giving a white or warm-shaded colour into the space. The walls were originally painted a pale grey/cream, with a grey carpet throughout which needed to stay.

The original showroom colour scheme was very limiting for the introduction of the new Bisley colours, and made it extremely hard to create a residential aesthetic with cohesion, where the products could be shown at their best. Applying a new, expansive palette of background colours proved to be the best way to present the vivid Bisley product colours for home interiors.

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

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Working process

The project began with an image presented to me by Lauren Shields at Bisley — a tablescape seen in Living Etc magazine in which colours similar to the new Bisley range merged with a dramatic floral set and pale background. It was an image that embodied a homely, lived-in and entertaining space, rich in textiles and maximal living.

My first step was to carry out a colour consultancy to analyse the temperature of the room light, and find a palette to tie in the three new Bisley colours. The layout for the Home Space showroom had been finalised and I referred to this to guide my choices while creating ‘zones’.

We had discussed the idea of incorporating wallpaper to soften the vast walls. It was important to find a style that spoke of ‘home’ yet worked with the new colours, and more importantly, the existing Bisley colour options that might be brought into the space, as well as future colours that might be adopted.

Drawing on my method of reading colour in 3D, and combining shadow and highlight, I looked at different wall paint colours by Benjamin Moore that could be used as a backdrop to the new ranges that would also work well with the existing Bisley product colours.

With these wall colours noted, I remembered that ‘Resplendent Woods’ by Deus ex Gardenia (whom I had previously worked with on their Grasscloth collection) carried a vast palette cleverly hidden within the design. Making comparisons between the wallpaper palettes and Bisley’s, the match was impressively accurate, and so I selected two variations — one for each end of the room — that would work perfectly with the four new Benjamin Moore wall colours: Hush, Laurentian Red, Polar Jade and Livingstone Gold.

Using this approach helped determine a colour scheme that brought all the colours together in a timeless, understated, and natural way, rather than deliberately matched and linear, thus retaining flexibility and cohesion throughout, and future-proofing the space for new product palettes.

For my talk at Clerkenwell Design Week 2024, I demonstrated how to read colour and work with various paint colours that would harmonise with the strong chromatic values of Bisley furniture. Setting these out as samples on display gave visitors an opportunity to engage with Bisley colours in a simple and logical way.

New Bisley home product colours

Natural Canvas



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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Explore a few of my colour consultancy projects

Book a colour consultation

I’m available for colour consultations at home, online, and for individual or group training.

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