Tag Archives: color

Grey Matters

Gretchen Wagner

Neutrals are the foundation on which we build every palette. If I were to thumb through my closet right now, I’d find nothing but shades of grey (except for that “brown is the new black” shawl I bought on a whim last year).

Grey is the great equalizer of color and it’s always trending. Grey evolves with each season: from “cool” to “warm” to our current state of “true” grey, its versatility knows no bounds.

Shades of Grey

Grey: The Perfect Neutral

Saturated, bright colors reflect our overly connected and networked culture. They leaves us searching for essential basics and deeper intention. Grey, on the other hand, is balanced. It’s timeless, elegant and industrial; neither feminine nor masculine in nature.

It’s also notoriously complex and finicky.

Tonal greys create simplified and mindful interiors that resonate with humans on a primitive level. Being entirely devoid of color, grey allows us to leave behind our inhibitions about color, see past the noise and embrace all the nuance it can offer. Light, color and environment can influence and migrate our perception of grey, adding complexity to finding that perfectly balanced neutral (a struggle every designer has come to know intimately).

Getting Grey Right

Interface’s newest product, Ice Breaker, is the solution to every grey dilemma. Inspired by the depth of shade found in concrete, Ice Breaker is a color study of those perfect neutrals that we’re always searching for. Seamless, simple and textured, Ice Breaker comes in every shade of grey (and some rich browns too!). With its subtle color and texture, it reads as sophisticated, modern and classic — keeping the floor understated yet edgy.

Interface Ice Breaker grey carpet

Getting neutrals just right is a challenge. Leave behind those dirty, muddy, pinky greys and settle into the perfect “grey grey” with Ice Breaker.

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Finding Work Life Balance with Color

Gretchen Wagner

Most of the time, we strive to keep our work life and our personal life separate. We carry two separate phones, we don’t answer emails after 7 pm on Friday nights and we try not to inundate our partner with the daily office happenings over pasta dinner.

The biggest exception is – my work life really cares about my personal life.

Gretchen Wagner at SCAD

Celebrating the simple pleasure of accurately mixed color and perfect gradation (le sigh).

So, from September to November last year I temporarily moved (back) to Savannah, Georgia and served as an Ambassador in Residence at my alma mater, the Savannah College of Art and Design, through the SCAD Alumni Atelier Program. Created and endowed by SCAD President and Founder, Paula Wallace, the program provides alumni with dedicated time and space to focus on expanding their creativity, all the while creating a more meaningful connection with the university.

Color dyes

Gradation of dye samples (left) and swatch materials being rinsed (right).

SCAD project

Sunny Savannah studio views of swatch material and recipes arranged according to color gradation.

During my ambassadorship, I executed a project that further examined my interest in color theory. Wheel explored the use of saturated color to create an interactive, life size color wheel constructed from nearly 500 yards of hand dyed silk. It took precision, algebra and countless bike rides back and forth to the studio to ensure its completion. The technical process in creating Wheel ultimately yielded a simple tangible shape that allowed visitors to part the panels and enter the circular color space within.

Gretchen's SCAD project

Mock up of final installation (right) and hour one of installation at Pei Ling Chan Gallery the day of the exhibition (right).

The final installation was composed of sixty silk panels each hand dyed a slightly different variation of color from one to the next, emulating the seamless color transitions in a spectrum. Wheel was exhibited alongside the work of fellow alumni ambassadors, whose specialties ranged from ceramics and furniture design, to accessory design, documentary filmmaking and screenplay writing, this past November at the Pei Ling Chan Gallery in Savannah, Georgia.

Color "Wheel" final project

Wheel, 16.5’ x 11.5’ round. installed at the Pei Ling Chan Gallery in Savannah, Georgia

My years spent at SCAD during my undergrad propelled me into my career and evolving studio practice. Returning to Savannah and creating Wheel was a tangible reminder of what the creative mind is capable of. Infinite thanks to both my SCAD and Interface families for helping make these inspired moments possible.

In other news – enjoy some process photos, color lovers.

For more information about the SCAD Alumni Atelier, visit here.
To explore more color musings from designer Gretchen Wagner, visit Instagram or thriveordye.com.
This project was funded through the Alumni Atelier Program for Alumni Development from the Savannah College of Art and Design.
Posted in Category Design Inspirations | Leave a comment

NeoCon 2016 Buzz & Trends

Gretchen Wagner

NeoCon season has come and gone yet again and I’m still buzzing. Not sure if that’s the prosecco talking or all the inspiration. Every company puts out their latest and greatest for all to see and the months of preparation lead to an exciting three days of what feels like endless cocktail parties, tired feet and most importantly great design (not bad, huh?).

NeoCon 2016 Highlights

Top of my list every year is the Maharam showroom. This year (like all years) they delivered, but most notable was the teaser of leathers and hides that will be launching later this year. Soft suedes in the most yummy colors you could imagine were scattered amongst woven patterns practically begging you touch every piece of material hanging in their showroom.

Highly functional furniture

The design trend of hackable furniture from Milan two years ago is ever present in the workplace – everything is in the user’s control now and at the touch of a button no less. Lift and lower workstations give every individual the opportunity to work at their own level (literally). Space is getting limited and the solutions are clever and dual purpose. Functionality and form are married at this point and there’s no turning back.

Rockwell Unscripted by Knoll

Rockwell Unscripted by Knoll. Photos courtesy of Knoll.

Modularity is key for the user to express themselves. Think movable walls that also have acoustic features, seating than can be stacked in a variety of functions and tables (with handles!!) that are light enough to lift and move around. Privacy barriers that double as hidden storage and cozy nooks that can expand into collaborative areas. I’m speaking about Knoll’s collection “Rockwell Unscripted”. The collaboration with David Rockwell has solidified this trend. Inspiration coming from Rockwell’s innovative scenic designs for Broadway theater not only inspired the collection but also landed him a Tony Award less than two weeks earlier. Talk about cross-disciplinary design (drool).

BuzziSpace launched some playful office products including a topsy turvy balancing surface that keeps your body agile while taking those lengthy conference calls. Also the adult equivalent to a jungle gym in the office kept show-goers entertained. If it wasn’t for the fear of scuffing my brand new Campers, I would have shimmied my way to the top in a heart beat.

What’s new in color?

I’m still excited about monochromatic color palettes that showcase varied textures, patterns and materials all mixed together in simple coordinating color palettes. Maybe I’m just geeking out that my years of color theory have finally come to fruition, but I’m seeing it across the board at Vitra, West Elm Workspace, BuzziSpace and Steelcase, not to mention in retail and small businesses via Instagram. Is it possible that the year of ALL colors is upon us?

Of course, there are some notable standouts; mandarin, tomato, tangerine and everything in between still raves on and the soft pastel upholstery mixed with walnut and teak are ever present in the continued obsession with mid-century modern.

Take a swing over to our Pinterest page for continued visual inspiration and we’ll see you in Chicago – same time, next year.


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Designing with Color: Lilac

Our latest infographic looks at a color more and more designers are using to add exuberance and elegance to their interior projects. It’s lilac – and you’re going to love it!

lilac infographic

With a delicate, warm palette, Lilac Grey explores the warm shades of purple, providing a fresh, light mood that is perfect for summer months.

lilac gray collage

Find more inspiration on our purple Pinterest board.


What Does the Color Lilac Represent?
Lilac – Symbolism Wiki
Meaning of The Color Purple
The Color Purple and The Color Violet
Lilac (Color)
Lilac Flower Meaning
Purple in Business
Meanings of Purple/Violet
Color Purple: Psychology, Symbolism and Meaning
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Designing With Color: Turquoise


Evoking scenes from the Mediterranean to the American southwest, turquoise can take your designs into uncharted territory. This infographic will equip you with theory and techniques for your journey.

turquoise color

In the turquoise family, aquamarine provides a feeling of serenity and calm. Each aqua shade works harmoniously with one another and shades of cool grey highlight and accompany the palette. Interior products have embraced this color theme and team well with soft structured textiles, subtle lines are subtle patterns.

turquoise palette

Find more inspiration on our turquoise Pinterest board:


HGTV Color Guide
2010 Color of the Year, Pantone 15-5519 Turquoise
Talking Turquoise
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