Some people like a calm space in which to work while others need more vibrant surroundings to feed their creativity and thoughts.
Well, you couldn’t get much more vibrant than this out-there mural. It’s a bold celebration of retro colours and shapes – straight from the playbook of 1960s and 1970s cartoons like The Jetsons. It’s like some kind of spacey planetary chart from a far-off retro galaxy. While the design is certainly bold, curved shapes are comforting and calming, and can ease a busy mind. Making it easier to focus on the work at hand.
It’s a case of borrowing from the past and reinventing for today, seeing an older pattern through a modern lens, melding old with new technology and new hues for modern takes on old favourites.
It fully indulges in the current love of all this mid-century, and the burgeoning trend for curves, arches and circles.
The hand-painted mural uses the stylistic qualities of mid-century graphic design which favoured clean lines, bold shapes, strong saturated colours and a certain flatness where the elements pared down to basic visual forms. Many designers opted to use combinations of simple geometric shapes such as circles, squares, rectangles and triangles in various permutations to form an overall composition.
Detailing is sparse and there is a dynamic interplay of sharp colours and jarringly arranged shapes that both intersect and float alone.
This mural doesn’t stray too far from the classic 1970s retro colour palette of earthy saturated tones, although the addition of the two soft pinks gives it a very 2020s twist. In fact, the room is a loose tonal scheme of pinks and burgundies, with two accent colours to add energy and interest – a gingery tan and burnt orange.
The paint colours used on a background of Resene Rice Cake are the ginger tan Resene Yogi, burnt orange Resene Thunderbird on the central circle, Latino red Resene Arriba on the arched stripes, dusky pinks Resene Contented (lighter) and Resene Valentine (darker) and burgundy-brown Resene Transition.
As a fun yet practical addition to the wall, the burnt orange central circle above the desk has been painted with Resene FX Magnetic Magic with a topcoat of Resene Thunderbird. This lets you use fridge magnets to turn the circle into a noticeboard.
Resene FX Magnetic Magic is an undercoat that can be used underneath any Resene colour. Other products to try to create noticeboards are Resene FX Blackboard Paint or Resene FX Chalkboard Paint – the latter comes in a range of colours so you can match it to whatever space you choose.
While the overall design of the mural is asymmetric, the desk has been centred underneath the larger circles which creates focus to the space. Then use the arches to frame a small piece of furniture or, as in this room, a potted palm.
Then a collection of similar colours are used in the accessories and furniture items – the desk is in Resene Rewilding, the chair is in Resene Solitaire, the planters are in Resene Pandemonium and Resene Allspice. All of these colours are from the Resene The Range fashion colour collection 24.
The floorboards are finished in Resene Colorwood Whitewash, a popular way to give timber a classic look.
The only difference between this room and you is a little bit of bravery. The design of the mural may look quite complicated but, because it’s essentially based on circles, there’s an easy hack for drawing these on such a large scale. Simply cut a piece of string a little longer than half the diameter of the circle you wish to draw, then tie a pencil to one end. Use a drawing pin or tack-like nail to secure the other end of the string in the centre of where the circle will be, then holding the string taut, draw your circle. Use the same technique to draw the tops of the arches.
Project by Annick Larkin. Photography by Bryce Carleton. July 2022
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