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Elle Decor Italia

Who is afraid of coloured walls? Tricia Guild unveils her tips to play with colourful settings

The founder of Designers Guild teaches us how to happily live in Technicolour


Tricia Guild, founder of Designers Guild back in 1970, launches a new book with tips and hint on how to create coloured interior decoration projects

Are you scared of coloured walls? “Over the years I have met loads of people scarcely inclined to use vibrant colours within their homes. I witness some kind of fear, anxiety or reluctancy when it comes to choose strongly expressive or bold chromatic nuances. Here at Designers Guild we always had one mission: to give people the “guts” to live their life in Technicolour”. Please meet Tricia Guild, founder and creative director of Designers Guild, the woman who invaded restaurants, hotels and private residences with her cutting-edge original fabrics and wallpapers. 

Read also → Masquespacio, i designer che hanno riportato i colori nelle nostre case

After almost 50 years of uninterrupted career in the world of high-end home textiles, wallpapers and surface paints, Tricia has basically seen it all. In a rush of temporary vogues, cultural trends and new colour/fabric break-throughs, she has just summed the whole story up in Paint Box, an anthology providing visual inspiration, expert advice and 45 from her own signature colour palettes, with plenty of hints and tips – such as how to use plains, patterns and texture, or how to alter the balance of the colours – on how to create different effects.

On the occasion of the book launch, we met her to learn more about her private creative galaxy.

Tricia, what does colour mean to you?

It is the most powerful of all means. When I mentally leaf through my all-time fave artists and their artworks, a striking sense of colour – oh, unforgettable! – is what immediately comes to mind. It is a sort of instinctual, primary reaction, like an echo vibrating from their very soul and delving deep into that of art users. Colour is able to awaken a feeling, to change a mood, to elevate the spirit and make you appreciate being alive. 

Strong of such passion, you started your business more than 40 years ago. What has changed since then?

Fresh new technical design standards have seen the light, which makes me extremely excited and curious about the future to come although I still believe in classic processes and traditions. Each design or pattern has its own goal and method: as for us, we see them as actual artworks, sketched and painted by hand, ready to get versatile over time while staying beautiful.

What about contemporary design trends?

In my heart, I think that – despite the need to keep yourself up to date with what is going on in the field – it is way better to follow your instincts. Trends are temporary, but all the patterns, motifs and colours we love the most will stay for ever.

I guess that, more than following trends, we hopefully create them. This year, for instance, we just released a F/W palette built on highly evocative, dramatic and rich tones. A feast of large-sized floral patterns, shady surfaces and thin velvet strips. 

To deal with colours is not an easy ride. Where do you collect your inspiration from?

To pick the right colour is nothing but a private and emotional act. You need to take your time to get in tune with your own private sense of colour. We all have our happy, sad, relaxed palettes, and once such emotional perceptions are fully rationalised, it will be easy to apply this knowledge in our home.

I am a firm believer in the idea that you are what you see. If we open our eyes to the world around us, we cultivate a sense of the beauty that surrounds us, and we subconsciously train ourselves to edit what we like and what we don’t, thereby establishing our own sense of style and colour, an imaginative book of patterns that soon emerges out of my collections.

Tell us more about the book.

It is called Paint Box, and is a tool to share my tight link with colours and the way I put them together in a mix of surfaces, patterns and textures to my audience. Readers may have fun with it and try infinite configurations at home, letting their imagination run free…

Speaking of imagination, would you share a few precious tips on how to approach the world of colours?

Although I do not believe in rigid rules as for pairing chromatic nuances or patterns, I am aware of the difficulties faced by the majority of people to mix multiple colours or models. In my case, I generally don’t exceed 4 or 5 tones in one room, so the best way to start is to pick up to 3 or 4 colours and at least one natural or neutral nuance.

The latter is vital, since it provides general balance and also plenty of options to choose from: grey, ecru, chocolate brown, blue or green, if not pale pink. 

Once the palette is settled, what shall we do?

If you are more into a classic feel, just keep some warm neutrality. Otherwise, if a modern twist is more your cup of tea, you may as well go for colder tones like grey or off-white. 

If you are willing to create a bolder visual impact, you may opt for richer nuances – especially in small environments where lurid colours operate at their best.

The cherry on top? A few hints of green here and there will give any palette brand new life. 


by Valentina Mariani / 15 December 2017


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