How to use it in your home and why this might be Pantone's most urgent colour selection yet.
We learned in December that Living Coral is the colour of 2019, as selected by the experts at Pantone, the folks who have been interpreting and setting colour trends since the 1960s. And they definitely know a thing or two about colour forecasting.
As I discussed on Sky News about 2018’s Ultra Violet selection, Pantone does a great job of taking the pulse of the public. They painstakingly study where certain colours are showing up in the public domain, monitoring everything from fashion runways to Instagram filters to car shows, and they balance their findings with what people are craving as a result of their current environment. Given how tumultuous the last few years have been, it’s probably no coincidence that both Ultra Violet and Living Coral are distinctive colours of the zeitgeist: counterculture yet calming by nature.
How to incorporate Living Coral into your designs
As much as we had fun embracing Millennial Pink in the past, the bubble gum hue has had its day in the sun and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Living Coral is moving into its place. We’ve seen all kinds of gorgeous interpretations of Living Coral on the horizon. With the re-emergence of terracotta tiles and re-invigorated 1970s styles, it seems like everyone is craving more down-to-earth surroundings.
The thing about Pantone’s colour selection each year is that they almost always come as a shock to the system. I know I often think, how in the hell am I supposed to use that in my interiors?! That’s what their colour selections are meant to do. Pantone’s colours always end up making us think more creatively and countless unique and gorgeous interpretations ultimately emerge as a result.
Unlike so many of the other fast fashion and fast homeware trends that we are constantly bombarded with, the knee-jerk reaction to Pantone's choices means that its colour selections avoid being flash in the pan trends. Retailers can't just crank out every item they produce in Living Coral, it's a slow burn. It takes time and creativity to really showcase how the colour can truly transform a piece or a space. That's why I chose to write about the selection now, as opposed to when it was first announced in December. Living Coral needs time to flourish.
Pantone's colour selections have staying power, too. We’re still seeing variations of the Ultra Violet hue make its way into so many interiors because it's had time to breathe and because it plays so well with mauves and light dusty pink, which is pretty much a neutral by now.
As Aussies continue to shed the "all white box" look and consumers continue to prize provenance in their homewares over short term trends, I think we’re going to see some very artistic uses of Living Coral that will continue to excite and surprise us.
Why Living Coral is an urgent Call to Action
Executive director of the Pantone Colour Institute, Leatrice Eiseman doesn’t shy away from talking about the environment or the fact that real living coral is in serious danger. In fact, living coral is dying off at alarmingly rapid rates thanks to rising sea temperatures and ocean acidification, both direct ramifications of climate change.
Another major influence in this year's colour decision comes from social media and the clear push toward freshness and saturated colours in an increasingly chaotic world.
So if social media and climate disruption are the main catalyst for Pantone's decision, I guess it’s extra ironic that the #10YearChallenge, (the new social media phenomenon that’s meant to showcase glow-ups over the last decade) has actually morphed into something much more dramatic, and definitely more urgent. It didn’t take long for climate advocates and scientists to jump on the viral hashtag to demonstrate how badly climate disruption has ravaged the earth over the last decade. One of the most disturbing depiction would have to be our Australian natural treasure, the Great Barrier Reef, which has lost more than 50% of its living coral since 2016.
How you can help
Despite years of strong pushback against the proposed Adani Carmichael mine that would ship billions of tonnes of filthy coal directly through the heart of our Great Barrier Reef, those plans have yet to be quashed. If Adani is allowed to move forward, it plans to pump billions of litres of water from a river in drought-stricken central Queensland to feed what would be the largest new open-cut coal mine on planet earth.
If our coral reefs are going to stand a chance against climate change, we have to slow down the warming rate. Unfortunately, this Adani plan is what experts have called one of the planet's worst carbon bombs. If it's allowed to move forward. it will wreak absolute havoc on the Great Barrier Reef and all the life it supports.
Thankfully, there are a few scrappy grassroots groups fighting the Adani proposal at every step of the way with little money and a lot of heart. They could really use your help. So please donate $10 to help fund the Australia Conservation Foundation's lawsuit to stop Adani's water theft or join a protest action with Tipping Point later this month. If you can't do any of these things, consider writing your MP.
Tell me in the comments how you plan to use Living Coral in your interiors, and more importantly, how you plan to protect it?