MIX 62.02.03 Sweet Pea
One year on, our creative agency Colour Hive, spotlight a colour from the previous season’s forecast in MIX Magazine.
Continuing with this series, we’ll explore Sweet Pea’s historic and cultural relevance, and track early adopters in the design industry.
Sometimes consumers just want a little bit of unabashed prettiness, and this sugary confection of a pink more than delivers. Yet, alongside its reputation for slightly retrograde sweetness, this colour can also prove surprisingly anarchic.
In the last 10 years pink has enjoyed quite a sea change in its reputation, moving from a cramped niche in girl’s accessories to an established favourite, sitting comfortably alongside grey. But not all pinks are created equal; there are the brown based roses and blushes shaded with grey; these are flavoured with more than a little millennial fairy dust. Then there are the artificial pinks that almost make your teeth ache. Sweet Pea sits in the latter camp; there’s no way this could be described as a luxe neutral.
Yet even if Sweet Pea isn’t as easy a sell as the roses and blushes, with the release of Barbie the movie it’s having a bit of a moment.
Mattel | Barbie Movie
A cultural icon known for her pink-themed lifestyle, Barbie has been an influential figure for decades. Drawing inspiration from Palm Springs residences, the film's extensive use of pink paint triggered a global shortage. The all-pink, hyper-feminine "Barbiecore" aesthetic has also infiltrated the design world, evident in the surging Google search interest and over 349 million views on TikTok.
Beyond fantasy, many architects also have an affection for this attention-grabbing pink. Frank Lloyd Wright apparently toyed with making the Guggenheim pink instead of classic white, while in Spain, La Muralla Roja apartments by Ricardo Bofill combine pink with an almost Escher-like postmodern structure. And of course, Luis Barragan’s iconic pink walls helped to define Mexican architectural modernism.
This isn’t just a history lesson though; pink has been emerging in architecturally designed interiors too. Take North London’s Humble Pizza with its Sweet Pea coloured interior and exterior by Child Studio. In Spain, Patricia Bustos Studio’s Minimal Fantasy apartment is saturated with the colour, while Cats’ Pink House, a Taiwanese holiday home designed by KC Design Studio, plays with different pinks including Sweet Pea in a space designed for both the owner and, as the name suggests, the owner’s cats.
While this pink can look fresh in architecture, furniture in Sweet Pea can feel a little hackneyed. The answer seems to lie in using the colour as a sharp contrast to unexpected, often unrefined materials. Ineke Hans did this back in 2007 with her fracture furniture for Cappellini, binding her chunky pictogram shapes in bright pink synthetic resin. More recently, last year she transformed a meeting room for CapitalC in Amsterdam into the Pink Salon, a colour not usually seen in corporate spaces.
Sam Jacob Studio
Or take a look at this work from Sam Jacob Studio (pictured above). This love seat shows how pink can be de-prettified through material and application. The studio’s Stay Together project, reimagining furniture as social sculpture by taping junk shop furniture together, has produced anarchic love seats that aim to celebrate community. The choice of pink tape here is at once radical, reassuring, and inspired.
Sweet Pea aptly illustrates how, in the hands of the right creative, preconceived notions of a colour’s identity can be played with, generating challenging and subversive work. It’s a mistake to pigeon-hole this pink as saccharinely pretty; it’s capable of much, much more.
Duha Group is a global, industry leading manufacturer of innovative colour marketing tools. We specialise in colour matching, colour mass reproduction and colour system management.
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