Global Trends Influence Seven New Colors

No matter where we live, technology allows us to experience the world like never before. Our innate curiosity can be satisfied on a whim. We can connect to people, pictures and live video from almost anywhere. We can import portions of the world at will and it’s exciting. We live in an age of plurality — a world full of color, texture and inspiration.

Julie Yonehara, Steelcase surface materials designer, works with teams based in Michigan, Munich and Hong Kong to understand why certain design directions are gaining traction and what people need in the workplace. Yonehara is seeing connections emerge between the broad themes of culture and identity, globalization, biophilia — people’s innate desire to be close to nature — creativity and how technology is influencing every aspect of our lives, tying everything together. The intersection of the drivers making up these big trends informed the creation of seven new accent color palettes for furniture recently added to Steelcase’s growing portfolio.

Aubergine is a subtle, sophisticated and tinted neutral. (Photo courtesy: Zara Walker)

Aubergine is a subtle, sophisticated and tinted neutral. (Photo courtesy: Zara Walker)

In today’s workplace, people are seeking places that make them feel happy, comfortable or inspired. Demands are higher because people are spending more time with technology and working longer hours. They’re also growing more sophisticated in what they like as a result of what they experience through technology and social media. More than ever, it’s the perfect time to add more color choices for workplace designers.

“The colors represent the cultural shift in how and where work is taking place. There’s more informal spaces where people can feel good like they do at home,” says Yonehara. “Color and materiality can reinforce the mood and intended use of a space. Color helps communicate permissions of the space.”