Harlequin’s Colour Range

Lois Macaulay Design

The colour palette for interior design has gone through a development. Grey, the hugely popular neutral shade, has separated out. It is as if shadowed water cleared into pure water and the particles that filtered out took on a gentle hue.

Meissen Harlequin Gardiner Museum
Harlequin with a bagpipe, Meissen 1736 courtesy Gardiner Museum, Casals upholstery boucle
Gray has lightened into a white that is not stark, it is warm and natural, like unbleached wool, cotton or silk.  The colours are not chalky pastels, they are vapours or reflections of colour. The sunrise sky’s pink, blue, green and golden washes. The new rooms are mostly soft warm white with a little colour. If the colour has a larger area in an adjacent room it is an easy shade, nothing garish, nothing loud.
Prada bag, Gardiner Museum Harlequin, Pierre Frey Wallpaper
Prada bag, Gardiner Museum Harlequin, Pierre Frey wallpaper
Remember Harlequin of the last post? Since its publication, the motif has appeared in the feature products of Prada’s spring line and the feature wallpaper of Pierre Frey’s invitation to their Paris trade show appearance last month.
Harlequin pillow
Harlequin pillow Lois Macaulay, yarn from Eweknit.co
Pink is the strong highlight colour. We’re seeing mother of pearl pinks from cool mauve to balanced clears, coral pink and golden rose. One of my new Harlequin pillows combines several together.
Yarn courttesy Eweknit.co, figure courtesy Gardiner Museum
The new green is the pale shade of the Meissen figure. The old Park Avenue colour with strange names, like Puce and Chartreuse, is newborn with the tender freshness of spring leaves as celebrated by Browning – “Nature’s first green is gold, her hardest hue to hold, the early leaf’s a flower, but only so an hour”. Observe the first birch leaves that, seen from a distance, hover around the tree in a green cloud.
Hale Bob skirt and top, Eweknit yarn
Hale Bob skirt and top, Eweknit yarn
Opals have the new palette in their flash. Blue is the surprise new colour. Watch for it to appear in soft clear shades. Fashion and design are still operating as one so you will see it there too. As a consequence of the new developments, rooms will feel inviting, gentle and permeable.
Harlequin velvet pillow
Harlequin velvet pillow, Embroidered Picasso pillows from Lois Macaulay Design
The magic is Harlequin’s, an immortal who appears and disappears and sorts out the knots that karma weaves in personal lives. Familiarity with archetypes and allegories is a well-trodden path to an active and grounded imagination, the basis for designing anything. After that we can only make our best effort!
Lois Macaulay Design
Photo courtesy Lois Macaulay Design
Divas know that, given a voice, you can develop it into a singing voice, given the ability to walk you can train your steps to dance. And, as my architecture professor loved to say, exert yourself to “see what you are looking at.”

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  • These colours are so dreamy and so soothing…I am especially partial to the puce and chartreuse…the early colours of Spring! Your harlequin pillows are so lovely Lois, the shape and colours are very warm and inviting. Thank you for this ethereal inspiration!

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