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The power of colour

Interior trends, New Zealand

Oct 15, 2020


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From mood to perception of time, colour subconsciously influences emotion and behaviour on a daily basis. While our reaction to specific colours is largely subjective—informed by experience, culture, and context—there are some universal truths that transcend bias. Colour theory attempts to explain the connection between colour and human behaviour, touching on psychological, biological, and creative elements.

Invented in 1666 by Isaac Newton, we commonly use the colour wheel as a map of the colour spectrum to show us the relationships between different colours. The basic colour wheel is divided by hue and temperature, further classified by primary, secondary, and tertiary colours. More complex colour wheels incorporate tints, tones, and shades—created by adding white, grey, and black, respectively, to a base hue. Alongside hue, colours contain two other components: saturation, denoting vividity, and value, referring to brightness. Our basic understanding of colour associations centre around hue, however it is widely accepted that saturation, temperature, and value tend to have a greater influence on emotion.


Colours induce biological reactions that differ depending on their temperature, saturation, and value. Cool colours decrease arousal, promoting relaxation; warm colours increase arousal, stimulating excitement. These responses are further influenced by saturation and value—thus, a high value, low saturation blue is likely more relaxing than one with high saturation. Outside of experience, culture, and context, our biological reactions to colours sway our conscious and subconscious associations. For example, as red increases arousal—and with it heart rate and adrenaline—we tend to associate it with feelings of excitement, passion, and anxiety.


Applying colour theory in your space

Taking these biological reactions into account, you can create spaces that positively affect the people who live and work within them. For example, offices can be busy, high-anxiety spaces; if they’re painted or furnished with a palette of stimulating colours, there’s nowhere for staff to take a break. To support a healthy, comfortable working environment, it’s important to have a balance of cool and warm colours in the workplace—with cool colours taking precedence in spaces designated for focus, contemplation, and relaxation.


Colour theory is both a science and an art. Your palette has the power to influence human behaviour and evoke emotion; how you use said palette within your space is entirely discretionary.

Refresh your palette with six new colours

Our six new Cube colours span the full chromatic spectrum, offering a selection of warm and cool hues.

A deep, warm red, Sargazo is deliciously enticing—evoking feelings of passion, and stimulating conversation.

Light, earthy, and natural, Parthenon’s subtle, timeless aesthetic is perfect for contemporary spaces. Walking the line between cool and warm, Parthenon is both peaceful and optimistic—tipping the scales either way with context.

A confident, honey yellow, Beehive evokes feelings of joy and enthusiasm with a touch of nostalgia.

Cavalier is a dusky purple, gentle and effortlessly cool. Sophisticated without striving, Cavalier feels luxurious, yet grounded—a hue known for sparking creativity and spiritual connection.

A rich, twilight blue, Muralla conjures a sense of pensive tranquility. Associated with logic, intelligence, and integrity, this hue is perfect for spaces designed for contemplation or concentration. On a biological level, this deep blue is said to lower blood pressure and slow the heart rate.

Gherkin is a lush, jade green with a hint of warmth, despite being a naturally cool hue. This delicate balance offers both serenity and vitality with a touch of opulence. The colour of leafy foliage, Gherkin is grounding and familiar.

“To support a healthy, comfortable working environment, it’s important to have a balance of cool and warm colours in the workplace.”

Interior trends, New Zealand

Oct 15, 2020


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