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Designers Crush on Pantone’s Classic Blue

At the dawn of a new year and decade, there’s much to look forward to and reflect upon. The Pantone Color Institute has been taking the pulse of the times for 20 years, with its Color of the Year revealed every December. In 2000, Pantone selected 15-4020 Cerulean, a blue hue dubbed “the color of the millennium.” This year, Pantone’s Color of the Year returns to its roots with 19-4052 Classic Blue, a shade designed to install “calm, confidence and connection” and that “highlights our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era,” according to the company.

InspireDesign experienced Pantone’s color reveal firsthand at an exclusive multi-sensory party in New York City designed to engage the senses—sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste—and experience the new Color of the Year. Inside Artechouse, an innovative art space, a fragrance by Firmenich smelled fresh and green; small bites included jelly-filled pastries with berry flavors to harken back to the taste of Classic Blue; the sound of Classic Blue was created by Audio UX, a next-gen audio branding agency, in partnership with Pantone. Another Pantone partner, The Inside, a digitally native home furnishings brand, developed a custom Color of the Year 2020 fabric that tactilely embodies the spirit of this color.

N701 3-seater, Ethnicraft

Pantone’s Color of the Year has everyone talking, including hospitality designers. Here, they share their take on this solid and dependable blue hue.

“There are countless ways to use this hue since it’s so timeless and versatile,” said Stacy Garcia, CEO, Stacy Garcia Inc. “You can go all in with the color such as wallcovering, both patterned or embossed, or use it as an accent with fabric upholstered seating in public space areas or drapery/window treatments in the hotel guestroom. It’s a new neutral, traditional yet timeless. It is easy to use and universal, and can fit within various design styles.”

“Pantone’s Classic Blue certainly has uses in hospitality as a calming, peaceful color while not running the risk of being offensive,” said David Shove-Brown, principal & partner, //3877. “In a time when everyone needs a bit more calm in their lives, this seems like a logical selection.”

Jaime Hayon throw blanket, Fritz Hansen

Nina Magon, creative director, Contour Interior Design, added, “Classic blue is a beautiful color that presents understated yet impactful luxury, and a relaxed, peaceful atmosphere that promotes relaxation, yet is energetic and lively.”

In terms of design, Magon would incorporate this classic shade of blue in the hotel rooms and suites in the flooring, accent bedding, art and accessories.

“There are many opportunities for this color because of its versatility in its ability to meld seamlessly with other colors,” said Magon. “This shade of blue represents nature to me because it resembles the color of the ocean, which is so vast and endless. If you look at the earth from afar, you see the color blue more than any color, and it expresses such a divine dominance. If I were to describe this color with one word, it would be bold.”

Also going for the bold pop of color is Aki Fukushima, senior FF&E designer at Wilson Associates’ Los Angeles studio.

“Classic Blue is also ideal for expansive applications. This color can be used as a bold architectural surface, colored transparent glass or custom lighting fixture panel, where light could transform the hue as an ephemeral casted shadow in public spaces. For guestrooms, Classic Blue is ideal as a punch of unexpected color on drawer fronts or interiors of casegoods in a smaller cozier guestroom setting,” said Fukushima. “Classic Blue offers a calming and enigmatic feeling, often resembling dusk. This tone symbolizes a transformation, bringing anticipation for what is soon to end and what is just around the corner.”

Buee vase, Ligne Roset

Anurag Nema, founder & principal at nemaworkshop, believes this shade of blue can provide a respite for travelers, “which are the qualities I am seeking in guestrooms more and more—especially after experiencing the noise and energy of public spaces or after a big night out. It is classic and clean. Classic Blue can become quite luxurious when used with black or brass. I can also see it being incorporated in exclusive and intimate lounge spaces.”

He added, “I would describe the color as a color that hints at what’s to come. It’s a ‘door-opening’ color—inspirational and optimistic.”

A deep color like Classic Blue can inspire elegance, according to Melba Santos, design principal, Monogram at BBGM, by painting a full room and ceiling the same color to achieve high contrast with the accessories and rich architectural details.

“Instead of focusing on the color, it is all in the details; the color stands as the backdrop,” said Santos. “Classic Blue is a playful choice in a color scheme. It is bright enough to evoke a particular mood while creating unique palettes with other brighter colors such as grays, teals, and yellows. This is great for resorts, where the design typically has a fresh approach that speaks to locality.”

Santos also sees this shade of blue in the spa. “It can be used to create a connection to reflectivity and water—nature inspired. This color would allow the designer to play with the finish: gloss, satin or flat finish. The color can have an organic feel but with a contemporary reference, when working with textures,” said Santos. “I can see a color like Classic Blue working well for painting casegoods with a high gloss finish or satin finish for a contemporary look.”