Colour in conversation

We chat to Bree Leech about her role as creative director of the Dulux Colour Forecast 2019.

Bree, what does your work with Dulux involve? As Creative Director I oversee the Dulux Colour Forecast, helping to provide direction for the trends and overall theme. Collaborating with Andrea Lucena-Orr and Davina Harper from Dulux we finalise the themes and colour palettes, and I produce the imagery and creative aspects as well as edit and art direct the magazine.

Paint colours: Wall in Dulux Kohokohunui, Ceiling in Dulux Cardrona. Artwork: ‘Vessel in Monochrome’ by Antoinette Ferwerda.

You look worldwide to identify emerging trends, how do you distill these down into four colour stories for the forecast? It’s a complex process over many months, where we all contribute ideas and themes before traveling to Milan design week. I then spend some time editing these ideas into what I think are the strongest trends, and while in Milan we either confirm these directions or change them to start shaping our final palettes. Once we return we start to realise these palettes into paint colours and with a few weeks of editing, we narrow down what the most important hues will be for the four themes that make up the Dulux Colour Forecast.

Paint colours: Wall in Dulux Ohai Half, Wall in Dulux Otatara (right).

Has the rise of social media changed the way colour/interior trends develop? Absolutely – years ago when I was forecasting trends and colour there wasn’t the access we have now to the latest developments in the fashion and design world – so we would wait for publications to come out, or travel ourselves to trade fairs – essentially the turn around of a trend was much slower. Now trends become evident and evolve very quickly due to how much we see instantly.

Paint colours: Column in Dulux Devils Staircase, Wall (rear) & ceiling in Dulux Southern Alps, Wall (feature) in Dulux Manapouri & Dulux Taylors Mistake, Stair wall in Dulux Waiheke. Artwork: ‘A Portion For Foxes’ original painting by Stacey Rees, Modern Times.

The thoughts you shared on creating nurturing spaces to disconnect from technology overload really resonated with us, How do you think colour can improve our wellbeing? People underestimate colour in our home and work spaces. Colour has the ability to uplift, to calm, to stimulate – our wellbeing can benefit from relaxing environments created with tonal palettes and we can feel happier surrounded by colour we love.

Paint colours: Wall in Dulux Whitianga, Cabinets in Porter’s Paint® Dusty Mule.

Any tips for the budding colour enthusiast, and how they can be braver in their home? Start small – the edge of your door, inside a cupboard – I guarantee adding these little surprise elements of colour will inspire you to experiment with more colour in your life – move onto furniture pieces, and then you’ll be painting a whole room in immersive colour in no time.

Paint colours: Wall (rear) in Dulux Tata Beach, Wall (front) in Dulux Roxburgh. Artwork: ‘Mustard’ original painting by Stacey Rees, Modern Times. ‘Sculpture 13 ‘original sculpture by Mark Alsweiler, Modern Time.

What is your current favourite colour and why? Oh I can never play favourites! The colour I’m drawn to changes daily, right now I’m loving yellow in a tonal palette that moves to mustard, gold and biscuit with little bits of delicious brown.

View the four palettes from the Dulux Colour Forecast 2019 here.

Styling Bree Leech
Photography Lisa Cohen