Inspired by Nature – Laminex Colour Collection 2021
17 new colours, including solids, woodgrains and minerals, have been added to the Laminex Colour Collection, drawing on nature as a central point of reference. The new colours – which are part of the ‘Living Pigments’ and ‘Calm Character’ collections – range from the subtle to the bold and represent a significant evolution of the Laminex colour offering.
The tones, hues and textures of the natural world are not only a time-honoured source of solace and comfort but an inexhaustible wellspring of creative inspiration. It was especially fitting, therefore, that the Laminex product development team would turn to nature to inform the new additions they were creating for the Laminex Colour Collection, as Neil Sookee, Laminex Product Design Manager, explains. “Working on these colours during the pandemic, we were strongly influenced by the concept of haven, of refuge,” he says.
The tones, hues and textures of the natural world are not only a time-honoured source of solace and comfort but an inexhaustible wellspring of creative inspiration.
It was an idea that was born out in their research, which showed interiors and architecture gravitating towards nature, with warmer hues and an emphasis on tactility. “There was a sense of seeking comfort in the colours and materiality of the natural world,” Neil recalls. As a product not only designed but proudly manufactured entirely in Australia, the new colours needed to reflect this context. “We took the findings from our research and then applied a strong Australian reference – our landscape and light are so unique here that it was very important that we interpreted what we were seeing globally in our local context,” he says.
With seven new solids, two new woodgrains and eight new minerals expanding the palette available to architects and designers, the 2021 Laminex Colour Collection offers more opportunities to bring nature into interiors. Far from being limited to only the expected greens and neutrals, the new additions draw on the richness and diversity of the Australian landscape, from the sunburnt, earthy hues of the desert to the delicate nude tones of Western Australia’s beaches. The new additions build on the success of the “a huge rearrangement of the offering undertaken in 2019,” Neil says. “That was largely focused around new whites, solid colour neutrals and woodgrains. This time we wanted to take that further and introduce more depth and nuance into the Colour Collection.”
As a product not only designed but proudly manufactured entirely in Australia, the new colours needed to reflect this context.
The resulting new additions emphasise warmth with bolder accent colours that make a sophisticated statement, like Laminex Kalamata and Burnt Ochre, and balance the softer tones that lend themselves to en-masse applications, such as Porcelain Blush, Pale Honey and Danish Walnut. While undoubtedly pushing the Laminex Colour Collection in a new direction, the colours are united not only by nature as their source of inspiration but also by an underlying harmony that ensures all the new additions complement Laminex’s existing colour chart, Neil says. “We were conscious of making sure that the new colours we were adding would work with our core range. We check everything against the current palette to ensure the new colours can be flexible enough to work with the existing.”
When it came to solid colours, ‘living pigments‘ are about colours of the earth – ochre, terracotta, sand – then ‘vegetal greens’ are about the plants that grow on it. This manifests in colours that are sumptuous, full-bodied, and optimistic,” he says. But unlike some of the more saturated hues of the past, these colours are tempered with enough black to make them subtler, more muted and, therefore, more widely applicable.
“We were conscious of making sure that the new colours we were adding would work with our core range. We check everything against the current palette to ensure the new colours can be flexible enough to work with the existing.”
Laminex Moroccan Clay, for example, “is a strongly blackened red with a hint of yellow. It looks as though it could have come directly from a potter’s kiln and is clearly earth-based,” says Neil. The balance between the red and black creates a confident yet eminently usable colour that pairs well with whites, warm neutrals, light and dark yellow as well as red-based woods. Similarly earthy, Burnt Ochre also has plenty of black to create a colour that is especially suited to richer yellow and red-based woodgrains. Meanwhile, Porcelain Blush is a neutral pale sandy yellow tending to red, calling to mind both the Australian seaside and the potter’s raw material.
The two new greens also capture the muted qualities of the Australian bush, slightly blackened to soften their vibrancy, Neil describes. “Hushed Pine works with pale woods and whites tending to yellow or green, while Olivine is a medium-strength yellow-based green that is subdued by the addition of grey.”
As with the existing range, the new Laminex products have been engineered for resilience and are available in both high-pressure laminate, for benchtops and horizontal surfaces, and decorated board for vertical applications, such as cabinetry panels and doors and wall paneling.
Woodgrains and minerals, as designs whose references to the natural world are more literal, required a very carefully considered approach. “We apply either a photo-realistic recreation or an abstract interpretation,” says Neil. In addition to ensuring the design of the pattern is true to life, the finish is also key. All the new woodgrains are available in both Natural and Chalk finishes, which offer an additional level of detail and appropriate tactile qualities.
Designing the two new woodgrains, “we called the theme ‘ calm character’ – which is about a celebration of the materials but the way they are rendered is in a way that subdues and restrains them, so they work harmoniously and create a sense of calm,” Neil explains. A simpler evolution of the popular Laminex Natural Walnut, Danish Walnut “is a linear, very lightly planked woodgrain with a sense of gentle movement. The idea is one of wood as a colour carrier. It is a good option when a classic Italian walnut colour is sought but with less vigorous structure than Natural Walnut.” Making the most of innovations in technology, Laminex Shou Sugi Ban is a sophisticated woodgrain capturing the characteristic crackled, slightly glossy surface of traditional Japanese charred timber.
All Laminex laminates and decorated board products are manufactured in Australia and stocked nationally.
As with the existing range, the new Laminex products have been engineered for resilience and are available in both high-pressure laminate (HPL) and decorated board. High pressure laminate is impact, moisture, stain and scratch resistant and features Protec+ antimicrobial protection, while decorated board (also known as low pressure melamine) is a panel product with a very similar surface appearance to high-pressure laminate (HPL) and a complementary set of physical properties and performance attributes. While HPL has the impact and wear resistance required for benchtops and other horizontal surfaces, decorated board’s rigid structure is perfect for vertical components, such as cabinetry panels and door and wall paneling. All Laminex laminate products are manufactured in Australia and stocked nationally.
“We’re excited to be releasing this significant evolution of the Laminex Colour Collection in 2021,” says Neil. “Now we’re even more excited to see what the design community does with them.”