Silence, human touch and durable finishes: Axalta’s trend forecasting studio predicts the future of colour and finishes for 2022


Powder coatings industry heavyweight Axalta gives a sneak preview into vibes, its trend report and magazine, launching 14 June 2021.

Aside from the more obvious impacts of COVID-19, Axalta has predicted that working from home will mean an increasing need for silence – surfaces that promote stillness – as well as interior design that creates calming, enclosed spaces. The emphasis will be on natural materials and a corresponding neutral palette: quiet colours, subtle textures, minimalistic lines and surfaces – the theme is tranquillity – and the colour palette focuses on ‘neo-neutrals’.

The second prediction is that, with the increasing presence of AI and automated processes in our lives, we’ll see a design ethos that puts the human very firmly back into the equation. Surfaces evoking handmade finishes in clay, wood and rattan will be combined with more industrial looking colours and textures. This tension will dominate the finishes we see on facades and window frames and in interiors.

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Meanwhile, Axalta’s ColourDesign Manager, Sally Put, is declaring a colour of the year for 2021, Axalta’s SuprAnodic Nature: “We brought all the analytics and colour expertise together and saw that, whilst black, grey and white remain the timeless bestsellers, there is a new fashion for an anodised look - a smooth, matt, subtle metallic effect – which looks set to become the number one choice for specifiers of architecture, lighting, furniture and beyond.

These predictions and more have been gathered into Axalta’s annual publication, the vibes trend report, analysing the looks, colours and effects for the year ahead in the architecture and interiors sectors. Each copy comes with a sample fan deck, including aluminium powder-coated samples in the 10 colours selected for the architecture and design mood boards.

The publication features leading voices from architecture and product design. Sally discusses the psychology of colour choices and various industry spokespeople, from Axalta clients Spanish Bestia Bikes to Belgium’s Studio Segers, discuss colour choices special to them.

Furniture and architecture designers at Studio Segers say: “In addition to form, proportion and function, the right colour, fabric or finish is also what makes or breaks the furniture”, while interior designers Colombo say: “Usually the designer works from the outside in; but now we increasingly find that we are working from the inside out - from the heart to the skin” - allowing colour to express the core of the concept.

Museum of Architecture founder Melissa Woolford is interviewed about their current exhibition Colour Memories, running to 1 October and sponsored by Axalta.

The exhibition captures the personal colour stories and inspirations of more than 20 architects including, Jonathan Hagos’ connections to salmon orange, Harbinder Singh Birdi’s connection to traffic red and Paul Monaghan’s connection to Victorian tile green. Each architect has chosen an Axalta colour sample to best represent their memory.

The 2020 vibes report strongly reflected the impact of the pandemic, with words like ‘cave’, ‘refuge’ and nostalgia dominating the predictions. “As we emerge from this time, the emphasis is changing”, says Sally. “We’re all seeking the reassurance of human touch and a being-at-one with our environment. These feelings will be expressed in the design of our homes, work and play spaces as the year unfolds.”


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