by Neometro

Wattyl Spectrum: The 2019 Colour Forecast

Architecture, Design - by Open Journal

Held at the Alto at Melbourne’s former GPO, the inaugural Wattyl Spectrum event on 21 March drew an impressive crowd of architects, interior designers and professionals aligned to the paint industry.

Hosted by Simon McCuskey, the Wattyl Spectrum event not only provided the opportunity to look at Wattyl’s colour forecasts for 2019, but hear from some of the most well-respected in the industry: Matt Fitzgerald, Technical Manager for Sherwin-Williams; Kate Harris, CEO of GECA; and the flamboyant Sydney-based architect and interior designer Scott Weston, whose name is synonymous with colour. 

L to R: Sarah Stephenson, Scott Weston, Kate Harris & Matt Fitzgerald.

Although Weston showed how joyous colour can be when put into the right hands, others, such as Harris and Fitzgerald, showed the importance of eliminating volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from paint, something that Wattyl has been working on for years. Working closely with Wattyl since 2004, Geca’s motto ‘buying better for people and planet’, is close to CEO Kate Harris’s heart, having a son who was allergic to high VOC paints. The Wattyl staff illustrated her point by circulating open paint cans filled with white paint and asking them to smell. All were happy to put their noses in the cans!

From the technical to the more visual, Sarah Stephenson, Brands and Communications Manager for Wattyl, presented her colour forecasts for 2019. Working with a number of global agencies as well as applying her knowledge and experience from years in the industry, Stephenson didn’t start with what colours or finishes to expect going forward, but rather the influences on the way we live. The wellness movement, including the growth of spas and retreats, will further impact on our lives in the future. Working more from home and the impact that has on the way rooms are created, was also highlighted. “There’s going to be more emphasis on all senses, including smell,” says Stephenson, who emphasised the strengthening of crafts within the home. “The vacuum cleaner will be more artisanal in its form and in its materials, timber rather than steel.” The mid-tones will also gain attention in the next year, with a strong emphasis placed on the green hues, as exemplified by Wattyl’s ‘Green Scene’ backdrop for the evening. Aubergines and mulberry tones can also be anticipated. “Think of the warm feeling you get from entering an old library,” says Stephenson, who explained both matt and brushed finishes. 

Scott Weston took to the podium in true showmanship and showed not only his lifetime of work, but demonstrated why few if any, come close to his masterful handling of colour, or as he puts it ‘I can sing a rainbow’. “I’ve worked with every colour and shade,” says Weston, whose brightly coloured shirt was as vivid as his 100 images projected on the screen. His love of colour started as a child when living with his family in Papua New Guinea in the 1970s. Shown wearing a graphic, colourful shirt (his father was a graphic designer) and holding the latest leather-bound radio, his sense of style was never in doubt. 

Establishing his practice in 1996, Weston made waves in the design industry with Medusa, an 18-room boutique hotel located in Darlinghurst. Vibrant and colourful, each room offered a different stucco lustro feature wall from deep cobalt blues to mauves, soft greens and pinks. Other projects quickly followed, with the media waiting with anticipation for every project to be complete. There was the black and white scheme for a media personality wanting Weston to add life to her art deco-style apartment. However, there were also bolts of colour strategically placed, from fuschia to soft pastel pinks. In another project, Weston’s brief was to create a Moroccan-inspired interior. In this case, a banquette-style seat and tent-like structure was literally ‘bathed’ in colour, including velvet sourced from France. 

Colours such as ‘pink’ do not exist in Weston’s world. For him, it’s a special shade of pink that he’s looking for. The Brad Ngnata hair salon that formed part of the Ivy development in Sydney featured a ‘Madame Pompidou Pink’. His own home, currently under construction, will be an important milestone in Weston’s illustrious career. Villa Carmelina, built in 1887, will be completely transformed into a grand home. Finding inspiration from the former owners, a Latvian who was married to a Mexican, Weston will reimagine the past using Wattyl paint to sublime effect. No doubt every magazine and newspaper will be eagerly awaiting its unveiling towards the end of this year. “I love the element of surprise that colour creates. It’s like wearing an Oswald Boateng jacket with a sumptuous silk lining,” says Weston.

Usually numerous name tags are left on the greeting table with guests not turning up. However, for Wattyl’s Spectrum in Melbourne, few remained, with the entire room filled to capacity. With this success, a second Spectrum event is on the horizon, on 4th April at the Beta Bar, Level 1/238 Castlereagh Street in Sydney. 

For more information on Wattyl, please visit

Words by Stephen Crafti.


Search Open Journal

Subscribe to Open Journal:

Subscribe here

Connect with Open Journal: