Marianne Shillingford on the power of paint

The technology involved in paint is extraordinary. People just think it's just gloop in a can and we choose it on price, but it's a smart product now.
– Marianne Shillingford

As the creative director for Dulux in the UK, Marianne Shillingford is an authority on the power of colour, but she says that paint can do more than just make a room look good and that the impact it can have is often overlooked.

"Architects see paint as a protective coating rather than an opportunity to change something quite radically for very, very little money," she explained in an interview with CLAD. "It's an extraordinary transformer - and it's cheap."

Shillingford suggests that people overlook colour when developing projects because it is so simple, but argues that it can be a major factor if you want to create certain outcomes for people, such as helping them relax, feel better, study better or sleep better.

"A lot of our research is about creating palettes of colours and working with lighting designers, flooring designers and architects on paint design and product design to create palettes of colours that really enhance wellbeing," she said.

"Wellbeing can somewhere be where you just get a chance to be comfortable and de-stress – so those kinds of colours can be soft and soothing – but wellbeing can also be about colours that invite people to get together and chat or re-energising colours."

Paint by purpose

Much of the work carried out by Marianne and her team at Dulux involves designing palettes and recommending products for different sectors based on what the desired outcome is, rather than just the desired aesthetic.

She explained: "In the sports and fitness category, it's key to have durable surfaces for heavy wear and a colour scheme that helps to enhance and promote energy levels in different workout spaces – to motivate and stimulate in the gym and to calm and relax in the yoga studio.

"In a hotel, the needs will be a little different, although durability will be key and the aesthetic will be working much harder to establish a unique look and feel, to stimulate appetite in the restaurant, relaxation in the lounge areas and restful sleep in bedrooms."

Indeed, not only are colour palettes and paint properties chosen based on sectors, they are specifically created for them. Today, the properties of many paints are such that Shillingford says its sophistication is routinely overlooked.

More than just gloop

"Each of our colour ranges has been designed with specific sectors in mind from education to leisure with a richness of research that can positively affect how people feel and respond in a space. This occupant-centred approach to designing colours and products gives professionals a hugely valuable tool in creating spaces that are much more than beautiful and practical.

"Our paints and coatings contain different technologies that suit the demands of specific projects and surfaces. They provide a range of sustainable solutions like super durability that increases the decorating lifecycle and saves costs on maintenance, high light reflectance that saves energy and enhances the appearance of space and thermal properties that help to reduce heating costs.

"The technology involved in paint is extraordinary. People just think it's just gloop in a can and we choose it on price, but it's a smart product now."

Marianne Shillingford  Dulux  colour  paint 
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Marianne Shillingford on the power of paint
As the creative director for Dulux in the UK, Marianne Shillingford is an authority on the power of colour, but she says that paint can do more than just make a room look good and that the impact it can have is often overlooked.