The inaugural Wattyl Spectrum event held in Melbourne in March this year 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 presented an opportunity to look at Wattyl’s colour forecasts for 2019, but also provided a platform for some of the most well-respected voices in the industry such as Matt Fitzgerald, Technical Manager for Sherwin-Williams, Kate Harris, CEO of GECA, and the Sydney-based architect, interior designer and colour expert Scott Weston to present their views.

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, which they did – gladly.

Sarah Stephenson, Brands and Communications Manager for Wattyl, presented her colour forecasts for 2019. Based on her interactions with a number of global agencies as well as her knowledge and experience from years in the industry, Stephenson spoke about the influences on the way we live: For instance, she believes the wellness movement, including the growth of spas and retreats, will further impact on our lives in the future. The increasing trend of people working more from home will also have an impact on the way rooms are created.

“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.”

Her colour forecast expects mid-tones to gain attention in the coming 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.

Taking to the podium, Scott Weston not only showed his lifetime of work, but also 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.

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.

After the Medusa hotel, other projects soon followed: these included the black and white scheme for a media personality wanting Weston to add life to her art deco-style apartment. Weston achieved the brief by strategically placing bolts of colour from fuschia to soft pastel pinks. In another project, Weston’s brief to create a Moroccan-inspired interior saw the designer put together a banquette-style seat and tent-like structure literally ‘bathed’ in colour.

Instead of considering a single colour, Weston looks for the particular shade of the colour that he wants for the project. The Brad Ngnata hair salon that formed part of the Ivy development in Sydney featured a ‘Madame Pompidou Pink’. His own home, Villa Carmelina, built in 1887, will be completely transformed into a grand home. Currently under construction, Weston is seeking inspiration from the former owners, a Latvian who was married to a Mexican, to reimagine the past using Wattyl paints to sublime effect.

“I love the element of surprise that colour creates. It’s like wearing an Oswald Boateng jacket with a sumptuous silk lining,” says Weston.