Visual Silence: A colour collaboration with House of Grey. Nine calming colours, designed to bring a deeper connection to the spaces we create.
Introducing Visual Silence, a new colour collaboration developed with House of Grey, a pioneering design studio based in London. Led by founder Louisa Grey, the studio has a fundamental aim to leave a positive design legacy when renovating and restoring modern and historic spaces. Their purpose to create interior landscapes that have inherent health benefits and minimal impact on the planet aligns with how we at Bauwerk, develop our products and run our company. It was a great opportunity to blend our skills to create the colours that as designers, House of Grey wanted to use, but couldn't find on the market. The result is a collection of nine cohesive colours, all named for a feeling rather than a visual association.
As Louisa puts it, "House of Grey design for the feeling you get in the space, not just as an aesthetic. But the feeling and aesthetic go hand in hand. With Bauwerk, I designed each hue in the collection to provide the feeling I wanted when I walked into a room or space, not just the aesthetic quality. The end result is they do feel like their names–intention, slow, still, retreat, quiet, reflection, balance, cleanse, nurture–and provide a deep quality of experience."
We sat down with Louisa for a debrief on the collaboration–where she likes to use certain colours, things she didn't know about limewash and the colour she's still looking for...
Q: What set Bauwerk apart from the other paint companies when you first discovered their limewash paint?
A: What made me approach Bronwyn, I was drawn to the fact the company is 100% authentic in it’s approach and have a very beautiful natural product that they are extremely knowledgeable about– the brand is honest and genuine. I liked the way it how it expresses itself on social media and on their website. I was led by my instinct and intuition that there would be an alignment across businesses.
Myself and Bronwyn got to know each other during the process of making the Silence paint collection. We’ve built a close working relationship that has built organically over time and have found there to be many crossovers in our approaches to our work and running businesses. The discovery in the journey is that Bauwerk make every order bespoke for each customer which limits waste, their products are so natural, there is not nasty chemical scent and the rooms painted with Bauwerk have a warmth that is hard to explain unless you live with them.
Bauwerk are genuine and they live their values, I respect that.
Q: Would you rather pick a colour for life or have to use a new colour each and every time you painted?
A: I've picked a colour for life: "Quiet” - which is our best seller and has been my favourite since the outset. It was the one colour we went back and forth on a lot in the development as I wanted to get it just right.
After years of living with "white" and "magnolia" in rented accommodation, I craved for something that's not grey after the last few years of it being incredibly popular. There are some misconceptions about our colour palette - “Grey” is my name, but it’s not our go to colour.
At House of Grey, we enjoy the subtlety of shades that aren't colours but hues. The ‘colour’ on the wall is the backdrop to the natural textures we place in the space.
Q: Have your colour choices changed since you started as a designer? If so, how and why?
A: Yes definitely. I very much select them based on colours I'd like to live with. Previously I chose punchier, stronger, colours with patterns. This was because as an interior stylist, I was selecting colours that were in line with trends. But through experience, I’ve noticed that brighter tones and bolder patterns look dated quite quickly, and they’re not as forgiving with wear and tear from daily life.
Now our aesthetic is more refined and timeless because it’s more about texture than colour. I think in terms of "set design" and there is now more longevity in how I design rooms, I know what is easier to live with: richer, softer, earthier tones. Colours in our palette are dictated by nature. They’re more nature led, not chemically led.
Q: Where do you like using darker hues like Nurture? Do you choose it by the function of the room or a feature, like the amount of light the room gets?
A: We lean towards using the darker hues in the range for resting spaces – rooms you just don't want to leave and cocoon in like snug spaces and cinema rooms.
I learned a lot about colours and pigments during working with Bauwerk – how the light refraction quality changes from room to room, house to house, even from country to country.
There are subtle but noticeable differences, the colours vary depending on natural light in the room. The hues in the palette look different when used in a city to on country walls, they look different in different hemispheres and climates too – I’ve seen the same colours used in Germany and Australia, and there is a subtle difference in how they refract the light."
Q: What was the most important thing about the Bauwerk limewash that stood out to you? Did it have a ‘look’ you wanted to achieve or was it more about the sustainability aspect?
A: Working with Bauwerk allowed us to craft and design a cohesive colour collection, which was an interesting learning experience as a designer. I enjoyed the collaborative process, drawing on Bronwyn's experience of blending paints and working with natural substances. We both provided different perspectives as designer and maker, coming at it from different angles.
I enjoy embracing the natural nuances of handmade paint – there’s no uniformity as it’s not man made, they’re not perfect on purpose. Nature is unique – it holds beautiful imperfections that cannot be manufactured or reproduced. Nature teaches us that life isn’t perfect and that’s what makes it interesting.
Because they are fresh paints, there is no waste in the Bauwerk process and in the lifecycle of the limewash. I like the way they operate because they are very aware of their impact, Bronwyn really knows what she's doing.
Q: Were there any unexpected results about the limewash paint that you only realised after you’d used it?
A: Different brands of paint have different personalities. Some are easier to work with, true to form and are the same on the walls as they are on the colour charts. The Bauwerk personality comes from the natural lime base, it provides a sensitivity and earthiness you cannot recreate using non-natural paint. As you wash it onto the walls, each layer provides different feelings and levels of intensity. The effect on the walls changes with each application. Our preference is 3 - 4 coats, 3 -4 layers of limewash is the magic number for us.
Q: Are there any colours that didn’t make the final list that you would do if you had another chance?
A: Next time I’d love to produce a yellow ochre. The ‘Balance’ hue in the collection was quite ‘ochre-y’,but not quite. Once again, we can't find what we're looking for – and would love to work on an ochre tone I have in mind.