As a new year begins and a new Color of the Year is on the horizon, we were lucky enough to find a minute to chat with Jessica McConnell – Director of Advanced Design at Whirlpool Corporation – about the emotional power of Beetroot and the design possibilities this color brings to the kitchen and the home.
INCLUSIVE, COMFORTING AND CONFIDENT
Director of Advanced Design at Whirlpool Corporation
Before they landed on Beetroot, McConnell and her team explored everything from the hot pink space to colors that have more blue in them, but as she explains ”… they were interested in the duality that more of a purple tone has to offer.” She goes on to say that Beetroot “…is kind of a boundaryless color that encapsulates a multitude of feelings.” Because there’s a lot of dual emotions evident everywhere at the moment, the team was inspired by the idea that Beetroot has both feminine and masculine qualities. “There’s a lot of conversation happening right now around making space for everyone, the importance of empathy and considering other perspectives…” – McConnell says – and Beetroot plays naturally into this celebration of inclusivity.
In addition to being a color that’s in sync with the collective mood of openness that’s pervasive right now, the Global Design Team at KitchenAid was also excited about the confidence Beetroot embodies. Purple is a color often associated with royalty and celebrations. KitchenAid has tweaked the color though, explains McConnell, “… and given it a little bit of depth…” to make it a color that’s not only confident, it’s also restorative and uplifting. The red or pink in it gives you “a little bit of a hug.” It’s a color that allows you to make a space for yourself to feel special and included in.
McConnell goes on to reflect on the idea that we’re all still seeking comfort and our homes are still very much our sanctuaries where we’re spending more time than ever, but the idea of emerging from confined spaces into the world, or nature, is really taking over. She and her team loved how this root – which is pulled out of the earth into the world – symbolizes this desire to reemerge. Once the root has been pulled out of the ground it can look a little rough – but when you cut into it a surprisingly beautiful, vibrant interior reveals itself. “We wanted that to come through with the color – this idea that it’s both earthy and comforting, but also vibrant and full of energy and possibility…” says McConnell.
A JOURNEY TO NEW PLACES
This year’s color took the team on a creative journey to places they hadn’t spent a lot of time exploring before. Beets and the use of them are very connected to Eastern European cultures. So the global design team ended up diving into the food cultures of countries like Russia and Greece to learn about how beets are used there. In addition to delicious food inspiration, their research led them to discover that beets are often used to create dyes for food and clothing. They were intrigued by the idea that this unassuming root can be used as a natural colorant to create something completely different. The root has the potential to produce a lot of different hues – just by scrubbing it, or adding water to it you can get everything from a hot pink to an almost black hued purple experience.
As far as how other regions of the world will use Beetroot, McConnell says “…a nice thing about this color is that it can fit in various moods and styles in the home, so I see that it could come to life in so many ways around the world…” For instance, a country like Brazil has far more expression and a very lively, contemporary use of color; whereas color is often treated more conservatively in North America. Beetroot has the flexibility to accommodate both of these different approaches to color, as well as others.
Director of Advanced Design at Whirlpool Corporation
ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE
In reflecting on today’s consumers, the global design lead offers that people are often either purists – who are a bit more traditional and prefer classic, warm tones – or, they’re more on the expressive side and they like to play with a lot of interesting color combinations. Eclectic styles fit in this category. There’s also a new mashup of traditional and eclectic emerging known as grand millennial. “Younger generations are growing up with the mindset of ‘anything is possible,’ ‘I should express myself’ and ‘I want to be accepted for who I am’…” McConnell says. They’re willing to take more risks with color or pattern – and layers of those things – and Beetroot is a great color for this kind of self-expression.
“…I think of all the interesting ways you can pair this color to create energy and comfort at the same time.” In addition to playing with different layerings of warm mauves or beiges and accenting them with pink hues, McConnell also loves seeing Beetroot, which has a beautiful satin finish, paired with dark tones and other elevated finishes. In her opinion “… this color looks amazing with black, or tinted blacks – Beetroot and KitchenAid brand’s black stainless can create a beautiful, elegant combination…” Adding dashes of gold or crystal can help turn Beetroot into something uplifting and really special in your kitchen.
A FEEL GOOD COLOR
The Director of Advanced Design at Whirlpool Corporation admits that before Beetroot came along she was not a huge purple lover. Her favorite color space is green. “That’s where I live, that’s what I love” she says. But as she and her team dove deeper into the color, its power and significance, she became a convert. As she puts it: “I started to respect this color a lot more for what it means and what it serves…just like getting to know another person, getting to know a color inherently makes you appreciate it more. So now I love it beyond how it can be used, I love what it means – I love how it makes me feel – that’s a testament to what this color can do.” Then she continues, with a smile in her voice, “…pairing Beetroot with pale green would be amazing.”
Aside from all the layers of meaning and inspiring design possibilities this color brings to the proverbial table, at the end of the day, Beetroot is a radically optimistic, feel good color. So here’s to a new Color of the Year and to something we all deserve and to something we’ve all been missing a little – to just feel good.