12.–16.01.2025 #immcologne

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The courage to acknowledge colour

Rainbow colours: furnishing the office with pride

Each year in June, Pride Month is celebrated. During this time, a large part of the world festoons itself in all the bright colours of the rainbow and celebrates diversity. But it’s possible to make a clear statement with these six colours during the rest of the year too – even in the office.

Laptop with LOVE screen in rainbow colors

Whether it’s a home office or an open-plan office, rainbow colours make a colourful statement. (Photo: Dayne Topkin, Unsplash)

Six colours, one statement

Inspired by the song “Over the Rainbow” from “The Wizard of Oz”, the first pride flag was designed in 1977 by veteran Gilbert Baker. Baker’s original design was sewn by hand and includes eight colours, each representing a different aspect of LGBT+ culture. But demand for the flag soon became too great and Baker could no longer produce each flag by hand. Instead, he began to use a rainbow fabric that was only available in six colours. This enabled him to produce more flags more quickly. To this day, the flag remains a symbol of unity, tolerance, acceptance and diversity – and an inspiration for many designers, including interior designers.

Rainbow colours and their effect

Colours have always played an important part in business – right from the corporate design stage. And yet as bold as some companies might be when it comes to logo design, they can be equally cautious when it comes to office furnishings. It’s not unusual for us to see a black, white and grey office space. But why not be a bit bolder and acknowledge colour?

Studies show that colours appeal to the senses and emotions, and have a direct impact on mood. They promote relaxation and creativity, as well as communication. Colours are important for well-being, allowing ideas to develop or reining them in. That’s why in an office setting, colours should be used with consideration. In the rainbow flag, as in colour psychology, every colour is assigned a specific meaning.

  • Red stands for life and is an exciting and passionate colour. In areas where a lot of discussion takes place, the vibrant shade can stimulate and accelerate thought processes. Red is best used sparingly, as touches of colour.
  • Orange stands for healing and has a more subtle effect than bold red. This warm colour is inviting and cheerful. By fostering a sense of well-being it encourages communication.
  • Yellow stands for the sun and invigorates the mind. Combined with blue, this luminous shade is ideal for brainstorming areas, as the colours have an energising effect and stimulate creativity.
  • Green represents nature in the rainbow flag. In colour psychology too, green is attributed with having a natural, very calming effect. The colour promotes concentration and helps to reduce stress.
  • Blue is one of the cool colours. In the LGBT+ flag this colour stands for harmony. Blue supports clear thinking and self-confidence, particularly when solving difficult problems.
  • Purple stands for spirituality and mysticism, both in the rainbow flag and in colour psychology. It stimulates the brain and increases creativity. The stronger the shade, the more stimulating its effect.

Make it pop: rainbow colours for the bold

From exciting red and radiant orange to powerful purple, the spectrum of rainbow colours is diverse and bold. Admittedly, it takes a bit of courage to style office furnishings so colourfully. But used in the right way, the six colours can turn any dreary black and white office into a colourful workplace.

Sofa in blue from Brühl & Sippold
Stool in rainbow colors from Pols Potten
Soundproofing wall decoration in bright colors from REAL PIEL
Office cabinet from USM Haller in bright yellow

The break room can take a bit more colour. Thanks to its soothing effect, blue is perfect for time out during stressful days in the office. The bold sofa from Brühl & Sippold is an inviting spot to relax and unwind. (Photo: Brühl & Sippold GmbH)

The stools are somewhat reminiscent of chess pieces. Whether it’s in the kitchen or the conference room, the vibrant seats are available in almost every colour of the rainbow and are definitely a good move when it comes to making a colourful statement. (Photo: Pols Potten)

This sound insulation from REAL PIEL just goes to show that practical and stylish don’t have to be mutually exclusive. The colourful panels can be combined in any way and create a cheerful atmosphere in the office. (Photo: REAL PIEL)

This sideboard by USM Haller is one of the true design classics of office furnishings. Modules can be combined to suit individual needs and added as required. (Photo: USM Haller)

Keep it simple: use subtle touches of colour

In the office, lots of interior design preferences converge. As a result, it is almost impossible to cater to every taste. But it doesn’t always have to be the entire spectrum of the rainbow right away. Whether it’s decor or pieces of furniture, it’s possible to have a big impact and make a clear statement, even with modest touches of colour.

Macaron lamps from EMKO
Colorful trash cans in different sizes
Coffee table with metal frame and colorful table top
Cushion in rainbow colors and shape

Inspired by the French meringue-based confection, the macaron lamps are impressive with their unique design. They provide a subtle touch of colour and a pleasant light in the office. (Photo: EMKO)

Waste bins certainly aren’t the first thing to come to mind when thinking about office furnishings. But even a rather unassuming interior design item can very easily bring colour into the office. (Photo: Planning Sisplamo)

A little more restrained but still an eyecatcher – this metal table from Bazhou features an appealing wood effect in all the colours of the rainbow. Combined with a sofa in natural tones it really comes into its own. (Photo: Bazhou Qianmanufacturing Furniture)

Places to retreat in the office are at least as important as ergonomic chairs and tables. And it’s even more important that they are comfortably furnished. The comfy rainbow cushion is perfect for a breaktime power nap. (Photo: Pad Home.Design.Concept.GmbH)

The courage to create a rainbow office

Whether it’s the entire palette or individual shades only, rainbow colours always have a positive effect on the mood in the office. They can be inspiring, motivating and calming. A little effort and boldness in the use of colour can transform an office into a place that makes a clear statement in favour of tolerance, acceptance and diversity. Appropriately, the trend researchers at WGSN have chosen the pastel purple shade, Digital Lavender as the trend colour for 2023.