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Friday, June 14, 2024

Painting the Town(house) with PL Studio

PL Studio on how they utilise paint to transform spaces and bring colour and character to a project.

London-based interior designers PL Studio were appointed by a colour-loving couple to transform a sterile and soulless new-build townhouse in East London into a warm, kaleidoscopic and characterful home.

East London new-build townhouse by PL Studio | Photography by Taran Wilkhu

The townhouse had recently been completed as part of a new development in Forest Gate and was composed of a series of light grey square rooms that felt a ‘clinical’ and were lacking personality. The homeowners reached out to PL Studio to give life to their vision and help them create a welcoming, bold and colourful home.

East London new-build townhouse by PL Studio | Photography by Taran Wilkhu

We caught up with the founders of PL Studio, Aude Lerin and Sabrina Panizza, to discuss utilising paint to transform spaces, with the Forest Gate project as a brilliant case study.

How do you approach selecting paint colors to create a sense of personality and character in a room?

At PL Studio we are naturally drawn to colours as they instil so much energy into a room. We tend to use brighter and warmer shades as they can trigger a combination of positive emotions and excitement; we experimented with bold colours in our own home and noticed the positive effect that the design had on us, so we are huge advocates of uplifting colours and bold patterns for a feel-good factor, mood boost and overall happiness.

East London new-build townhouse by PL Studio | Photography by Taran Wilkhu

Our ideas originate from the fact we don’t follow any rules; we tend to just go with our gut and inspiration, using paint as freely as possible to give life to an eye-catching interior. For us it is like creating a huge artwork; we like big imposing paintings, and we love to live surrounded by works of art, so we use paint to convey this idea and create art in a different way. We don’t just think outside the box, but we like to think like there is no box, always looking to create an extra-ordinary space. What matters for us is the effect of surprise that makes a room exciting, full of character and personality, a room that would make a visitor wanting to see more and more.

East London new-build townhouse by PL Studio | Photography by Taran Wilkhu

Can you share insights on incorporating paint finishes and textures to add depth and dimension to a space?

Incorporating different paint finishes and textures is a fantastic way to add depth and dimension to a space. This can create visual interest, evoke a certain mood, and enhance the overall design. We use different finishes to accentuate architectural features such as columns, arches, or alcoves; applying a different finish to these elements can make them stand out and contribute to the depth of the space. We tend to favour matte finishes as they provide a subtle and sophisticated look, so we use them anytime we want to achieve a soft and elegant appearance. However, we have just recently started loving glossy finishes especially for the ceiling; their higher sheen and reflective nature create a fascinating look and an interesting illusion of light and movement.

East London new-build townhouse by PL Studio | Photography by Taran Wilkhu

How do you use accent walls and color blocking techniques with paint to create focal points and highlight specific features?

We usually don’t go for single accent walls as we tend to create unexpected shapes rather than following the shape of the wall. However, we really love colour blocking! It is highly effective to create a focal point; for example, you can paint a large rectangle or square in the centre of the wall, or highlight a particular area such as a niche or alcove. This draws the eye to that specific feature.

East London new-build townhouse by PL Studio | Photography by Taran Wilkhu

Colour blocking can be done horizontally, vertically, diagonally, or in geometric patterns. The blocks can be of the same colour or different shades of the accent colour, like we have done in the principal bedroom of our Forest Gate project, where we opted for three different shades combined with a black grid that matches the bathroom design and create a link between the two spaces.

East London new-build townhouse by PL Studio | Photography by Taran Wilkhu

As we love Surrealism and intriguing and playful interiors, we also tried to incorporate trompe-l’œils, optical illusions and elements that can become a ‘talking-point’ – this is what inspired the shapes in the entryway (the illusion of staircases), the clouded ceiling of the office cabinet, as well as the arches painted on the staircase wall. For us, it is like adding a different dimension to the space, and a magical atmosphere.

East London new-build townhouse by PL Studio | Photography by Taran Wilkhu

We experimented with quite a bold colour blocking technique in the dining room as well; our clients liked the idea of maybe adding some wall panelling somewhere in the house to add warmth, however, we didn’t think that traditional wall panelling would have been suited to the house so we created a playful contemporary version of it, which we really liked.

East London new-build townhouse by PL Studio | Photography by Taran Wilkhu

When using colour blocking, it is important to ensure a balance between the accent colour and neutral tones in the room. Too much of a bold color can be overwhelming, so use neutrals to maintain a sense of balance.

East London new-build townhouse by PL Studio | Photography by Taran Wilkhu

How do you consider the psychological impact of color when selecting paint?

We tend to tailor the colour choices to the purpose of the room, however when it comes to residential projects, the most important thing is the personal preference; it is key to consider the different personalities and preferences of the individuals using the space. Some people may find certain colours more appealing or soothing based on personal experiences and cultural associations. In our Forest Gate project for example, we actually did the opposite of creating a soft and soothing colour palette for the principal bedroom as we felt our clients were after a much bolder design; instead, we created an energising bedroom with three bold shades of warm and bright greens and they absolutely loved it!

East London new-build townhouse by PL Studio | Photography by Taran Wilkhu

What role does color continuity and flow play in connecting different rooms within a space?

Color continuity and flow play a crucial role in connecting different rooms within a space, creating a cohesive design narrative. When used thoughtfully, paint can be a powerful tool to establish a harmonious and visually pleasing transition between rooms. Creating a unified colour palette and choose shades that flows seamlessly from one room to another is key. This doesn’t mean every room has to be the exact same colour, but the colours should complement each other; variations of a colour or shades within the same colour family are incredibly useful to create a pleasing and consistent palette throughout the house.

East London new-build townhouse by PL Studio | Photography by Taran Wilkhu

In our Forest Gate project, we started from the entrance hall and the Jardin Majorelle-inspired palette. Proceeding room by room, we made sure to incorporate the same colours in different shades to keep a lovely connection throughout the house; until we reached the living space, where all the colour used in different rooms meet, with the addition of a confident bright orange, a great complement to the vibrant electric blue.

The creative couple who reside in the East London new-build townhouse by PL Studio | Photography by Taran Wilkhu

It’s also very important to pay attention to the undertones of the colours you choose. Even within the same color family, different undertones can clash, so it is always better to stick to either warm or cool undertones for a cohesive look.

plstudiolondon.com | IG: @pl_studio_uk

Photography by Taran Wilkhu

Rebekah Killigrew
Rebekah Killigrewhttp://www.rebekahkilligrew.com
Editor | www.architecturemagazine.co.uk | www.interiordesignermagazine.co.uk

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