Ravishing Red

February 22, 2018 4 min read

Ravishing Red

Benjamin Moore unveils Caliente AF-290 as its 2018 Colour of the Year

Lucille Ball said, “Once in his life, every man is entitled to fall madly in love with a gorgeous redhead.” We totally get it, Lucy, because we’re head over heels for this stunning red: Caliente AF-290, Benjamin Moore’s Colour of the Year.

“Strong, radiant and full of energy, Caliente is total confidence. It is pleasing, passionate and makes people feel special, like ‘red-carpet treatment,’” said Ellen O’Neil, Benjamin Moore’s Director of Strategic Design Intelligence.

To learn about the Colour of the Year selection process, we spoke to Benjamin Moore Colour and Design Expert, Hannah Yeo, who told us about the 100,000-mile journey they took to arrive at Caliente.

At Home: How would you describe Caliente?

Hannah Yeo: It’s a vibrant and charismatic shade of red with a warm, earthy undertone that brings depth and energy to any space. Interestingly, Caliente has always been in Benjamin Moore’s top 5 most popular reds so we knew it was already widely loved before we chose it as the Colour of the Year.

At Home: Has Caliente been well received by the design industry?

HY: Let me tell you, I was at the New York event when we made the Colour of the Year announcement and I got goosebumps when everyone started cheering and clapping. They really, really, loved out choice of Caliente. For many industry designers from fashion to automotive, red has long been a signature colour so they appreciate it. For interior designers who work with clients in their homes, they love that we chose an exciting colour with some real punch to it.

At Home: Can you take us through Benjamin Moore’s selection process?

HY: The fundamental thought process behind each year’s research is pretty similar. The Colour and Design team goes out in the world without knowing what the Colour of the Year is going to be and at that point, it could be anything. Each of our team members travel to a different country to research local influences and inspirations; each year, we try to tap into different cultures and expand our global “eyes” per se. We then regroup to share what we’ve learned, seen and experienced. Through multiple conversations, we synthesize what we believe to be the most impactful colours and then bring it back to paint, making sure those colours translate well into interior styles.

This year, the red colour family was most dominant; not just Caliente, but the whole gamut of red – pale pink, rose, deep coral, oxblood. It helped us to formulate our Colour Trends palette of 23 hues, including a full spectrum of reds.

At Home: What was your “a-ha” moment in conducting this research?

HY: I travelled to Stockholm and it was my first visit to and Scandinavian countries, which are renowned for their simple but chic design style. I went with the expectation of seeing a lot of neutral colours paired with cool blues, teals and green – which I did – but what was most interesting was how they paired those colours with rich corals, deep pinks or vibrant reds. There was so much of that warm colour juxtaposed with the cooler hues they are known for, and that observation really wowed me.

At Home: Why is this the right time for Benjamin Moore to put a spicy colour front and centre?

HY: We’ve seen a shift in how people think about bold colours and I think that’s because they’re no longer afraid to use them. Previously, our Colour of the Year was a neutral or a cooler hue because we sensed there was tiptoeing around warmer colours. But last year, Shadow 2117-30 was chosen as the Colour of the Year because it struck the right balance between blue and red, forming a bridge between the cool and warm. Subconsciously, we may have recognized that people were finally ready for a red or at least a warmer tone. They have certainly shown that, now more than ever, they are investing in darker and dramatic colours, which validated our research about Caliente.

At Home: What are some ways people can incorporate Caliente into their home décor?

HY: Red is an obvious paring with neutrals but also works beautifully with naturally warm woods and stone. Caliente has a dark brown undertone so it is easy on the eye and still delivers a pop. Even a small dose can have a huge impact. Because of this, it makes a great first impression on a front door, adding both character and a welcoming warmth. Or, for a twist, consider painting only one side of the door so that when closed, it gives the inside of the room a pop of colour. Caliente would also be ideal for an accent wall, a side table, cabinetry or an entire room. There’s something European and almost historic-looking about a red dining room – it’s elegant and yet offers a modern twist.

At Home: Can you put a finger on what you love most about the Colour of the Year?

HY: Personally, what I love about Caliente is that it’s so versatile. If you look at art throughout history, red has always been prominent and today, it continues to be interpreted and expressed in many ways. Red symbolizes different things around the world; depending on the culture, it means passion and love, it means strength and confidence, or it means happiness and good luck. For whatever reason, there was just a whole new light shone on red this year. Being able to use it in a huge number of applications and have the results come out differently each time says, well, that there’s something magical about a colour like that.

- Barrydowne At Home

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