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This was a banner year for the color gray — and not because of a certain movie that sparked controversy and curiosity. In the design realm, the hue has been enjoying the limelight as an “it” neutral on everything from walls and façades to furnishings and accessories. One needn’t look further than various categories of the 2015 A+Awards to catch a glimpse of this phenomenon.
Valcucine’s New Logica
Take, for instance, gray’s rising popularity in upscale kitchen design. Boasting clean lines and high functionality, Valcucine’s New Logica system (through DOM Interiors) is sleek in the tint, but the color also helps the kitchen blend into just about any setting. A key feature of New Logica, the back wall utilizes Ala and Aerius lift-up doors to conceal storage as well as functions including dish drainage, small appliances, bottle racks, power sockets, and utensils. Swing-arm hardware ensures that frequently used items in the back wall stay within reach.
Valcucine’s New Logica
Meanwhile, Poliform’s Phoenix kitchen is another luxury system defined by a cool, minimalist design. The company offers the system cabinet and drawer fronts in several colors including, of course, light or dark gray with glossy or matte finish; the countertops are also available in gray stone composite or laminate.
When it comes to dressing walls and ceilings in this palette, the medium of paint isn’t the only game in town. Designed by Architecture Research Office for FilzFelt, the ARO collection consists of one shingle- and five plank-style wall coverings as well as hanging panels and ceiling baffles that all absorb sound with their wool-felt construction. The shingle-style covering, in particular, comprises six-by-one- or six-by-two-inch pieces in a range of specifiable colors for those who desire multiple shades of gray.
FilzFelt’s ARO Collection
Exterior products have also gotten a boost from this color family thanks to the fashionable building material of concrete. In fact, the jury awarded top honors in the façades category to TAKTL for its products made with Ultra High Performance Concrete, which is not only four times as strong as traditional precast concrete, but virtually devoid of capillary pores that could compromise the material in certain climates. In addition to gray variations, standard colors include bone, dune, flax, terra cotta, root, and white.
Another stunning façade product, Equitone’s Linea is a through-color panel series with a fiber-cement core. Its dimensional linear surface looks fabulous in gray and creates light-and-shadow-play while also highlighting the raw texture of the material. Available in custom shapes and sizes, Linea can be specified with visible or concealed fixing options.
Pairing gray with an accent color was another big trend in design and continues to be. Wabi River from Calico Wallpaper evokes water flowing over pebbles with an abstract, organic pattern in gold over a silver-gray Type II Mylar ground. This Class-A fire-rated covering is a non-repeating custom mural that’s sized to order, making it perfect for a dramatic focal or art wall.
Calico Wallpaper’s Wabi River
In soft flooring, Tsar’s Neva Fade intersperses raised piles in light to dark gray with stripes of contrasting vibrant hues to create a gradient effect. The custom-sized rugs are constructed of New Zealand wool and bamboo silk yarns for a luxurious feel and cushioning underfoot.
Tsar’s Neva Fade
And, on the contract side of this category, Interface’s Human Nature explores the intersection of natural and manmade topographies as humans experience them, recalling textures such as grass, pebbles, and pavement, for instance. Presented in a skinny-plank format, the modular carpet is composed of 81-percent-recycled content and comes in a range of grays and other neutral and earthy tones plus eye-popping coordinates such as green and mustard yellow, proving yet again: gray goes with just about everything.
Interface’s Human Nature