BEHIND THE SCENES OF THE DULUX COLOUR OF THE YEAR EVENT INSTALLATION
Every year, Dulux release their 'colour of the year' which quickly goes on to become a colour trend staple in the interiors world. Last year's was the infamous 'Copper Blush'. This year I was lucky enough to be asked to be on Melinda Ashton Turner's styling team helping her to install the Dulux Colour Futures event on the top floor of Somerset House. Read on to see what it's really like to work on an event installation and get a look at 2016's colour of the year 'Cherished Gold'...
An 8am start at Somerset House as we start to bring in the many boxes / pieces of furniture and materials needed for the installation. There is a set building team of about 15 people who will be doing all the painting and building, then the styling team consisting of Melinda the stylist and three assistants (I'm one of them). It's physical work and some of the stuff is quite heavy so I'm watching that I lift things properly! We spend a lot of time going up and down in the staff lift.
I'm assigned the 'Dark and Light' room (one of Dulux's key trends for 2016) and the balcony to oversee as my areas. Here's how the Dark and Light room started out. You'll see how it ends later...
After everything is in we set about building pieces of furniture that haven't been made yet.
On the balcony we will be having three sheds that are painted in various colour ways and have wobbly circus like mirrors installed in them, so I make a start on those and painting the benches that I put together. Stupidly I didn't wear my painting clothes or trainers and get blue paint on my best pair of kicks. Idiot or what?! On the plus side, painting on the balcony of Somerset House is pretty sweet.
Later on I go to take a look at what everyone else is getting up to.
We are all working individually and just cracking on with the majority of painting today. We wrap at 6, ready for what promises to be a long day tomorrow.
Another 8am start and we jump straight back to getting more coats of paint on. The sheds I am painting take so many layers as the wood is super porous and the Cuprinol paint is really thin (yes I know it's a Dulux show but the outside area was sponsored by Cuprinol). Today I wear my best painting garb so I'm really getting into it.
Later that afternoon when the painting is almost done we start to style the rooms. The Dark and Light room is a bedroom setup, so I need to put the divan bed up, reupholster a headboard using sheets and a staple gun, dress the bed along with a valance that is way too small and then style the room with the many props which have been brought in for this look.
I put everything where I think it looks good and then Melinda comes to have a final oversee. She moves a lot of the props around to better suit the brief. I don't get offended by this at all anymore, every stylist has their own way of doing things and if you were to take offence to every change in placement then you wouldn't last long. I make sure to take note of what she changes and why, and I agree that the end result is much cleaner and more sophisticated. I noted that the bed was left how I 'made' it though, which is a good thing and shows that my bed styling has come on a bit :)
After this room is done I run around a lot helping to dress other rooms, tidy up last bits, put coloured pebbles down the length of the hallway, rip up a jigsaw puzzle, steam things, steam more things, stick up images, put coloured gels over lights, touch up paintwork, put flowers in vases and more.
It's a late night, we're there till about 10.30pm and at around 7pm I'm flagging but somehow get to the end.
Oh and by the way, this is Cherished Gold. What do you think?
Final, final touches as we walk out of the door at 10.30. A wonky letter on the vinyl lettering.
After a great load of coverage and the installation being deemed a great success, we are back after a few days to strip it all out and paint the rooms back to their original white. I won't actually be doing any painting as once again it's the set builders that will take care of the main wall stuff, but we have to pack up all of the props, make sure they are labelled to go back to the right places and load them back onto the courier vans.
It's a pretty chilled day today and we finish nice and early at about 3pm.
Overall, the event was a great experience and I learnt loads about the amount of effort, time and physical effort that needs to go into something like the Colour Futures installation. As a small and pretty weak girl (haha) it's a physical job that can take its toll if you're not careful. Next time, I'll make sure to bring loads of snacks and water, expect late nights, wear shitty clothes to paint in and most importantly carry things in the correct way. I have to say my back's a bit on the sore side!