Beige Against the Machine

There’s a powerful charm to neutral colour schemes, which often goes unappreciated by more brash types than myself. In fact, it seems it’s a select few who can truly appreciate the regal radiance of a classic beige, or the subtlety and depth of perfectly mixed off-white. I’m forever having to fight colleagues on this, fending off their demands for bold colours and playful contrasts.

You see, I’m generally the one tasked with any updates to the space, and processing all office fitout ideas. Melbourne being the type of place it is, many of those ideas centre on things like fuschia feature walls, sunshine-yellow tinted glass partitions and peacock blue bathrooms – depending, of course, on the prevailing fashion of the moment. What people fail to keep in mind is that fashion is a fickle friend, and that’s precisely why I prefer to stick with neutrals. Neutrals will never desert you when the tide changes, leaving you with an outdated aesthetic that needs to be redone all over again.

That approach is the reason I’m always the one heading up this stuff. It’s fair to say that a lot of my colleagues don’t get it, and think I’m a boring old beige-lover with no imagination. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, I have too much imagination to not see the larger issues with choosing bold colours to underscore a work environment. Here in Melbourne, commercial office design is often short-sighted, in the sense that it aims for immediate gratification over long term success in its designated purpose.

I don’t mind if people think of me as stuffy, inaccurate though that may be. I just wish they’d come round to the sheer beauty of the neutral palette, if only for their own delight. Not only would they see my decisions in a new light, they’d also bear witness to the multi-faceted majesty these most underrated of colours.