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The Colour Collective: Q & A with Nadine Donazzan

As the director of The Colour Collective and DNA Designs, Nadine Donazzan has been a driving force of the interior design industry for over a decade. Being an expert colourist and designer, Nadine explores colour destinations and conducts workshops that open our eyes to one of the great wonders of the world: the magic of colour.

How did your very intimate relationship with colour begin?

To put it simply, it started because of the transformational effect colour has on people. My dad was also in the colour industry, so it seemed like the concept of colour was developed into my DNA as I was growing up. The love I have for colour heightened during my early adulthood and prompted me to study design and colour, developing skills that enrich the emotive responses people have towards their surroundings.

“Though everybody learns about the basics of colour at a young age, its timeline and facts accessible to us today derive from scientists, mathematicians and artists – proving that it is not purely intellectual, scientific or artistic.

Colour is a subject that can be comprehended and explored from both sides of the brain – allowing people to engage with it from different viewpoints.


As a practicing designer, you evidently have a highly attuned understanding of the potential of colour to lift spaces and elevate everyday life. What prompted you to want to share this knowledge with others through The Colour Collective?

The Colour Collective offers travel tours, workshops and community programs which lead people through a transformational process, increasing awareness and confidence to make decisions surrounding colour.

The travel tours take people away from their familiar environment to experience colour and design in a way that they have never done before. Guaranteed to come back inspired, people will be more aware of how colours affect them personally.

I hope to immerse people in moving beyond their fear and uncertainty around colour.


The Colour Collective is a platform of transformational experiences that uses colour to channel change. How can this platform inspire people who own or want a new home?

The Colour Collective is a new lens to look through. When you are always looking at the same things or surrounding yourself with stuff you haven’t spent time thinking about, it is difficult to find inspiration. Imagine a home where you’ve just settled on colours because you didn’t have time or put much thought into it… When you are in an uninspiring space, subconsciously it starts to deplete you. For anyone who wants to re-do their space, self-awareness will inspire the confidence to make those decisions.

Colour is a living element and constantly evolves throughout the day. It doesn’t follow any rules and often takes a life of its own whatever environment it is in. There is so much fear in choosing, people constantly hesitates and become indecisive because they are scared to get it wrong.


You believe that colour has the power to change everything. Can you expand a little bit on that?
 

If we look at the uncertainty surrounding us right now, whether we look at it from a social or cultural aspect, we’ll notice the emerging colour trends are highly based on personalisation.

Similar to the concept Tim Winton discussed on Andrew Denton, when we were children we all had pencil cases filled with all the colours of the rainbow. Through life, as we grow and experience new things, we start to lose those colours… I love that; it perfectly explains how our mindsets become narrower. Though science has reminded us that colour is only possible to the human eye because of the way light reflects and refracts, adults sometime lose the light from life so they stick to what they are familiar with.

“Colour does have the power to change everything but you have to give yourself the permission of time to explore.”


One of the most inspiring aspects of The Colour Collective are the tours. How do you select a destination? What appeals to you in your travels with respect to colour?

It has to be a culture that is vibrant and engages with the urban environment. Our tours to Morocco are for anyone who loves colour, has a fear of colour, wants to understand colour or just wants to travel and gain a fresh perspective. Imagine exploring the medinas, kasbahs and dars in a place where artistry and design are encouraged…

Personally, when I think of Morocco, I think of the food, the smell of teas, the visual stimulus of all the vibrant colours from paint pigments to spice powders, the sound from the markets and the silence of the desert, the tastes of the exotic and the touch of materials. All those textures stretch the five senses to new and heightened levels.

“What appeals to me is the fact that colour is the lasting memory I have of places that I have visited.”


What are you hoping people will learn, experience and take away with them?

I want people to get in touch with their self-awareness. If you are making decisions without intuition, you will always question yourself after. Whether its wanting inspiration for yourself, your home or business, the integration of colour, design and lifestyle will give you a broad and fresh perspective. Being present a place, not only are all five senses heightened, but the understanding of colour goes beyond visual perception.


I understand that you also conduct workshops through The Colour Collective. Can you explain a little bit about how they work?

“Blank Canvas” rips off the outer layers; all the shells that we put up. It allows you to reconnect with your inner-self so that you actually have an understanding. Since making a mood board is simply not enough, you have to really grasp the reasons behind what you want to create and why.

“Hue Are You?” is another fun workshop that I run. Partially stemming from the fact that I don’t believe red or green are definitely defined, this workshop revolves around looking at yourself through the lens of colour. It really allows people to go deeper – into the memory association levels.


What are you hoping people will gain from these workshops?
 

The ability to build up their self-confidence in order to make decisions that are intuitive, instinctive and understood. During my recent interview series at Billy Blue, students expressed the way that colour really opened their eyes to the endless possibilities of the world. It’s the one topic that creates conversation and connection between people of different backgrounds, race, age etc.


And, finally, what has been the most profound impact that colour has made for you personally?
 

Whenever I look back at homes that have been renovated, or even my own spaces, I see that there are so many colour ways that have changed according tow hat I have experienced in life. Each one represents a different stage of my life, pin pointing emotions I had then and my response to them.

Once, I asked a little girl (who was only 8) what her favourite colours were. She said “black is awesome” and when I asked her why, she responded by saying “it is a very nurturing colour”. Awed with that answer, I followed up by asking what colour she disliked. She confirmed in that moment the personalisation of colour as she said “sky blue, because it is very interrogating”.

The Colour Collective
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