Pretty in pink this year

LONDON • Is it a boudoir or a candy box? Since it was revamped in 2012, the Gallery gastro-brasserie at Sketch, in London, has garnered numerous awards.

Restaurant & Bar Design picked it as best in Britain last year and it features in Time Out magazine's Love London's selection for Mayfair.

The gourmet menu served by French chef Pierre Gagnaire is likely one reason for this acclaim. But the astonishing decor, worthy of some Disney-esque fantasy, created by Paris-based interior designer India Mahdavi, is certainly another.

Known for her audacious colour codes, she opted to do almost everything in Hollywood pink, the better to show off David Shrigley's 239 satirical drawings, which line the restaurant's walls.

She says: "My idea was to design a pretty setting, with scrumptious fittings. These days, with things being difficult, we need plenty of hugs, warmth and comforting."

Initially, she mainly used contrasting hues. At the Gallery, in London, she preferred solid colours, "with bubbles" of harmonious shapes, "punctuated by graphic elements, as if they had been pencilled in", such as cake-like sofas and marshmallow armchairs - and all in pink.

She may be onto something.

X-Rite subsidiary Pantone, the renowned authority on colour, has made Rose Quartz and Serenity (a pale blue) its colours this year, after reddish-brown Marsala last year.

A hue once set aside for children's rooms now features on French designer Inga Sempe's Ruche armchair and sofas, Vik wool- upholstered ash chairs by Thibault Desombre and comfy Ploum sofas by the Bouroullec brothers.

But not all shades of light red are in vogue. Rose Quartz is slightly translucid, like rock, "persuasive yet gentle", conveying "compassion and a sense of composure", says Ms Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute.

The Latin word rosa was used only in reference to the flower; incarnatus, or flesh-coloured, was preferred. Rose, as in pink, came to the fore in French during the 18th century, surfing on Romanticism. It was at this point, French specialist in mediaeval history Michel Pastoureau suggests, that the hue came to symbolise "tenderness and femininity", as a watered-down version of red, stripped of its war-like connotations.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 30, 2016, with the headline 'Pretty in pink this year'. Print Edition | Subscribe