When it comes to picking a paint for their walls, Sri Lankans are becoming increasingly conscious of two things: the perfect shade, and the quality of the product they choose.
Once upon a time, anyone building a house either opted for a safe white, or, if they were more adventurous, sought brighter hues. Either way, the one decision governing a choice in paint was more often than not what colour one most preferred.
Some would go as far as consulting a paint catalogue, others would turn to the trusty old baas for recommendations. The results could be pleasing to the eye – OR , in unfortunate cases, turn out to be dull and depressing, or so colourful that the building looked ready for Wesak, Christmas and the Perahera all at the same time, right throughout the year.
Today, however, increased awareness and access to technology have prompted Sri Lankans to pay more attention to the paints they choose when constructing new buildings, or even just giving their homes or office spaces a new look.
Whether it’s to ensure your own house looks better than Mr. Perera’s next door, or whether it’s to impress the parents of that girl whose horoscope matches yours, picking a paint for your house is serious business.
More Sri Lankans today opt to consult experts, or gather more information at interior design exhibitions (at least, that’s what we assume folks do when they flock to the BMICH on non-Book Fair days). At the very least, they simply research online and read up more on the subject, before they take to splashing colours on their walls (or ask Jayantha aiyya to do it, for those of us less acquainted with paint brushes).
In keeping up with this, paint manufacturers, too, are making expert opinions a priority. Nippon Paint Lanka recently launched a new line of paints, Trend Beyond Colours, whose three themes and nine colours were handpicked by design and colour experts from across the Asia Pacific region. Over 50 Asian professionals came together earlier this year, to engage in creative brainstorming, identify, and produce a line of paints designed to suit the modern Asian lifestyle. This resulted in the introduction of nine new hues, under three themes – We Are One, New Eco and Wonder-Lust.
Trend Beyond Colours was first launched abroad – in countries including Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong. In the light of its success, the Nippon organisation in Sri Lanka believes that we too, are ready for the vibrant, carefully developed new range of colours.
In fact, these colours do, in many ways, work for the modern Sri Lankan eye: either in connecting with essentially natural, island shades (the ‘Lush’, ‘Volcanic Black’ and ‘Green Tuft’ colours are great examples) or in reflecting changing Sri Lankan lifestyles (for instance, the attractive ‘Founder Blue’ and ‘Fast Car’ colours).
The ‘Founder Blue’ shade of paint, for instance, was designed as a tribute to people’s steady engagement with social media, say the folks at Nippon. And there’s no denying that if there’s one arena Sri Lankans are more at home with than at a cricket match, it’s social media. A bright and expressive, yet comfortable shade, Founder Blue would look great on interior walls, or perhaps to just highlight one area of personal space.
Meanwhile, the ‘Green Tuft’ and ‘Lush’ paint colours reach out to the essentially tropical-island feel that we find ourselves so much at home with, while the vintage ‘Tavern Buff’ feels like a throwback to traditional roots, ideal for both interior and exterior walls. Whether it’s in reminding you of le olde Maha Gedara or that amazing family vacation to Trinco five years ago, these shades are bound to tug nostalgically at the hearts of any Sri Lankan.
‘Being Peach’, ‘Blue Lullaby’ and ‘Fast Car’ are eye-catching shades, ideal for anyone attracted to anything colourful (if you’re the type who can’t resist making a bee-line for the toys and kites at Galle Face, you’ll enjoy seeing these paints on a wall).
Prabath Jayawardena, a technical expert at Nippon Lanka, explains that Sri Lankans are now more educated in many matters concerning interior design, so naturally, the decision as to what paints they use is not one taken lightly. “People are now very much concerned about things like themes, and colour combinations,” he says, adding that, “they now talk about quality very frequently, too – and not just durability.”
According to Jayawardena, Sri Lankans have become more health conscious over the years. Nippon’s new line of water based paints cater to this. These pants are devoid of heavy metals, and have been developed using Japanese technology, through an entirely environmentally friendly process – an interesting fact you can throw at the occasional know-it-all aunty who tries to criticise your choice in paints.
Commenting on the new colours, Jayawardena feels that these would work for modern Sri Lankan consumers. “The lighter colours can give the illusion of expanded space, and dark colours help add a cosy touch. Different colours also help highlight certain aspects of a room. One of the trends now, is to blend different colours, and not just use one colour throughout. People realise that colours can have a certain psychological impact, so they must be chosen carefully,” says Jayawardena, who is himself involved in providing consultancy and colour-matching solutions.
Priced at approximately Rs. 1,000 a litre, the Trend Beyond Colours line targets high-end consumers, and fulfils both interior and exterior requirements. The colours available include Founder Blue, Gray Knight, Green Tuft, Tavern Buff, Lush, Volcanic Black, Being Peach, Blue Lullaby and Fast Car.
The colours aren’t just attractive and comfortable, but diverse and versatile enough to secure an instant Sha! element for any room or wall.