It’s finally fall in Hong Kong and Indigo Living CEO John McLennan has a whole new palette of colours and materials for the cooler months. Gone are breezy whites and in are moodier shades. Squarefoot chats with McLennan about what to expect in interiors this season.
So what does an autumn look mean? There’s very little difference between summer and fall here.
Autumn design tends to come from colour and texture. And a lot comes from an overlay of what you already have. It’s true [about the seasonal similarities] and as you hit September and October it’s still warm but it’s noticeable in that the ocean temperature is a bit chillier, it gets darker a little earlier. If we were in Singapore it would be very different but here you do get that month or so of winter and people mentally prepare for it. As soon as the kids get back into school, you start talking Halloween, Mid-Autumn Festival and people get into that mental shift. We start slowly putting out textiles that are more textural: wool knits, fur throws, more velvet. Autumn and winter palettes are a little more broody, and have a little more drama and a bit more depth.
Hong Kong does have a flexibility of seasons. You can feel it here; you can see it on the streets. Everyone looks forward to the day they can put on a sweater. Not a big cable knit, but just something different.
What’s trending heavily for fall?
For us, and I like to think we’re the bellwether [laughs], the two big themes are Mid-Century Modern and what we call In the Mood. That epitomises the fall look and feel. It’s a dark, rich carpet in a blend of silk and wool, a sofa in slightly darker colour, plums, off-whites, furniture legs are going from chrome to coppers, slightly darker woods. It’s quite eclectic — heavier, more romantic and cosy.
Any holdovers from the summer that work?
The seasons should blend. There shouldn’t be a black today, white tomorrow, green for the next day … So yes there are some things that can be brought through. You could have an off-white cushion and drop in something more plum and it’s easy to change, rather than saying, ‘Oh, I need to go buy a dark sofa.’”
You have a lot of blues, purples and greens in the store.
Blues, whether indigo or a washed inky blue, something steely … those are really trending now and will continue to do so until spring and summer. Depending on the tone of the green you can go from the limey, citric spring/summer green into the more mossy, forest-y shades.
Why purple? People tend to be terrified of purple and yellow.
And one should be terrified of them. Those are like having a nuclear bomb in your home if you don’t know what to do with them. I wouldn’t go with yellow in the fall, but you can do a lot with those colours and they can really do a lot in a room. Just not so much of them.
How much work is it to give the home a new seasonal look? Indigo’s own Look Books emphasises finding your budget and sticking to it.
And from an environmental perspective [wholesale changes] are not something we would recommend. You buy furniture and you should have it for some time. We like to see our seasons blend. You don’t need all new cushions. Buy new covers and put the others away until next spring. It could be a vase for the table with some slightly different flowers. There’s nothing better than not spending a lot of money and making the whole place feel new.
If someone had a budget for three key items what would you say would “autumn-ise” your home?
A [sofa] slipcover. That would be the biggest thing because it’s the biggest block of colour. Some cushions and then possibly some vases that are a different shape or colour, and if you’ve got the budget a winter rug and a summer rug. I talk a lot about lighting. Lighting makes a room … Ceiling lighting should be dimmable. Standing lamps can make a big difference in a room. And then there are table lamps, and just changing a shade can have an impact.