Designer Niki Jones is known for her eponymous geometric interiors collection. Kicking off her career with a designing role for Habitat under Tom Dixon and Georgina Godley, Niki went on to become the company’s textile designer and style co-ordinator then design director at Wedgwood. Her own company, Niki Jones, was launched in 2009 to great acclaim and has been a recognisable and much-admired brand ever since. Here, she tells Martha Roberts how important colour is to her…
Martha: Can you describe your first colour memory?
Niki: A lot of my childhood memories come from textiles. The teal boucle sofa in my parents’ lounge, the purple and lavender in my candlewick blanket, the green hessian wallpaper in our kitchen. One of my strongest memories was sneaking into the ‘good’ lounge at Christmas to marvel at the multi-coloured lights on our Christmas tree.
Martha: Do you have a favourite colour and has this changed over the years?
Niki: I don’t have a favourite colour specifically, I have more of a love for colour combinations. I also think that proportion plays an important role with colour combinations and how a palate works. My signature palate is chartreuse and grey with a touch of blush. I love this combined with a highlight of brass that picks up on the gold notes in the chartreuse.
Martha: What is your favorite colourful object/objects and why?
Niki: My favourite piece in my house is my gold & grey Concentric cushion which sits on a Moroccan chair in the hall [see below]. I recently purchased a painting from Rob Wyn Yates that sits above it and the combination of the pieces together makes me happy every time I come home.
Martha: How does colour make you feel? Do you use it in your work or personal life to influence your moods or those of your customers?
Niki: I think colour can really influence your mood. If you are sensitive to your environment it can have an amazing impact on your mood and the way you think and feel.
Martha: Do you have a colour you could happily do without? For example, although I wouldn’t want the world to be without them, I’m not that keen on ‘autumn’ colours as a palate.
Niki: Not really. I think all colours have their place when used correctly and in the right combinations and proportions. If I were to choose a colour that I don’t use much it would be orange. I think it always feels retro to me. Childhood memories!
Martha: What does colour mean to you in your day-to-day life?
Niki: I love working with colour, its an integral part of my design process. It is usually my starting point for a collection.
Martha: Do you think there are rules about colour or are rules made to be broken?
Niki: I don’t think there are any hard fast rules that need to be obeyed. The key is to use colour with certainty and conviction. I am currently doing a project where I plan to paint a ceiling a soft pink and mirror the colour in the flooring. It’s all about being bold with your choices.
Martha: Have you had any funny colour situations?
Niki: Many years ago I was on a sourcing trip in India and I bought a stack of beautifully colourful printed saris for inspiration. I then got caught in a monsoon and my luggage was left in water at the airport. When I finally retrieved it and opened it, all the colours from the saris had bled and the entire contents of my suitcase were now a subtle shade of rainbow!
Martha: If you could give people advice about using colour, what would it be?
Niki: Colour is very subjective and personal. My main tips would be to use colour in an assured way. In an interior it is important to consider your material palette along with the ‘colour’ palette. So for instance the grey of a limestone or the brass details of a handle all feed into the soft furnishing decisions. A colour palette should be kept quite tight to allow the repeated colours & materials to link & connect your scheme. You can the layer your personal touches on top.