WGSN, a trend forecasting company, anticipates “A.I. Aqua” will be the color of 2021. Standing for “artificial intelligence,” the color was largely influenced by the digital age, and hospitality designers expect it to have longevity in hotels.
REPORT FROM THE U.S.—Each year a new, trending color is brought to the forefront of interior design. In 2021, forecasters anticipate one color in particular will take that spot: “A.I. Aqua.”
Trend forecasting company WGSN, which works 24 months in advance, in collaboration with its sister brand, Coloro, announced the color in March, and believes this blue hue aligns well with the digital world of today, which can widely be seen in social media logos like Facebook and Twitter.
Hotel News Now asked designers in the hospitality industry their take on “A.I. Aqua,” as A.I. refers to artificial intelligence, something that’s gaining a wider presence within tech at hotels.
Dwayne MacEwen, founder, principal and creative director at DMAC Architecture, said in an email interview that the tech industry has mastered the graphic interface to where “it’s keenly intuitive” and interior design needs to do the same, “where color is felt, not seen.”
“Now that ‘A.I. Aqua’ is so prevalent on our devices, the color has a different connotation today for tech-savvy younger generations who are beginning to associate the color with working smarter and living better,” he said.
(Illustration: Rachel Daub)
Louie Sison, senior designer at Wilson Associates’ Dallas studio, said “A.I. Aqua” is a maturation of the basic aqua and it’s come to represent technology and the future. He said technology companies have really embraced this color because they want to convey “blue-sky thinking (and) the sky’s-the-limit mentality.”
Since technology is a big part of what people see in their day-to-day lives, that could be why the color is being seen so much, he said. Society is entering into the experiential age where technology is being developed to make people “happier, wealthier, healthier … technology has matured a little bit compared to 10 years ago … just like the color aqua, it’s matured,” he said.
Carla Niemann, SVP of design and architecture at Premier Project Management, said in an email interview that the familiarity of this color will resonate well with people.
“Using familiar colors is a smart design strategy,” she said.
Although Niemann doesn’t necessarily believe this one particular color is bridging the digital world and interior design industry, it does reflect a general movement, she said.
Ways to use ‘A.I. Aqua’
MacEwen said this color will fit seamlessly with wellness, and any property could infuse “A.I. Aqua” in order to emphasize wellness. The color evokes a calming, relaxing presence when entering a space, and
“A.I. Aqua” is well-suited for accent elements, he said.
Sison said aqua in itself, unlike other colors in the spectrum, “conjures strong imagery in our minds—whether that’s ocean, water, open sky, all those three things are comforting,” and comfort is a key aspect in hospitality design, he said.
Wilson Associates is working on the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida, a guitar-shaped hotel, and Sison said each of the 10 VIP suites on property have a distinct palette, feel and concept. Because of the location, the resort was designed to have a seaside feel and uses aqua as a “running thread through most of the suites.”
“One suite might have blue, aqua, or turquoise as kind of an anchor, but each suite will be complemented by a different color,” he added, such as yellow or green.
He said about 70% of the hotel’s gaming parlor is bathed in aqua, turquoise and teal to mimic the Casino Royale era, with cool, blue waters of the French Riviera and yachting culture in Monte Carlo.
“We really had fun and used aqua in a lot of the surfaces,” he said.
Niemann said she doesn’t see “A.I Aqua” as a color that is market-, project- or segment-specific, and the degree to which one uses the color depends on the location of the hotel, though the most obvious association to this color is of a seaside nautical project.
She said there are plenty of options to pair aqua with, such as black, warm neutrals or pure white. None of Premier Project Management’s completed projects incorporate this color, but she’s certain “you’ll be spotting it throughout the design details with our hotels in the near future.”
Unlike most trends, sources said “A.I. Aqua” has some legs to it. Niemann said if used in conjunction with the right colors, it could “easily last seven to 10 years.” She said blues and greens have a longer staying power than pink or violet, which were past “colors of the year.”
“Pairing ‘A.I. Aqua’ with deep neutrals will allow it to feel less ‘trendy’ and more timelessly stylish,” she added.
Sison said aqua has been around for a long time, but the maturation of “A.I. Aqua” has great versatility, which helps extend its life.
And because of its calming nature, MacEwen said the color will continue to sustain in hospitality design as it’s easy on the eyes.
“In general, colors used in hospitality spaces should invoke a memory and should be used with purpose, rather than simply being the flavor of the moment,” he said.