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Modern Copper

Hello everyone! Last year, I wrote about the popularity of brass and the general shift towards a new modern gold hue. In fact, it feels like modernized metals have become a movement of their own, exploring new colour possibilities and fresh techniques. Copper is at the forefront of this trend and continues to grab the spotlight as 2013 moves forward. While the copper of a few decades ago was more rustic and orange-focused, modern copper has moved into a cooler segment of the colour spectrum while becoming more streamlined and varied in application. Copper is one of my very favourite materials so I am rather thrilled to see its evolution continuing and the many beautiful products and designs popping up as a result. Let’s ponder modern copper! – Chloé


Cool Cooper and Rose Gold:
Copper is both a material and a colour so the spectrum of shades we call “copper” varies greatly. The purity, age and oxidation of copper also adds to this range of colour. Over the last couple of years, rose gold has exploded in popularity and its rosy hue is created by the addition of copper to gold. While rose gold is mainly reserved for small precious items like jewellery, its colour has become a far-reaching trend across many product lines and materials. It also reflects a general shift towards more cool-toned copper hues. Unlike the very orange or brown copper of years gone by, this modern copper is slightly more pink and clear. Streamlined shapes, cutting edge applications and more matte/hammered finishes are also making copper feel more modern.

Other Materials: One of my favourite things about copper is how well it mixes with and inspires other materials. Cement, stone, other metals, vegetation, wood, marble, fabric — copper can work beautifully with just about everything.

Other Colours: Pastels, sorbets, jewel tones, black, white, neutrals, cobalt, neon — copper also looks fabulous with virtually every colour in your Pantone guide.

Print and Branding: One area I feel copper is underused in is print and branding. As a flat colour or as a foil, copper has a rather eye-catching effect. I also like the idea of copper tape or 3D typography.

Pendant Lights: Copper’s move into the spotlight has no doubt been influenced by its use in pendant lights. The look is everywhere and considering how well copper hues bounce off of light, it makes sense. Sculptural, faceted and perforated copper designs have particularly caught my eye lately.

Copper Piping: Another trend cropping up lately? Copper piping used as a design feature rather than a hidden structural element. I love this look in industrial retail spaces and modern homes.

Copper Walls: It’s not an entirely new idea but there is certainly renewed interest in copper feature walls lately. A foil wallpaper, vintage layered wall or glossy backdrop – copper can be a buzzworthy addition to any shop or interior design.

Art and Merchandising: Copper can be similarly bold in artful retail details. I love the look of a copper water feature, external installations or yarn wrapped copper piping in a shop window. Or how about a floor made of pennies or a mobile of old copper pots?

Modern copper is rich with diverse colour, composition and application choices. From wearing dazzling shoes to styling your next collection with a copper rail or prop, I hope you explore this inspiring metallic look. Until next time, I am off to source materials for a copper installation or two… – Chloé

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4 Comments

  1. julie says:

    What a wonderful inspiration! Copper never gets old, just lives on in new lives.

  2. Sue says:

    I love the more modern take on copper! Old or new, copper has such a beautiful patina. Great posting Chloe’

  3. Judith says:

    What a wonderful and extensive post on modern copper, Chloé! Merci!

  4. [...] edge applications and more matte/hammered finishes are also making copper feel more modern. In my latest post for Rena Tom, I discuss this shift and the many trends and possibilities it has created. Mixed with [...]

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