Color is to designer Maija Arela what music is to a conductor. The founder of the Arela clothing brand likes to organize her surroundings as tonal harmonies – or create deliberate disharmony, just for kicks. For her, moments of perfection lie in the everyday, coincidental meeting of texture and hue.
Here's a collection I chose the other day. On a different day and at a different moment the images would be different, but right now these are the color notes that inspire me. I snapped these photos from the city and from home.
Pictures, books, films, art, flowers, materials, worn surfaces, harmony and disharmony of colors... I find inspiration in nature's color miracles, whether it’s a droplet of water on a freshly washed plum or the deep red of a maple leaf amid the fall foliage. Nature's color palette can also be perfectly repeated in my cashmere knitwear.
I get “color kicks” from many things, often very mundane – the branches of trees in the morning sun as glimpsed through linen curtains, or the perfect combination of shades on the staircase of an old apartment building. I love the patina of time. Pairing it with something really shiny and subtle can be close to perfection.
For a long time now, I haven’t had a favorite color – I like all colors. What matters is where they are, how they are combined and the relationship between the material and the color.
It's all about very small nuances, modest encounters. The most beautiful thing is when you find them in everyday life, like walking down the street past a construction site. I even get energy from unexpected splashes of color – they wake me up.
I’ve made compositions on my bookshelf of books, objects and different materials that I like. Bright book covers are juxtaposed with colorful, soft knits. The covers of old fashion magazines have a delicacy that makes me stop and wonder.
I don’t have just one color palette in my home, but rather moods that are created by different colors. I also like being able to dress in different shades on different days. Whatever I feel like at the time.
Light, shadows and reflections catch my attention. I love color. The momentary and incidental worlds of color around us bring me such joy.
Maija Arela is a textile artist and color designer from Tampere and the CEO and founder of the Arela clothing brand. She is also a member of the international Intercolor association, whose experts predict future color trends and phenomena, and with which she has been involved for 40 years. Arela also teaches at Helsinki Design School.