Designers

About bold bright colors by Ulla Koskinen

About bold bright colors by Ulla Koskinen
Interior design house Skanno have created “pop-up homes” so the public can experience first-hand inspiring interior solutions and versatile design. Ulla Koskinen, designer and editor-in-chief of Asun magazine, put her own mark on one such home, utilizing a strong color palette and versatile materials to create a warm, family-friendly atmosphere.   Skanno Home designed by Ulla KoskinenI compare the initial process of designing this home to collecting a bag of loose candy. I gathered wonderful colors, objects, furniture and atmospheres into my bag, closed it, then started picking out elements one by one for specific areas and ensembles. I tested how they worked together, and explored what else was needed to keep the balance, the elements all spinning in a big three-dimensional puzzle.Skanno Home designed by Ulla KoskinenWe tend to be cautious with colors and use them sparingly, but that risks the whole package falling short. In this apartment, I challenged myself as a color user and wanted to ponder what makes the good kind of colorful atmosphere, a kind of cozy, soft, yet rich spectrum of materials and textures.

I did over 30 different color definitions for this home, using a palette of different shades and materials.

The colorfulness I created is not just colorfulness in individual pieces of furniture or wall surfaces, but it is colorfulness together and across. The different pieces fall into place, creating balance and harmony. I did over 30 different color definitions for this home, using a palette of different shades and materials.Skanno Home designed by Ulla KoskinenIn my own color studies, I find it essential to find the balance of the whole. In this home, a long walnut wall softens the colors – it forms the backbone of the totality and provides a strong counterpoint to the colored surfaces. Looking at the room from different angles, new color partners and material pairings emerge. The same objects come to life in different ensembles – seen from one direction they can be accentuated, from another they can be softened.Skanno Home designed by Ulla KoskinenI imagined a young family living here, with one child and maybe another on the way. This is a popular suburb for families with children. It's important to me that the character of the area and the house speak the same language.

I believe a cozy atmosphere can be created using all the elements. It's all about how you use them, what you juxtapose them with, what shades of gloss and matte you play with, how you perceive the space. For example, in this house I wanted to keep the bathrooms intimate and, conversely, open up the space towards the big windows. It's a kind of reciprocity.

I often choose one overall shade for each space. Here it's a light, neutral beige. It creates a very subtle transition towards a strong wood finish. The lightness sort of softens the clash of tones. Skanno Home designed by Ulla KoskinenAdmittedly, caution with color is also part of the experiment. You have to test the colors and get to know how they work. Becoming a skilled color user doesn't happen overnight. I do a lot of research into fascinating places and spaces that speak to me, breaking them down and exploring what elements, materials and colors they are made of. I'm often surprised by what I find. I learn new things from this exploration and it gives me inspiration for my own interior design work. The buildings of Bauhaus, Le Corbusier and Aalto have given me a lot to explore, as have paintings and art. I have seen how the same elements are put into place elsewhere.Skanno Home designed by Ulla KoskinenColors live spatially. They are never still, but move constantly according to the season, the day and the things around them. It's fascinating. We live in darkness, rain and sunshine. So spatially, it's very important that the ensemble works. A home is not truly at its best if it is only so in a certain light. Skanno Home designed by Ulla Koskinen


Ulla Koskinen Color palette for one home:
009 PABLO, 018 ERNEST, 029 JACK
030 VIRGINIA, LB1 AUGUST, LB2 ASTRID

Shop the Ulla Koskinen color palette here.

Ulla Koskinen
Ulla Koskinen is a interior designer and Editor in Chief of
Asun magazine.

Reading next

Bringing Brazil’s sunshine to Helsinki
Letting in the life: Photographer Fanny Rådvik

Visiting

Read articles
A space made for sharing

A space made for sharing

Hazy afternoon light filters through the blocks of Helsinki’s city center, finding its way through wide windows and into the home of Roosa and Mici. Their timeless Art Nouveau building holds a hom...

Getting cozy with Samu-Jussi Koski

Getting cozy with Samu-Jussi Koski

The wind gusts from the gunmetal sea, up a hill, through the streets of the Art Nouveau quarters of Helsinki towards Uspensky Cathedral. Here, at street-level, providing respite from the Katajan...