Splash of colour
Meena Pitambaran, a colour consultant, gives colour to the walls of the house.
Photo: C. Ratheesh Kumar
HER EYES light up the instant the word, colour, is mentioned. It is evident she enjoys dabbling in colours as much as she did when she started out 18 years ago.
Meena Pitambaran is no painter but her vocation nonetheless is one that calls upon all her inherent artistic traits. She is a colour and paint consultant with the Berger Paints Décor Service at the Santha Paint House in the city.
"Décor Service is meant for a customer to get scientific and systematic paint application procedures as per the specifications of the manufacturer."
Berger Paints has branches of Décor Service in major cities of the country. In Kerala, a branch exists at Kochi. "Thiruvananthapuram is probably the only place in the country where Décor Service is attached to a dealer. This is, of course, owing to a good office and technical back-up," says Meena.
So, what exactly does a colour consultant do? "Painting is a system. A client needs to be told what paint should be applied on what surface, why one system is preferred over another, and what colour schemes should be employed. I focus on the colours."
It all begins with a discussion with a client. "The discussion tells us what the client expects. Each customer is different -- their needs and budgets vary. Most require help regarding what paint is best suited to their homes," says Meena.
There's another motive behind holding the discussion. "We ask the customer to bring in the painter. This is done to ascertain whether the painter is willing to execute whatever has been agreed upon in the meeting, and not satisfy his personal whims and fancies."
The discussion is followed by a site visit. This enables the consultant to become familiar with the personality of the client and his family, their likes and dislikes, and also take in details of the house such as its construction, the flooring, and the furniture.
"It's back to discussions then. I give them a colour card and ask them to pick the colours they like. This exercise and the information gleaned during the field visits give me an idea of what colours can go into their home," she explains.
While her modus operandi has not changed much, technology has changed a lot over the years. "We had to mix and match the colours to get the right tint (white added to a pure colour) or tone (black or grey added to a pure colour). Only with the arrival of the tinting machines some seven years ago have things become simpler."
Peoples' tastes took time to change. "Earlier, they preferred a lot of pink, blue and apricot colours in their homes. Now, most opt for lighter shades."
Colours, she says, play an important role in our lives. "They are probably more important than food and water. Colours influence our moods. Like humans, they too have wavelengths, and how we relate to them is important."
Getting the harmony and balance in the use of colours is important, says Meena. "The right combination is essential. For instance, blue should not be used in the drawing room of a house that always has guests. It may put off certain people. The room should, in such a case, be done up in neutral shades."
The colour theme is also important. "It could focus on the furniture, the flooring or the desire of the inhabitant to bring in a lot of greenery into the house." The role of psychological associations cannot be overlooked. "Some colours are associated with death. Others are associated with religions, and castes. One should be careful while using them."
Spatial blending is significant. "Colours should harmoniously blend with each other keeping the design of the house in mind."
With over 2,000 houses to her credit, Meena has come a long way from when she learnt interior and fashion designing at the YWCA in New Delhi. A graduate in home management from Lady Irwin College in New Delhi, she took care of the home and hearth for 10 years before taking up this career full-time. "After being selected by Berger, I underwent a week's training in Kochi. But I learnt the most during the field visits."
R. K. ROSHNI
Photo: C. Ratheesh Kumar
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