The winners of the 38th Dulux Colour Awards have been announced, representing the pinnacle of design excellence and the most innovative, refined and transformative use of colour.

Selected from 83 finalists across Australia and New Zealand, this year’s winning projects challenge the accepted norms of their respective typologies and set new benchmarks for innovation with colour in surprising yet universally successful ways.

This year’s judging panel of highly respected design-industry professionals comprised: Shaun Carter, founder of Carter Williamson; Monique Woodward, co-founder of WOWOWA Architecture; Eva-Marie Prineas, founder of Studio Prineas; Nick Travers, co-director of Technē Architecture + Interior Design and Sarosh Mulla, director of Pac Studio.

Dulux colour and communications manager, Andrea Lucena-Orr said, “It is fitting that this year’s awards were presented at the Sydney Opera House, for it is the embodiment of exceptional design and precedent-setting architecture, qualities that the program epitomises. We aim to identify the ultimate expressions of colour in the built environment and, in doing so, to highlight the transformative potential of colour when combined with outstanding design.”

The accoladed projects in the Commercial Interior – Workplace and Retail category were:

  • Winner: Kariton Chinatown by Bagnoli Architects (Melbourne-based project)
  • Commendation: Up There Store by Kennedy Nolan (Melbourne-based project) 

Alexandria House, winner of the Australian Grand Prix, was applauded for its commitment to a singular gesture in the application of Dulux Cumberland Red, a deep burnished red to the ceiling of the home. The strategy demonstrates the strength of an original idea and power of colour to transform the experience of architecture.

Similarly, New Zealand Grand Prize winner, COMMON Architecture + Interiors, demonstrates the impact colour can have in a community when applied with care and conviction.

Both Grand Prix winners demonstrate the breadth of this year’s offerings, which saw projects of all types exemplifying outstanding original colour usage, from regional schools to inner-city retail outlets, an underground dining establishment, a heritage leisure club and a tiny gelato bar.

“Although all these projects are quite distinct programmatically, there are some strong directions that have emerged from this year’s winning projects. Colour blocking has been used to great effect across a number of projects in which spatial boundaries have been defined through colour alone. We are also seeing colour saturation in internal and external applications, which requires a level of commitment, and a deep understanding, of colour,” Lucena-Orr added.

“If there is a dominant theme this year, it is the use of colour in allencompassing ways, from coating every surface of a room in a single shade to painting an entire building in tonal graduations of one colour,” Lucena-Orr said.

“In doing so, architects and designers are transforming our built environment, enhancing the user experience and challenging what we will accept as the traditional norm, especially once we see the potential of colour used in such ways.”