When I chose The Gambia as my Christmas holiday destination it was sun and hot weather I was not expecting this trip to become a reflection on decoration, interior design and a Colour Masterclass .
As it comes, I was wrong.
We travelled all around the country and stayed in small locally run resorts avoiding the main touristic area of Senegambia (big resorts with strangely shaped swimming pools are just not our style).
As our holiday proceeded I was more and more taken by the very relaxed and yet not at all careless way Gambians have in putting together colours, textures and objects with often striking, sometime even breathtaking effects.
While in our everyday work with clients we are often asked to style a whole house using subtle shades of the same colour or limit our palette to very few colours, in Africa the idea is to choose (or find!) a colour and then partner it with something that just looks good, that produce happiness in the observer with total freedom and without any prejudice.
Of course there are some trends and preferences, but the palette that people use in their daily life – to dress themselves with and to decorate buildings and interiors – is so ample that appears never-ending.
Our preoccupation with avoiding too much contrast and “matching” and “blending-in” is totally absent.
There is instead an extraordinary ability – acquired with the everyday practice – for bold – never casual – contrast, for joyful pairing and a very diffused knowledge on how to use and master colour.
A big lesson!