02 Jul Color Influencer Martin Kesselman
We asked Martin Kesselman to share his insight on color trends, being a color influencer, and how he has stayed inspired over the years. As a color ambassador for brands like Benjamin Moore and Farrow and Ball, he has worked on multiple projects from public works to private spaces. With fifteen years of experience and his own showroom, Martin Kesselman has spent his life living in color.
Tell us about how you became a color influencer.
“Well I must say it’s been a whirlwind. I’m not even a hundred percent certain how I became this “color guy.” I say that with a smile because often people can’t find the right words to introduce me and what I do. I’m a designer, a creator, a specifier, a stylist, my specialty is color. I consult with everyone from home owners to artists. I also sell luxury paint products. Many of those brands I act as an ambassador for. Being a native New Yorker, it still blows my mind that this luxury arena we play in exists & to this scale. I must say that I am certainly a product of my passions, the arts & of my environment. We grew up together. I’m an old soul, a brown stone walk up at heart. My growth & opportunity was in the luxury residential market & the tower. It’s quite symbolic for me.”
“An influencer….I suppose when I became someone the AD community really looked to, trusted, counted on. Besides working independently, I collaborate with not only talented, but truly brilliant architects, designers, developers, business people, many large successful brands. It’s humbling to be considered an influencer by my peers, the architect/design community and enthusiasts.”
How did your fine art background help with becoming a color influencer?
“Besides the trainings… I wanted to be close to it, the art. I thought there might be an opportunity, a place for me, but I wasn’t exactly certain what that would look like. It all wound up right in my backyard. I was in Chelsea at the time and for 15 years. Many art galleries moved from Soho to Chelsea. That was how I started off, doing custom colors for installs, a lot of one offs and practically just selling them a lot of white paint goods. I was being creative and out of the box, in the white gallery one. As it usually does, the money followed the art, townhouse projects started popping up, more and more to follow and that is when I shifted my head towards interiors. Over the years I carved out this niche for myself, one as I like to say INCOLOUR.”
Tell us about INCOLOUR (your showroom).
“I wanted to create a space that was more than a place to buy paint and source color. I wanted to develop a meeting space, a space that has value. Shopping habits & retail have changed drastically. There must be an experience and I think INCOLOUR is worth the trip downtown. We have a large area, that is open to host meetings and design work sessions between other designers/architects and their clients. Bring your fabrics, plans, inspirational photos. The more the better. I wanted INCOLOUR to be a place where you could also meet with me. As a team or independently. We encourage and welcome walk-ins, We are NOT trade only and you don’t necessarily need an appointment. I spend a lot of time in the showroom. There are color tools and inspirational displays available to help with your projects. I’m often visiting, architects/designers offices, job-sites, homes, now we have another location & opportunity to meet.”
Your career has spanned over fifteen years, what keeps you inspired?
“It’s the energy, relationship building, the bonds, it’s my clients. The individuals, the family units, the groups, the companies. I’m curious how they live and how they aspire to. I take pride in creating an experience for them, developing a narrative. Whether it’s designing a home, conceptualizing a color, or a pallet. A lot of it comes naturally, creating a story, putting it to words, on walls, together, telling it, drives me.”
You mentioned that you have become a color coach. Can you tell us about that?
“I have been spending as much of my time harmonizing colors, being a consultant, as playing life coach to homeowners and designers. Color tends to be a stress inducing decision. I have seen relationships unravel over which is “the right white for us.” I not only make color selections, but include my clients in the process. I pride myself on being a good listener. I want the decision making process to be a confident one for them and same goes for the living experience.”
Speaking of right white, can you tell us about Elliyah the one you did with Farrow & Ball and their UK team?
“While trends are pointing to a lot of brights and bolds, I would say that the bulk of my work is to find good neutrals or whites. The dilemma typically is they have tried a white that is either too cool or too creamy. In creating Elliyah, I wanted to create a white that was an architectural white, with nuance, but none that are dominant. The idea is to be clean, crisp and at the same time livable, a good backdrop for big art. People are after a true white, but they don’t want it to have an institutional, jarring feel. Elliyah has undertones, but none that speak too loudly. The architecture I encounter is often strong, awe inspiring. It’s another personality in the room. This can be a calming influence, a balance to it’s beauty.”
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