Raised amongst the vibrant palettes of Istanbul, now New York-based designer Sara Bengur has a unique perspective on the comforts of color. Luxe caught up with Bengur at the newly designed den of a Manhattan client to glean her thoughts on the subject.
Where does a palette begin? I start by going to my clients’ homes with giant bags full of fabrics, paint samples and carpets. I tell them to choose textures and colors they like— no stress, no ‘where would it go?’—just pure instinct. The pile they create becomes my starting point.
Tell us about this room. The inspiration was the Proportio Exhibit at Palazzo Fortuny at the Venice Biennale, which my clients had seen and loved. In Venice, you see lots of layers and rich colors. The room faces east onto a courtyard, so I felt using warmer tones of red and orange would ground the space and make it cozy.
Hot take on the state of color? Pre-pandemic, people were traveling constantly. At home, they wanted hotel rooms: clean, neutral, easy maintenance. Now, we’re realizing those interiors don’t necessarily embrace us when times get tough. That, I think, is why color is making a comeback.
Advice for the color-shy? There’s a big difference between vegetable and commercial dyes. One thing I’ve found is that if you stick with natural vegetable dyes, and combine similar tones, you don’t get that unnecessary stimulation.
What colors bring you comfort? Growing up in Turkey, it was layers of ochre, terra-cotta and turquoise, whereas blue and green are the colors of the west. I find it fascinating that different cultures have different associations of what calms and nurtures.
Where are you drawing inspiration lately? Anywhere! It could be an artwork or a great dress. The other night, I was watching the movie Luxor, and spied this Egyptian ferry painted in the most beautiful patterns of blue, red and peach. I had to pause and snap a picture. I’ll probably end up incorporating it somewhere.