Insta-inspiration: Colour swatch your life

Even the most casual of decorator has held up handfuls of paint swatches against walls, trying to find just the right colour or colour match. But what about finding the perfect colour swatch to match your morning coffee? Or the colours of autumn leaves? Or the sea you are swimming in? Our latest inspiring Instagrammer is the graphic designer and graffiti artist Andrea Antoni who posts under the hashtag #STAILTONE. This account is full of colourful, creative takes on the idea of finding a colour swatch for wherever you are and whatever you are doing. From beautiful architecture to a cloudy sky to squares of focaccia, Antoni posts pictures of colour-filled scenes with his arm in the foreground, holding up the appropriate colour swatch. For this colour nerd it sounds like a wonderfully satisfying hobby – we caught up with Antoni to ask him more about his work.


The subjects of your pictures are really varied. What sort of scenes inspire you?

“My images reflect what is around me. The natural environment where I live is much richer than the architectural one so, while I allow myself full rein to add architectural aspects to the pictures, my natural element is the coast and the beach where I spend much time stand-up paddle boarding. This is why water and reflections appear so often in my pictures.”


Do you digitally manipulate the images after you have shot them?

“The images reflect the way I see the world or the memory I have of some places. Some show the sensations that places evoke in me. Sometimes the photo is totally real and I just add the related colour. Other times I heavily modify the composition by taking some elements and extrapolating them from their context. In this case the setting reflects my memory and the evocations of that particular place. I am reminded of my photographs of Murano, Burano and Venice. While it is definitely them in the picture, it is also not them – colours have changed, buildings are cut out and presented in different ways – the result is a world that is unreal from one point of view, but extremely true from another. That’s the place of memory – real and recreated at the same time. The project is simple and brings to light the world from my point of view.”



Do you plan the images in advance, or just take them when you see the opportunity?

“When I was in Genova for an Insta tour I decided to realise the heart image with the pieces of different kinds of focaccia… but there was no time to do it. So when I came back home I went to the market, bought some different kind of focaccia, and realised the composition. For another picture, of sunflowers, I was going to school (sometimes I teach graphic design or social networking) and I saw a big field of sunflowers: I stoped the car and ran to get the shot! No editing, only capturing the moment. Every picture has a totally different story.”

focaccia swatch


Do you have a favourite one of your images?

“I have got no favorite pic, because I love all of them and hate all of them! But people (with an Instagram poll on the stories) decided that the total pink photo of Burano (near Venice) is the most famous, so I used it for the cover of my 2018 calendar.”


autumn leaves swatch

Follow Andrea Antoni on Instagram @stailuan or visit his website here.

Ros Anderson


Ros Anderson is an interiors journalist and blogger who has worked for The Guardian, Elle Decoration, Ideal Home and many more. In 2009 she co-founded cult interiors blog My Friend's House with Jill Macnair, as a place to write about design in a more honest, spontaneous and humorous way.

The Chromologist 2019 | Farrow & Ball

The Chromologist