Yellowtrace - Dana Tomic Hughes

Dana Tomic Hughes is an award-winning interior designer, who produces the blog Yellowtrace, an online space where she shares her thoughts, insights and design sensibilities. We're thrilled to have Dana with us sharing her insights into some of her design inspiration from around the world.



Words by Dana Tomic Hughes 

Monochrome 1

Milan home of Marzio Cavanna. Photo by Davide Lovatti for Elle Decoration UK.

Dark and moody colours are an interesting beast. They can withdraw and magnify simultaneously; they are both dramatic and discreet, confident and submissive, soothing and exciting. This is precisely why I am so drawn to them – for their ability to be both yet neither, everything and nothing all at once.

Monochrome 2

Photo by Heidi Lerkenfeldt

The common belief is that dark spaces feel smaller, more oppressive and less vibrant than their lighter “colleagues”. This may be true in some cases; however I, on the other hand, am a firm believer there are exceptions to every single rule there is. In light of this (or shall I say in dark of this – get it? boom boom!) I wanted to explore some of the finest and most dramatic examples of Moody Monochrome Interiors. Although the saturated palette or dark greys and almost blacks has been around since the dawn of day, I am specifically interested in examples that really take the use of the “non-colours” to a whole new level, and in doing so break new grounds.

Monochrome 3

Photo by Tommaso Sartori

Many of these spaces are about extreme contrasts, bold gestures, sharp and refined detailing, slicing and carving of volumes that create a dramatic distinction between the positive and the negative, solid and void. All of them show a hard-core commitment to the moody palette and I am here to applaud them.

While this approach isn’t for the faint hearted, there’s no denying the fact these spaces are exhilarating. It’s interesting to note that all of the interiors I’m sharing with you today have a very different “genetic make-up”. From contemporary, rustic, ornately heritage, super-slick modern verging on futuristic, all the way to understated Japanese aesthetic. This is perfect proof that Moody Monochromes can be successfully applied in almost any situation.

 Monochrome 7

Bedroom at Maison Champs Elysees, Paris.

Still not convinced about our monochrome friends? That’s impossible but perhaps you’re more of a black and white pattern kind of individual? Never fear – I just happen to have a few of those puppies up my sleeve as well. Simple and incredible ways to articulate walls and elevate spaces (and stairs) from the mundane to the completely fabulous. 

monochrome 5

Photo by Jean-François Jaussaud for Elle Décor.

Monochrome 6

Image from the portfolio of interior stylist Louisa Grey.

Monochrome 7

Photo by Jean-François Jaussaud for Elle Deco UK.

Ok, I admit it – this last one is a bit of tangent but seriously, can you blame me? George Clooney was recently made over by the famous Japanese artists Yayoi Kusama. George calmly sits on the chair wearing a Giorgio Armani suite, while Kusama went a bit nuts applying her signature dots all over him and the entire set. Amazing, no? This image was captured by Emma Summerton who created an epic cover shoot for W Magazine Dec 2013/ Jan 2014 issue. 

George Clooney




Words by Dana Tomic Hughes

Image credits - Studio Job Wallpaper, Photo © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace. All other images courtesy of Press Office.

There is something very nurturing and comforting about textiles. Our relationship with textiles cannot be underestimated – we are instinctually drawn to their textures and respond to their softness and colours. I saw many interesting examples of both “textile designs” and “designs with textiles” during Milan Design Week this year. Perhaps they are a comment about our desire to return to homeliness, our need to be embraced and to feel happy and safe. Here are some of my favourites.

15. 'Lake Collection' designed by Raw Edges for Golran is conceived as a second reading of the Persian rug, taking its inspiration from the lenticular Israeli artist Yaacov Agam, who revolutionised the world of optic perception in art. An iridescent collection that moves from the vivid colours of daytime to the less bright shades of the evening, just like the mirror of water of a lake changes its reflection.

01 MILANTRACE2104 Golran Raw Edges Yellowtrace

02 MILANTRACE2104 Golran Raw Edges Yellowtrace

14. 'De Natura Fossilium' by Studio Formafantasma was one of the most buzzed-about projects this year. The Eindhoven-based pair often look to their Italian heritage for leads; this time they took inspiration from the November 2013 eruption of Mount Etna, creating a beautiful collection of small furniture, textiles and accessories from the volcanic debris. Yes, you read that right – the textiles you are looking at here are made from lava!

03 MILANTRACE2104 Studio Formafantasma Yellowtrace

13. I am a sucker for embroidery, and seeing these embroidered Eames chairs by Alvaro Catalan de Ocon (on show at Spazio Rossana Orlandi) made me squeal with excitement. A fantastic combination of design and craft.

04 MILANTRACE2104 Alvaro Catalan de Ocon Yellowtrace 

12. In celebration of Divina, one of its most iconic textiles, Kvadrat invited 22 international designers to reinterpret the fabric in the context of contemporary design and to create a one-of-a-kind piece. 

Divina: Every Colour is Divine was a celebration of all things textile with many standout pieces. If I have to single out just one of them, then this Layered Cloud Chair by Richard Hutten would have to be it. Spectacular.

05 MILANTRACE2104 Divina Yellowtrace

06 MILANTRACE2104 Divina Yellowtrace

07 MILANTRACE2104 Divina Yellowtrace

11. The ever fabulous Studio Job raided their own archives and used existing drawings, images, patterns and iconography to cerate a unique wallpaper range for Dutch brand NLXL. Each roll is 9m long without any repetition, making it ideal for application in rooms with super high ceilings.

08 MILANTRACE2104 Studio Job Photo Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

10. Lebanese designers Hoda Baroudi and Maria Hibri are the co-founders of Bokja. Baroudi and Hibri source vintage shapes and develop new designs before covering them with textiles and embroideries from around the world. Merging old cultures with repurposed modernist design, Bokja produce unique one-of-a-kind pieces that are sold and admired around the world.

10 MILANTRACE2104 Bokja Design Yellowtrace

11 MILANTRACE2104 Bokja Design Yellowtrace

9. I love the tongue-in-cheekiness of these “Upside-down rugs” by Ron Gilad for NODUS. Genius.

12 MILANTRACE2104 Nodus Yellowtrace

 8. Even plants look better when covered in textiles. Well, not really but you have to admit, these are pretty awesome. Feltplants by Dutch company Laive.


 13 MILANTRACE2104 Feltplants Yellowtrace2

7. Petstools by Hanna Emelie Ernsting are not only stools or footstools, but delightfully cozy companions enhanced with new aspects. You can put your feet up... or plunge them into the soft material to warm them.

14 MILANTRACE2104 Hanna Emilie Ernsting Yellowtrace

6. YOY Studio are a Tokyo based design studio founded by Naoki Ono,
 a spatial designer, and Yuki Yamamoto, a product designer. This year at SaloneSatellite they presented a magic rug that becomes a chair when bent. The rug has a 10mm thick aluminum structure inside that can support a person’s weight.

15 MILANTRACE2104 YOY Naoki Ono Yellowtrace

5. Pepe Heykoop and Tiny Miracles are paper sawn vases made in the slums of Mumbai. Not only do the vases look amazing, this fantastic initiative employs 85 women and sends 105 children to school.

16 MILANTRACE2104 Pepe Heykoop and Tiny Miracles Yellowtrace

4. Re-vive rugs by rENs and DESSO transform the unwanted rugs from flooring company Desso by dipping them in vibrant dye and giving them a new lease on life.

17 MILANTRACE2104 Re vive rugs by rENS and Desso Yellowtrace

18 MILANTRACE2104 Re vive rugs by rENS and Desso Yellowtrace

19 MILANTRACE2104 Re vive rugs by rENS and Desso Yellowtrace

3. Designed by Doshi Levien for Spanish rug maker Nanimarquina, Rabari rug collection evokes the sensual and shiny world of the tribal folk embroidery of India. Nipa Doshi’s aunt ran an embroidery workshop in Ahmedabad, with 25 highly skilled craftswomen who were experts in hand embroidery and this collection is a tribute to those memories. I am a real sucker for projects which clearly reference designers’ past experiences, memories, ethnic origins and iconography, particularly when brought into a contemporary context such as this. For me, this is an example of design authenticity at its best.

20 MILANTRACE2104 Doshi Levien for Nanimarquina Yellowtrace

2. Tudor collection by Dutch designers Kiki van Eijk & Joost van Bleiswijk for Moooi are framed in timber and adorned in precious woven canvases.

21 MILANTRACE2104 Moooi Yellowtrace22 MILANTRACE2104 Moooi Yellowtrace

1. Bandas collection by Patricia Urquiola for Gan stopped me in my tracks. These highly textural hand-embroidered textiles can be used as modular rugs but also as upholstery once attached to furniture via Velcro strips. Brilliant!

23 MILANTRACE2104 Patricia Urquiola for Gan Yellowtrace

24 MILANTRACE2104 Patricia Urquiola for Gan Yellowtrace









 Words by Dana Tomic Hughes.

Image credits courtesy of Press Office.

I have a confession to make – I am a bit of a colour nut. Colour excites me, it makes me feel alive. Not just that – I’ve come to realise that colour alone has the power to transform any room, any object (and any outfit!) easier than any other medium. This year was a big year of colour at Milan Design Week. We’ve already seen how certain brands used colour in styling to elevate their display and put their best foot forward. Today I wanted to share other interesting examples of the use of colour in product design. Let’s dive in.

Nicoline Kinch is a founder of Kolormondo - a patent pending Swedish innovation that radically changes the way colour is organised, presented and understood. Kolormondo presents colours in 3D, making the interrelations of colours more visible and comprehensible. Its first product, a 3D puzzle as pictured below, is sold in museum shops and design boutiques in Sweden and the rest of Europe.

01 Milantrace2014 Kolormondo Yellowtrace

02 Milantrace2014 Kolormondo Yellowtrace

Bjorn van den Berg is a young Swedish designer whose work was on show at SaloneSatellite. His prototype note sticker collection ‘Circus‘ is housed in a container with a rotating lid, which reveals a contrasting color range and creates an experience in color perception – super beautiful!

03 Milantrace2014 Bjorn van den Berg Yellowtrace

Casamania have really harnessed the concept of colour in this year’s collection. Two examples from their collection are the LEGATO cabinet designed by Claesson Koivisto Rune and COLOR FALL Shelves by Garth Roberts.

04 Milantrace2014 LEGATO CASAMANIA Yellowtrace05 Milantrace2014 COLOR FALL CASAMANIA Yellowtrace

Constance Guisset is a wonderful French designer with a real penchant for colour – a woman after my own heart. Two of the products she designed that showcase this best are the ‘Windmills’ Ottoman for La Cividina, and ‘Spin’ Rug for Nodus.

06 Milantrace2014 Windmills Constance Guisset Yellowtrace

07 Milantrace2014 Spin Constance Guisset Yellowtrace

Ward van Gemert and Adriaan van der Ploeg founded NIGHTSHOP in 2010. Based in Rotterdam (NL), NIGHTSHOP tries to create surprising products with a reference to everyday life and investigate the boundaries between good and bad taste. Their ‘OOGAPPEL’ (Durth for ‘Apple of our eye) is a cookie jar that changes colour when a person walks around it. Quite the visual wizardry. (Video link

08 Milantrace2014 OOGAPPEL Nightshop Yellowtrace

LT04 floor light by Daniel Rybakken for e15. Minimalism, theatricality and architecture illustrate the essence of COLOUR. In its refined simplicity, the light expands the field of sculpture and light. Inspired by changing and natural light sceneries, COLOUR emits beautiful atmospheric light.

09 Milantrace2014 LT04 e15 Yellowtrace

Experimentation with glass and colour are the driving forces behind the Glas Italia’s exquisite products. Three standout products this year were: 1) Crack side table by Johanna Grawunder with a shattered mirror effect. The light seeps through the glass gaining colour and diffusing it all around; 2) Diapositive by The Bouroullecs – a collection made of transparent extralight, laminated and thermo-welded glass; 3) Shimmer by Patrizia Urquiola – laminated glass tables, with a special iridescent multicoloured finish where 
the nuances vary according to the incidence angle of the light and vantage point – incredible! 

10 Milantrace2014 Johanna Grawunder for Glas Italia Yellowtrace

11 Milantrace2014 Bouroullecs for Glas Italia Yellowtrace

12 Milantrace2014 Patricia Urquiola for Glas Italia Yellowtrace 

FLOCONS by French designer Ferréol Babin is a collection of beech & pine timber objects covered with thousands of small colorful dots, randomly placed one by one with a brush. This slow process creates vibrating and eye-catching textures.

13 Milantrace2014 FERREOL BABIN FLOCONS Yellowtrace

14 Milantrace2014 FERREOL BABIN FLOCONS Yellowtrace

Elliat Rich is an Alice Springs-based designer who’s work was on show as a part of the amazing Australian collective The Other Hemisphere. Her Decennia Chair is a piece that gets more beautiful with age, as the layer of paint and colur reveal themselves with wear.15 Milantrace2014 Elliat Rich Yellowtrace

16 Milantrace2014 Elliat Rich Yellowtrace

Here's the second colour video [you can see the first video below in Dana's first post], giving you a snapshot of the range of colours from Milan Design Week 2014.





Words by Dana Tomic Hughes

All images © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace, with exception of Cappellini (courtesy of Press Office).

Salone del Mobile is all about the release of amazing new product, right? Wrong. I would say that the way new products are showcased is almost as important as the product itself.

There is so much to see and take in during Milan Design Week – standing out from the crowd and staying ahead of the competition is a tough gig. With so many brands fighting for attention and trying to outdo each other, the design of the furniture stands, the display and the styling have all become pivotal to the success. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most interesting examples this year.

Cappellini’s "CAP TOWN" installation. A set of boxes placed along the perimeter of the stand describe a lively world where the Cappellini products find a place styled up perfectly and layered in solid blocks of colour.

01 Milantrace2014 Cappellini Yellowtrace

The Casamania stand was designed by Luca Nichetto in collaboration with Lera Moiseeva, effortlessly mixing vibrant colours and multiple layers of patters and products. Bold and beautiful, this display system is the new concept setting for every Casamania shop around the world, from showrooms, to shop-in-shop and exhibition stands.

02 Milantrace2014 Photo Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

03 Milantrace2014 Photo Nick Hughes Yellowtrace 

Arper’s stand featured minimalist and thoughtfully composed styling, with a commitment to an ombré effect, which was consistent throughout their stand across their merchandising and branding.

04 Milantrace2014 Photo Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

The Moroso stand was designed by the brand’s long term collaborator Patrizia Urquiola.

“The inspiration for the design of Moroso’s new exhibition area was drawn from the Greeks that gave us the word 'Kaleidoscope', meaning 'seeing beauty'. The three-dimensional sight of the tiny colourful shards turning inside the device is never once the same. Always changing, but with a symmetry based on a simple geometric form: the equilateral triangle,” explains Urquiola.

I was particularly taken by Moroso’s unusual mix and layering of colour. Masterfully done.

05 Milantrace2014 Photo Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

06 Milantrace2014 Photo Nick Hughes Yellowtrace 

Arflex styling is always impeccable, in a quintessential Italian kind of way, and this year was no exception. The layering of colours and textiles, coupled with beautiful product and plants was a winning combination.

07 Milantrace2014 Photo Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

A new-to-me Italian brand Galotti & Radice, showed a darker moodier side with deep, saturated colours and shots of glossy silks and velvets. Simply exquisite.

 08 Milantrace2014 Photo Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

Poliform never fail to impress with an extraordinary display and superb styling. This year their look remained firmly committed to the “darker side” with dark finishes, textiles and props.

 09 Milantrace2014 Photo Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

10 Milantrace2014 Photo Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

The Missoni stand always captures the brand perfectly – here their bold textiles are coupled with patterned screens, changing light backdrop colours, colour-on-colour, plants and plenty of texture.

11 Milantrace2014 Photo Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

This year was my first time attending Eurocucina the kitchen show, which takes up four of the 24 stands at Salone del Mobile. The halls were abuzz with real moments of theatre and a number of extraordinary stands. What struck me the most this year was the commitment by many of the brands in creating a total, immersive and ‘lived in’ kitchen experience. The stands and the display went above and beyond the expected – the sets were fully furnished, propped and zhooshed to perfection with plants, artwork, artisan and vintage furniture and lighting. Some of my favourite examples included Diesel Social Kitchen, Diomo Cucine, Stosa Cucine and Alpes Inox, to name a few.

12 Milantrace2014 Diesel Photo Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

13 Milantrace2014 Diomo Photo Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

14 Milantrace2014 Diomo Photo Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

15 Milantrace2014 Stosa Photo Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

16 Milantrace2014 Alpes Photo Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

17 Milantrace2014 Alpes Photo Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

At Triennale Design Museum, The Art of Living show comprised of 10 different sets by five designers, who were each given two rooms of a conceptual house. The exhibition was initiated by Italian interior design magazine, Living Interiors, and curated by its editor Francesca Taroni. The set staging was designed by Ico Migliore from Milan studio – Migliore + Servetto Architects.

 18 Milantrace2014 The Art of Living Photo Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

19 Milantrace2014 The Art of Living Photo Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

20 Milantrace2014 The Art of Living Photo Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

21 Milantrace2014 The Art of Living Photo Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

Dutch brand Moooi transformed a grand space of 1,700m2 into a series of sets. Their product was displayed against 4.5m tall awe-inspiring interior photographs by Massimo Listri that stole the show.

22 Milantrace2014 Moooi Photo Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

23 Milantrace2014 Moooi Photo Nick Hughes Yellowtrace 



Words by Dana Tomic Hughes

All images © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace, with exception of Citizen & Hermes (courtesy of Press Office).


Hello design lovers! My name is Dana – I am the founder of Yellowtrace. I absolutely love design. I also really love Milan. I especially love design in Milan – the two are a seriously awesome combination. This year I travelled to Milan for the fifth time in search for greatness. Milan in April is my design injection for the year – attending the events feels like allowing design to enter my blood stream intravenously. In other words – I am obsessed with design and if ever you’ve visited the pages of Yellowtrace you would know this to be true. Today I wanted to give you a little overview of some of my top 10 favourite moments during Milan Design Week.

10. GOLD RAIN. At Triennale di Milano, CITIZEN in collaboration with Paris-based architect Tsuyoshi Tane of DGT presented a magnificent installation titled 'LIGHT is TIME'. Made from 80,000 humble watch movements suspended in mid-air, the installation created an effect of magical gold rain. It was absolutely breathtaking.

01 Milantrace2014 Citizen Yellowtrace 01

9. ROSANNA ORLANDI. Very few people in this world deserve the label of a true innovator. Rosanna Orlandi is definitely one of those people. Her eponymous Spazio, a former tie factory, is a must-see destination during The Design Week, and this year it didn’t disappoint. With a series of rooms and spaces within this magical design wonderland, each room contains something new to be discovered. The central courtyard is an event in itself, always full of people who love design (almost) as much as I do. A couple of highlights include a peacock chair made from a single sheet of Corian, and gorgeous medallion mirrors by Georgian duo Rooms.

02 Spazio Rossana Orlandi Photo Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

03 Spazio Rossana Orlandi Photo Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

04 Spazio Rossana Orlandi Photo Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

8. DIMORE STUDIO. The newly launched gallery/ showroom by the founders of Dimore Studio - Emiliano Salci and Britt Moran, is housed in their former home – a spectacular eight room apartment in the heart of Brera. The apartment is a breathtaking showcase of the studio's work, in parallel to their carefully selected collection of vintage and new pieces. Extraordinary lighting, furniture and objet adorned each room, creating one of the most perfect design experiences in Milan this year.

05 MILANTRACE2014 Dimore Gallery Photo Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

06 MILANTRACE2014 Dimore Gallery Photo Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

07 MILANTRACE2014 Dimore Gallery Photo Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

7. WHITE SHIRT. Nendo created a superb installation for COS titled "Space Dipped Shirts". The installation celebrated the iconic white shirt of the much loved Swedish fashion brand, which changed colours as it moved though wireframe boxes. Spectacular simplicity at its best.

08 Milantrace2014 Nendo COS Photo by Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

09 Milantrace2014 Nendo COS Photo by Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

6. ISLANDS. Caesarstone presented their latest collaboration with the launch of 'Islands', designed by the clever London studio Raw Edges. A beautiful and interactive installation, which reveals the quality of the stone while exploring a new approach to the domestic environment. The event took place at the seriously beautiful Palazzo Clerici, one of Milan's most elegant and spectacular venues.

10 Milantrace2014 Palazzo Clerici Photo Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

11 Milantrace2014 Palazzo Clerici Photo Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

12 Milantrace2014 Palazzo Clerici Photo Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

5. HERMÉS. What else could one possibly expect from Hermés other than exquisiteness, right? Once again, the French luxury brand put on quite a show at the stunning Palazzo Serbelloni, a neoclassical masterpiece constructed for the aristocrat Gabrio Serbelloni in early 1700s (complete with real-life pink flamingoes in the courtyard – I kid you not!)

13 Milantrace2014 Hermes Yellowtrace

14 Milantrace2014 Hermes Yellowtrace

4. MILAN'S APARTMENTS. Strolling through Milan’s Brera district and discovering amazing apartment buildings is always a treat – this is my latest discovery. Could this be my new favourite apartment building ever? Quite possibly.

15 Milantrace2014 Brera Photo Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

3. POP UP RESTAURANT. In the industrial area in North-East Milan, Dutch studio Organisation in Design have been curating and brining to life Ventura Lambrate for the past five years. A diverse mix of upcoming and established designers from around the world, including leading design schools, take over this industrial area and its many warehouses. One of the standout moments this year was The Sign-in Dinner Show pop up restaurant by a Dutch collective, who staged two dinners during The Design Week in what was one of the most inspiring makeshift spaces I’ve ever experienced.

16 MILANTRACE2014 Ventura Lambrate Photo Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

17 MILANTRACE2014 Ventura Lambrate Photo Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

2. UNEXPECTED UMBRELLAS. Sometimes it’s the most unexpected moments discovered by chance that take my breath away, like this installation by German textile company JAB. Oversized umbrellas covered with the company’s fabrics were sitting in one of Milan’s stunning gardens catching the attention of passers-by.

18 Milantrace2014 JAB Photo by Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

19 Milantrace2014 JAB Photo by Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

1. PICTURESQUE PALAZZO LITTA. In the picturesque rooms of Palazzo Litta in the historical centre of Milan, GamFratesi, Daniel Libeskind, Emmanuel Babled and Alvin Huang told four different "Urban Stories" for the Fuorisalone 2014. Picturesque rooms of Palazzo Litta sat in perfect harmony with the theatrical display of beautiful design objects. It’s difficult to single out just one but if I had to chose a favourite moment during the entire Design Week, perhaps this would have to be it.

20 Milantrace2014 Palazzo Litta Photo Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

21 Milantrace2014 Palazzo Litta Photo Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

22 Milantrace2014 Palazzo Litta Photo Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

23 Milantrace2014 Palazzo Litta Photo Nick Hughes Yellowtrace

And to top it all off, here's one of two videos (the second video will feature in the next upcoming post), giving you a snapshot of The Colours of Milan Design Week 2014.