Aqua waters and mountain views of Lake Wanaka, Newzealand.


With Falcon Enamelware's new limited edition 'Aqua Blue' range launching this summer, we started daydreaming of swimming in heavenly blue shallows... and wanted to tap into how these special shades of blue make us feel. So we stole a little time with Emma Young, Falcon’s creative director, to sift through her palette inspiration – from bright blue childhood swims in Art Deco lidos to vivid glacial lakes in New Zealand. 

That “instantly recognisable” ice-white enamel with its cool blue trim... Is any picnic complete without Falcon Enamelware’s durable plates, bowls and tumblers? Since Falcon first launched its range in the 1920s, it’s become a lasting example of iconic British design – imitated by many, but never matched. 

Falcon Enamelware blue and white plate

Falcon has come a long way since its blue and white origins, with product lines now spanning oven dishes to serving bowls, elegant jugs and teapots – in an array of colours from intensely pigmented hues to quiet, earthier shades. But what exactly goes into choosing a new colour to add to the Falcon range? And how is Aqua Blue's particular shade of blue so ripe for capturing the mood of this time of year? We spoke to Emma Young to find out...

Falcon Enamelware tumblers laid out in a range of colours and tones.

"It’s no exaggeration to say that I am obsessed with colour. It’s often a starting point for everything I design. Colour is so subjective, not just in terms of people's preference but also in how they perceive it. Enamel colours vary enormously depending on the light.

A lot of thought goes into the colour selection process. While we're aware or mindful of trends, I'm very careful not to be influenced by them because we want Falcon Enamelware to retain a timeless quality and universal appeal. One regular source of inspiration is food ingredients, as reflected in our colour naming convention; Tarragon, Samphire, Mustard Yellow, Oyster Grey, Cream, Burgundy, Olive Oil, Buttermilk, Spring Green and Lilac… I like to think that our products do blend with nature – and our Aqua Blue release is named after the the most essential and abundant natural resource on earth.

A swimmer plunged into aqua blue water – photograph by James Bowden

Photograph by James Bowden for land&water

Offering muted, natural tones alongside bright, vibrant colours was a conscious choice. Sometimes people want their tableware to stand out and take centre stage. Other times, the crockery needs to be recessive so the food is the focus. Having styled and art directed Falcon's food shoots for over a decade now, I understand the need for both.

I absolutely love the process of sifting through shades and tones. Over time I've become better at predicting the outcome, but this doesn't stop me from requesting lots of samples to get the shade spot on! Usually we sample about 5-6 distinct colours and within those explore tonal shifts. We always sample on the 3-pint jug and tumblers to gauge the colour over a 3D form.

Three shelves of Falcon Enamelware 3-pint jug in variety of enamel colours.

Some colours are technically hard to achieve due to their chemical instability, causing high rejection rates in the kiln or an uneven finish. Over the years I've built up an amazing archive of colour trials which I keep out on display in our design studio. It’s important not to forget previous experiments. Visitors to our studio are regularly drawn to the display. People have very instinctive reactions to colour which I find absolutely fascinating and quite revealing about their personality!

"For me Aqua Blue evokes summer holidays. This particular shade of blue is reminiscent of the 1930s lido I used to swim in as a child..."

In the case of our SS/23 colour release, Aqua Blue, inspiration came from the product usage. The jug is commonly used as a water pitcher with accompanying drinking tumblers. We chose a colour and a name which reflects this function, and for me Aqua Blue evokes summer holidays. This particular shade of blue is reminiscent of the 1930s lido I used to swim in as a child. There is also something very Hockney-esque about the swimming pool blue tone. I can count at least six trials on my sample shelf which range from pastel blue through a more intense turquoise, until we landed at the right shade.

Cornish clifftop image with aqua blue waves in the background.

Photograph by James Bowden for land&water

Aqua Blue is actually quite rare to find in nature – one could perhaps argue that ‘Sky Blue’ would have been a more appropriate colour to launch since it occurs more readily! The only time I saw water taking on this brilliant aqua tone was twice in New Zealand, at the lakes in Wanaka and the meltwaters of the Franz Jospeh Glacier. Both of these sites are remote and largely untouched, which is possibly why encountering the vivid shade of blue surprises and appeals so much.  

Aqua Blue vivid shade of blue in glacial lake in New Zealand

Wanaka, New Zealand

I have several personal memories that make me think of Aqua Blue in the summer. Tinside Lido in Plymouth made a big impression on me. Built in 1935, the Grade II listed Art Deco style lido is one of the best outdoor pools in Europe and has a bright aqua blue lining, where I spent many happy hours in a rainbow striped swimsuit searching for stray crabs! As a young adult I remember visiting Rome for the first time and seeing the waters of the Trevi Fountain lit bright turquoise at night. And we have close family friends from Brittany, so the sight of a Breton top, and blue and white striped sunbrellas, makes me think of happy get-togethers with our children on the beach.

Aqua Blue shades of blue in the Trevi Fountain in Rome

The Trevi Fountain in Rome

Sustainability is really important to us. Enamelware is inert which means it doesn't fade in the sun and it can withstand exposure to the elements without tarnishing, and a wide range of temperatures from below freezing to 270˚C! We endeavour to design timeless products with longevity and create ranges that can be added to overtime so that they grow with you.

Walker sat down with back to camera looking out to sea, aqua marine water and waves down below.

Photograph by James Bowden for land&water

Falcon Enamelware products are great for outdoor adventures as well as inside and garden use... The tumblers are brilliant for picnics because you can stack them compactly, and work just as well for wine and beer as well as juice and water. Colour coding tumblers also helps with identifying whose is whose – handy when things get moved around and there isn't a sink or dishwasher on hand! Our deep plates are brilliant because they can hold a salad with vinaigrette or runny coleslaw. And our bake sets are ideal for barbecues – not just for marinating and serving, but also for cooking as they can be placed directly on a flame. We have new oval platters launching this year, which are great for serving up a sharing plate of salad or cured meats, and new products in development which will have applications outdoors – so watch this space..."


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