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Travel Palette: North Carolina Museum of Art

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Sleek, Streamlined, and Polished.

This week’s travel palette is inspired by this image taken outside of the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh. The Museum’s subtle angles, clean lines, and minimal silhouettes were the sources of inspiration for this travel-inspired color and finish palette. 

 The travel palettes series was created to expand creative horizons and explore the correlation between travel, inspiration, colors, textures, and design.

NCMA – Raleigh, NC

This inspiration image was taken during my trip to North Carolina in the Spring of 2019. While exploring Raleigh, we visited the North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA). The NCMA is a Raleigh must-see site for architecture, art, and culture. The appreciation of art and design was not confined to just the contents inside the museum or even the architecture of the building itself. Surrounding the museum is a huge museum park sprinkled with trails, sculptures, greenspace, and art installations.  This all-encompassing experience was a unique way to experience art and design through several different mediums.

A Walk Around the NCMA (25)” by Eric Orozco (CC BY 2.0)

My midwestern vitamin D-deprived sunshine-seeking self did not fall short of soaking up the rays while exploring all the sculptures and art outside. The inspiration photo provides key evidence of my happy sunshine-absorbing self. Now as you avert your eyes from my glowing skin, I’ll tell you a bit about the building behind me. 

About the North Carolina Museum of Art

The North Carolina Museum of Art contains over a dozen galleries and includes American, European, African, Jewish, and Egyptian art collections. The museum has 30+ Rodin sculptures, making it one of the largest holders of Rodin in the region.  The museum is located in the western part of Raleigh, near the NC State campus. NCMA is surrounded by a 164-acre park known as the Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park. This park houses many sculptures along with trails, picnicking areas, and recreational areas. 

The inspirational image was taken in front of the museum’s West Building. The West Building was completed in 2010 and was designed by architect Thomas Phifer. The building emphasized natural light and connection to nature while traveling through the museum. The panels seen in the images are angled anodized aluminum panels. This modern building’s oscillating facade also provides a unique way of integrating light into the museum.   

Walking through the museum, as well as exploring the various gardens and strolling through the museum park was quite the treat on a sunny spring day. 

West Building Entrance: “A Walk Around the NCMA (3)” by Eric Orozco (CC BY 2.0)
NCMA Museum Gallery “A Walk Around the NCMA (13)” by Eric Orozco (CC BY 2.0)
West Building Garden: “A Walk Around the NCMA (43)” by Eric Orozco (CC BY 2.0)


This week’s travel palette was inspired by this photo taken in front of the NCMA’s West Building. The image captures the layered composition of the unique modern facade, metal sculpture, and the striking blue sky. The colors are sourced from the various metallic tones, reflected light, the warm neutral-colored earth, and the deep blue skies. The complementary royal blue and caramel brown colors are paired with the neutral grey tones creating a timeless and sophisticated palette.  The sources of each color are indicated below and then matched with a Pantone color. 





Calm, cool, and sleek are characteristics to describe this palette. The striking royal blue, earthy tan, and the blend of neutrals and metallics create a multifaceted and timeless palette. The layered composition of the photo is translated into the variety of metallic and gray elements in the palette providing this more neutral palette some depth and dimension.

The texture of the finned facade and the angle of the sculptural piece is translated into patterned wallcovering and textured tile, which provides some visual interest to the palette. The product info for each material is described and linked below.

Ribbed Textured Wall Tile

The building’s facade’s strong vertical texture is represented in this tile from Iris Ceramica. Diesel’s Ribbed Oxide tile in the color, gray, represents corrugated metal. The visual pattern of the museum’s facade is translated into a smaller scale, which is represented by this tile. I love how this tile provides depth and dimension to this palette. This tile is great for creating a feature wall with an industrial vibe. 

Sustainability highlights: EMAS certification

(Photo Source) 


Adding another visual layer to the palette is this Ecocement sample from Coverings Etc. This product is an eco-friendly alternate to cement walls or wall panels. The Ecocement product is made of 80% recycled Portland Cement & 20% recycled wood pulp. The material provides a matte contrast to the metallic materials in the palette. 

Sustainability: No VOCs, 100% recycled material, recycled wood pulp sourced from industrial waste streams

(Photo Source)   


(Photo Source)

Maharam – Spire – Icecap

New Product Alert!

The anodized aluminum facade casts a white reflection in the inspiration image. This bright element paired with linear edges of the sculpture and facade inspired this wallcovering selection. This Maharam wallcovering, Spire, in the color, Icecap, provide an icy white backdrop with delicate metallic linework. This delicate, yet statement based wallcovering provides some balance and contrast to the palette.

Sustainability Highlights: Greenguard Gold certified, PVC-free, Phthalate-free vinyl

(Photo Source)

Maharam – Tek-Wall Lumen- Whirlpool
SKY MEETS METAL: Woven Wallcovering

This material was inspired by the intersection of where the sky meets the metal facade. This Maharam Tek-Wall material is in the pattern Lumen. The color, Whirlpool, contains strands of metallic gray and a rich blue to create this softer blue woven composition. The blended materials result in a soft blue color that ties the richer blue color in with the lighter finishes. 

Sustainability Highlights: Greenguard Gold certified, PVC-free, Phthalate-free vinyl

(Photo Source)



Momentum – Cover Cloth – Electric
SKY BLUE: Blue Upholstery

The upholstery, Cover Cloth, in the color, Electric, by Momentum fabrics represents the striking blue sky in the photo. Cover Cloth has a subtle striated texture in the fabric, creating a bit of a linen feel. This rich blue is the focal point of the palette and coordinates with the Tek-Wall material. This fabric is also bleach cleanable, perfect for cleaning and maintaining surfaces, which is important to consider during this time.

Sustainability Highlights: Greenguard Gold Certified, 56% Post Consumer Recycled Content

(Photo Source)


Wolf Gordon – Broadmoor – Armor

Adding some edge and punch to this palette is this metallic vinyl upholstery from Wolf Gordon. Broadmoor in the color, Armor, provides a grainy and subtly distressed leather-look with a metallic twist. I love how this upholstery picks up on the metal laminate and metallic moments in the patterned wallcovering and Tek-Wall material. This upholstery is also bleach cleanable, which is a plus. You can have durability and cleanability without sacrificing style.

Sustainability Highlights: Free of PFC/PFOA

(Photo Source)



HBF – Crew Cut – Raffia
WOODCHIPS: Carmel Colored Upholstery

Grounding the palette and the literal gound of the photo is the caramel brown color of the woodchips surrounding the sculpture. This is represented in the soft chenille-like upholstery from HBF. The Crew Cut fabric in the color, Raffia, contrasts the rest of the palette by creating a warm, earthy, and soft element to the color palette. 

Sustainability Highlights: SCS Gold Advantage Certified

(Photo Source)




Formica – Deco Metal – Satin Aluminum

Completing this palette is this metal laminate from Formica. Formica’s Deco Metal in Satin Aluminum provides a soft metallic element into the palette. Its appearance is similar to the look of the art museum’s anodized aluminum facade. This touch of laminate helps tie in the other metallic elements in the palette. 

Metal laminate is durable and wear-resistant material and is commonly used in signage, displays, and furniture accents.

(Photo Source)





I hope you enjoyed this travel-inspired color palette!  More travel palettes coming soon!

Check out my previous palette from my visit to North Carolina here:
Travel Palette: Downtown Durham

West Building Facade: “A Walk Around the NCMA (49)” by Eric Orozco (CC BY 2.0)
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Design to five is a blog enhancing the link between culture, travel, and design. The blog showcases products from local, sustainable, business from around the world, and travel-related content to encourage affordable, conscious, and educational adventures for design lovers.

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