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A Colorful Road to Rio: The Color and Design of the 2016 Summer Olympics

Artistic Inspiration

With the 2016 Summer Olympics getting underway Friday, Aug.5, here’s a closer look at the color and design predictions displayed in our 2016 color+design trends report, providing more design inspiration to get into the spirit of this summer.


Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Evening skyline. Photo Credit: iStock


In our 2016 color+design trends report, Home, we predicted a vivid splash of color this summer – from fashion, to interior design – and this lush display of hues has provided endless creativity this year. Story 3, Midnight at Bar do Copa, pays homage to the fun and over-the-top personalities of Brazil, with the splashy affairs of nightlife and globe-trotting people from all over the world descending onto Rio at this time. This is the best time for those artistic souls with a deep abiding love of color. The rich color palette of Midnight at Bar do Copa evokes memories of food and spice markets – lime chili, coriander, cinnamon, melon, papaya, and lemon.





lllustrations:, Home, D-E 2016 color+design trends report. Credit: Dunn-Edwards


Colorful Favelas in Brazil. Photo credit: iStock


Selaron Stairway in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo Credit: iStock

Art and Craft

Brazil has been greatly influenced throughout its history by Portugal, Africa, Europe and the Middle East, as well as by the continent's indigenous people (indios). Legends and lore have been greatly influenced by the indios, while dance and music have roots tied to Africa. There are also intense regional influences of folk music, dance and art, each creating pockets of expression. The samba dance and bossa nova music are recognized worldwide. Ceramics, pottery, wood carvings, lace-making, cigar-making and tile work, among many artistic categories can be found in plentiful supply.


Graffiti Stairway on Cardeal Arcoverde Street, São Paulo, Brazil. Photo credit: Lalo de Almeida/Getty Images


Paintings for sale showing traditional scenes in UNESCO city of Salvador da Bahia, Brazil. Photo credit: Mark Hannaford/Getty Images


Particular of a shop window. Photo credit: Atlantide Phototravel/Getty Images

The Street Scene

The sights, tastes and sounds of Brazil are vibrantly colorful and intensely engaging. Brazil was a colony of Portugal for more than three centuries, so the main language spoken is Portuguese. The influences of these
early Portuguese settlers and other European immigrants can be seen, tasted and heard throughout the country.


Museum of Portugues Language in São Paulo, Brazil.Photo credit: Wikipedia creative commons license

The annual Carnaval festival, held for 46 days before Easter in Rio de Janeiro, celebrates Brazil’s music and dance in the most over-the-top and electric atmosphere.


Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo credit: Wikipedia creative commons license

The cuisine of Brazil varies by region due to the global influences from near and far, but the national dish of Brazil is called feijoada, a dish made of beans with pork and accompanied by rice and beans.


The national dish of Brazil – feijoada. Photo credit: wikipedia creative commons license

And who doesn’t know of the famous beaches of Brazil – Copacabana Beach, made famous by American singer Barry Manilow in his song “Copacabana (At the Copa)," and Ipanema Beach, celebrated in the Brazilian bossa nova song “Girl from Ipanema”?


Fashion is artsy, colorfully, confident and creative. The runways are filled with colorful and bright tones, while fabrics are iridescent, reflective and in multi-color blends. Current Brazilian street styles in fashion, design and art show patterns in interpretive camouflage, irregular shapes, cartoon pop, 1980’s retro design, painter splashes and neon highlights. Exotic prints such as aboriginal dots, tribal patterns, batik, and animal prints with tiger and giraffe patterning are all in full regalia this summer.


Bobby Abley/London Collections. Mens A/W16. Photo credit: Viktor Virgil/Getty Images


Ivan Aguilar Runway – Rio Moda Rio Summer 2017. Photo credit: Fernanda Calfat/Getty Images


Carnaval Fashions. Photo Credit: iStock

Design and Architecture

Brazilian design and architectural highlights include European Baroque influences; 19th century Classicism, Romanticism and Realism; and a 20th-century push toward contemporary and modern, as well as international influences. These varied ideals create a wealth of inspiration in the field of architecture and design.


Baroque colonial church, Brazil. Photo Credit: iStock


The most famous bridge in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Photo Credit: iStock

For 2016, trends in Brazilian design include Baroque and eccentric, with pops of bling and Art Deco opulence. Here, 1980s Memphis pop meets 1970s disco and the hippest lounge around. There’s an intense theatrical display with over-the-top home accessories such as floor-stand candlesticks and layers of fabrics and pillows.

Oscar Niemeyer, influential architect, whose work is showcased through a myriad of architectural wonders, has dazzled the Brazilian skyline for years.


Cathedral of Brasilia. Oscar Niemeyer. Photo Credit: iStock


Niemeyer Museum of Contemporary Art at Night. Photo credit: Fernando Scherer/Getty Images


Town of Olinda in Brazil. Photo credit: Getty Images

In landscape design, gardens are overflowing with nasturtium, geranium, marigold, hibiscus, orchids, bougainvillea, fuchsia, dahlia and birds of paradise, along with plants and flowers gathered from world travels.

With so much to be inspired by, enjoy the colorful road to Rio!