Viva Magenta in Nature & Design

The List #18

by Antonella Dedini

The List 18 Viva Magenta

In this issue of The List, we’ll take a look at all the places in nature and more where we can find Color of the Year 2023 VIVA MAGENTA 18-1750.

The most famous color system in the printing, design and textile industries is American company Pantone LLC’s Pantone Matching System®, which was patented in 1963.

Viva Magenta Pantone of 2023
 Image: Pantone Color of the Year 2023, VIVA MAGENTA 18-1750

Each color corresponds to a unique classification code which is recognized worldwide, corresponding to a perfect duplicate of the color on different media in order to avoid misunderstandings in description or perception.

Pantone’s business unit Pantone Color Institute, in addition to printing a new yearly guide that keeps the range of colors alive, launches a Color of the Year marketing campaign, which serves not only to support the launch of products created by the company, but has now become a veritable authority for design and fashion. The color of the year is selected by a group of experts who choose the hue that best represents the current moment and trends.

The 2023 color of the year is VIVA MAGENTA 18-1750, a shade of red that is inspired by the hues of nature and is also an eccentric color in its fuchsia variants. It is a vivacious color that celebrates exuberance, creativity and joy.

In this issue of The List, we’ll take a look at where this color can be found, especially in nature, where it is all around us.


Welcome to the Magentaverse


Pantone Inc; images from Welcome to the Magentaverse; USA; 2022

Pantone created The Magentaverse, which explores the dynamics between Artificial Intelligence and human creativity.

The color Viva Magenta, as explained by Pantone, is a “hybrid color, one that comfortably straddles the physical and virtual in our multi-dimensional world. It is assertive, but not aggressive…Viva Magenta is a transformative red tone capable of driving design to create a more positive future”.


Pantone and Artechouse, a leading multimedia technology company, have created an  immersive exhibition in Miami, with rooms with different textures and interaction patterns so visitors can fully experience the Magentaverse. 


Pantone Color Institute: The color of biodiversity


Pantone Color Institute: manifesto for the Color of Biodiversity; USA; 2022; to support the World Biodiversity Forum

This color is the environmentally friendly hue created in collaboration with tea company Tealeaves. The shade is inspired by the “world's oldest pigment”: a bright pink hue that is inspired by nature’s extraordinary bounty, extracted in Mauritania from a group of marine sedimentary rocks. The pigment, 500 million years older than those previously discovered, is a fossilized chlorophyll molecule produced by cyanobacteria, ancient photosynthetic organisms that inhabited a vanished ocean.

Pantone's choice highlights the need to raise awareness and create consciousness on the issue of biodiversity, which is still little discussed. Humans have disastrously damaged ecosystems and natural habitats, causing the extinction of various animal and plant species.

The Pantone Color of Biodiversity was created to curb these trends, by supporting the United Nations World Biodiversity Forum, and the 30×30 Initiative, which pledges to protect 30 percent of the earth and oceans by 2030 (read more here).

The Rosy Rose

rosy rose flower


A Persian legend tells the story of the color of this extraordinary flower: its special, intense red is said to come from the blood of an injured nightingale that flew among the thorns of a white rose that, bloodied, suddenly turned a rosy red.

Valued for its fragrance, this rose is visually striking thanks to its large, beautiful flowers. Its original name is Rosa Gallica Officinalis and it dates back to the times of the ancient Greeks and Romans, when it was used for medicinal purposes and perfumes. It is the first rose to be cultivated by humans and probably the most beloved.

Tropea Onions 

tropea onions


With its unmistakable magenta-red color, this type of onion was introduced by the Phoenician people to the Italian region of Calabria 3,000 years ago, in the Vibonese area which extends from the town of Amantea to Capo Vaticano.

In that area, the sandy soil and milder climate near the coast produce the sweetest onions in the bunch. This onion has a curious oblong shape that makes it instantly recognizable at the market or in the grocery store.

Sweet, crisp and aromatic, due to its high pyruvic acid content, it is very sweet and can be eaten in bites like an apple. Whether eaten raw, as a jam, or in a sauce, these onions are an all-Italian wonder of nature.


Tyrian Purple



Purple is a naturally occurring color that has been part of the shades of red since ancient times. Rich in symbolic meaning, it was once a color that came from the rare and valuable dye that was extracted, through elaborate and expensive processes, from dried sea snails, and it would leave an indelible color on everything it comes in contact with, especially on fabrics.

Purple represents life force (in its most blood-red hue), but also purification and regeneration in religious sacrifice. Today, some of these meanings can be found in the purple colored cloak and biretta of cardinals, the highest clergymen in the Catholic Church.


Red Wine & the Color of Nebbiolo

Hue in Red Wine


Hue in Red Wine; 


Where does the color of wine come from? It comes from a pigment called anthocyanin that is present in many other types of fruit including plums, cherries and blueberries, and from the skin of grapes used to make the wine. And since different varieties of red grapes result in different levels of this group of pigment compounds, this is the reason for the different shades of red in wines with very complex chemistry.

Giclée Print ROSSO VESUVIO by Gennaro Regina
Gennaro Regina; Giclée Print ROSSO VESUVIO; Italy

Nebbiolo Langhe DOC wine has a ruby red color that takes on a more pinkish-orange hue as it ages. It comes from the Langhe area of Italy in the province of Cuneo, and its name comes from the Italian word for “fog”, likely because of the color of its grapes, which are covered in a white film that is even more evident during the late October pruning which is shrouded in mist.

IA+B Arkitektura Taldea; Olarra Winery Centre; Busturia, Spain; 2007


IA+B Arkitektura Taldea; Olarra Winery Centre; Busturia, Spain; 2007

This is the grape from which, in 1844, French winemaker Louis Oudart, at the request of the Count of Cavour and Juliette Colbert, created what is now considered the king of Italian wine: Barolo, whose garnet hue is highly transparent and unmistakable.

Ruby Red

Ruby, mineral corundum, aluminum oxide


Ruby, mineral corundum, aluminum oxide (Al2O3)

The ruby is the queen of gemstones, evoking the color of blood and the unquenchable luminescence of fire. It is a stone associated with good luck and in history it has been placed on armaments as it was said to protect against injury and to bring good health. It also has the power to instill calm, courage and long life in the wearer.


Round cut ruby gemstone



Its color comes from the presence of chromium. The most precious rubies are those mined in Burma and Kenya due to the large amount of aluminum monoxide which gives the ruby its unmistakable transparency and very bright purplish-red color. In the world of design, pieces that faithfully replicate its color and sparkles make for magical and brilliant objects.

Murano glass ornamental container Square Ruby Red; Italy

Red Cabbage



Cross-section of a cabbage


From red to pink, from purple to magenta, cabbages come in a variety of shades. Their red pigment is due to the flavonoid cyanidin, which is a powerful antioxidant, as it contains a lot of vitamin C (as do all red-colored fruits and vegetables), and an anticancer agent.


Red gold and tourmalines ring Miki; Officine Orafe; Italy

Its color is also reminiscent of the rose-hued tourmaline stone (or rubellite tourmaline stone, the most precious). It is a stone used both in crystal healing, as it is thought to bring health benefits, and in jewelry, given its luster and opulent color.

Red Chicory

Treviso radicchio or Italian chicory

Treviso radicchio, or Italian chicory


Red radicchio is an ancient vegetable that has centuries-old origins, considering that it originated around the mid-1600s in the province of Treviso in the Veneto region of Italy. It is autumn’s gift to winter because this type of chicory can be enjoyed during this season.




Studio Habits; red Elastica floor lamp; Martinelli Luce; Italy

Red is the dominant tone of nature that slumbers in fall. And the elongated leaves of this chicory look like flower petals in the wind. They’re slightly curved, reminiscent of seaweed from distant oceans. Each petal swells with triumphant lymph, giving unparalleled color and texture.




Crisp and fragrant, it can be grown with these qualities only in the Treviso region where the soil is particularly fertile and rich in water. It is also a light and digestible food and particularly recommended for those who need to lower their cholesterol.


All-Magenta Maralunga Sofa

This sofa is probably one of the best-known sofas  in the history of design.


Vico Magistretti; Maralunga three-seater sofa with Otterlo Stripes fabric code 13O063; Cassina,

Italy; 1973; 1979 Compasso d’Oro award 


I was drawing something for Cesare Cassina. It all came out of an armrest with a cushion attached. By observing it and making it swing, I thought I could make a movable headrest cushion for a sofa and I exchanged looks with Cesare Cassina. This is what gave birth to the Maralunga sofa, one of the most widely sold pieces of Italian design”, said Vico Magistretti.

The secret to the genius of this sofa lies in its design, as the backrest and armrest can be moved for varying degrees of comfort. And the trick lies inside the sofa: a simple sliding mechanism taken from a bicycle chain.

This extraordinary piece of design combines timeless bergère seating of the past with the contemporary need for flexibility and transformability. All made with the highest quality materials and the simplest of technology.


Gaetano Pesce’s Red Designs


Gaetano Pesce; Spaghetti resin vase for Fish Design; Corsi Design; Italy

The Fish Design collection invented by artist and designer Gaetano Pesce in the mid-1990s is made of soft resin and includes a collection of vases, trays, glasses and jewelry with innovative forms.

Each object is a unique piece because it is handcrafted by a talented artist who transforms the liquid resin like an alchemist, thanks to an extraordinary creative vision.

These collections are veritable pieces of art in prominent colors echoing the tradition of valuable Murano glass, but in this case are masterfully made from a more “humble” and unbreakable material. All these shades of red are capable of creating powerful sensory stimulation around and within the object.


Viva Magenta in Design

The color Viva Magenta is part of the family of reds that bring a sense of vibrancy and joy to a space.

Velvet Armchair HUG by Radice & Orlandini for MyHome Collection

Radice & Orlandini; velvet armchair HUG;
My Home Collection; Italy

It is a vibrant and energetic hue that sends a message to our minds with positive meanings: vitality, instinct, dynamism and passion are some of the results of its magical powers.

Colors can influence our choices and determine our mood. Our reactions to them are always personal, but it is proven that they give us a lot of energy. Color is like music that uses shortcuts to get to our minds.

If the spaces we live in, and consequently the objects and furniture we surround ourselves with, are silent yet participatory co-inhabitants of our homes, we should remember the importance of the “sound” of materials and their colors that vibrate and can help us cope with everyday life in the best way possible.


Architecture and Color

Lin Architecture; Wood Pavillon 2; Zhenjiang, Jiangsu, China


Lin Architecture; Wood Pavillon 2; Zhenjiang, Jiangsu, China; 2022 


This small temporary building was created as a spatial experiment that embodies the quintessential forms of the architecture of humankind's origins. It is a house, but also a place of worship and meeting. Its forms recall both a primitive hut that accommodates the basic needs of human life and a church that guards a common faith and provides the first formal gathering spaces.

The space was structured with a completely experimental approach that brings back, to a smaller scale, the macroscopic urban complexities of communication and interaction among people. The building is a prototype with different spatial combinations that, on a human scale, guide visitors and their interactions, influencing their behavior. 

The pavilion is made entirely of wood, reminiscent of local rural architecture, and its magenta red color creates a harmonious relationship between the architectural space and surrounding nature.


The Color Magenta Red in Nature

Red Cardinal Passerine 01

Red Cardinal Passerine


The color magenta doesn't really exist. In fact, it isn't present in the color spectrum of a rainbow. It's an issue of perception: magenta doesn't have its own wavelength, so we can say that it can’t be seen as clearly as other colors. It's basically a color invented by our eye, which interprets it as being somewhere between red and purple.

Yet it's a color that is very much present in nature: like carmine dye produced from the Cochineal beetle, which is widely used in food and textile dyes and which, when artificially processed with blue and fuchsia, becomes magenta. But if we think of fruits in nature like apples, strawberries, cherries, tomatoes, peppers and pomegranates, they are often colored by forms of carotenoids, red pigments that also aid photosynthesis, which take on different shades of red including magenta.


Red Cardinal Passerine 02

And in birds such as the Robin, the Cardinal Red Sparrow, the Red-legged partridge, the Red Knot, and the Redstart, the perception of magenta red can become extraordinary. IIf we think of flowers, red often refers to purplish colors (common yew, red clover, red helleborine) or pink (red campion, red valerian). In short, the use we make of magenta in its different shades, to decorate a space, object or garment, reconnects us back to nature.

Jeff Koons' Balloon Monkey (Magenta): A sculpture for Ukraine



Jeff Koons; Balloon Monkey (Magenta), 2006-13.
Photo courtesy of Christie's London

Ukrainian tycoon and collector Victor Pinchuk and his wife Olena auctioned off this giant sculpture by artist Jeff Koons to raise a multimillion-dollar fund for the Ukrainian people and military. The proceeds totaled nearly $12 million, giving Koons a boost among the world's highest-rated artists.

The statue is in the form of the pop artist's signature inflatable balloon shapes. Dazzling and breathtakingly captivating, it represents the artist's desire to make eternal that which is fragile and prone not to last, like balloons that easily deflate. The reflective material, through the power of light and color, makes immaterial and eternal that which is born and perishes in nature.

Casa Eduardo Prieto Lopez by Luis Barragan



Luis Barragan; Casa Eduardo Prieto Lopez; Mexico City; 1948, 1951

One of the most important Mexican architects of the 20th century, Luis Barragan created a design style that gradually became more and more recognizable in the eyes of the world. He started from the aspirations of the Modern Movement, which he was able to interpret using his own style that reinvented the strong hues of popular Mexican architecture.

He designed minimalist, quiet and intimate spaces, using pink, red and yellow as they’ve never been used before to create surreal environments that seamlessly blend in with their surroundings. He was also able to transform the bright colors and the Spanish and Arab Mediterranean architectural traditions into something contemporary.

He designed little, but what he left us with embodies something special: the ability to use color on large spaces and on smooth surfaces that alternate with rough surfaces, orthogonal planes that play on the unevenness of the ground, creating magnificent depths of field for a space that is complex but at the same time pure.


Benetton: The all-magenta store in the Metaverse


United Colors of Benetton; PlayChange virtual store; Metaverse; March 2022 

Benetton’s new virtual store is an explosion of red and pink for a total brand experience. The color hue is catalyzing and communicates positivity and energy. It is called PlayChange and the “space”, which merges the physical and virtual worlds, is the Roblox Metaverse. Various talented individuals from the gaming and lifestyle worlds were involved in the creation of the platform.

benetton italy 02

“The intent is to offer a dimensional bridge between present and future, between real and virtual, through a brand experience that is increasingly immersive and above all close to the language of young people…”, explains Antonio Patrissi, Chief Digital Officer of the Benetton Group, in a press release.

“...Our goal is to be the first to explore the new possibilities of engagement that this new technology offers, bringing us ever closer to the buying habits and vision that younger generations have of the fashion and retail world.”