Indonesia’s warm, humid climate is the perfect breeding ground for flies and other winged pests. But these seemingly innocent insects can be vectors for serious health ailments, such as cholera, dysentery and typhus. The country’s weather also influences the design of school canteens, which are often open-air for ventilation, putting children at greater risk of disease transmission when insects land on them or their food.
A proof-of-concept pilot, where Dulux painted one table yellow, leaving another one with its original wooden finish, showed that insects largely avoided the yellow furniture. From this experiment, the Yellow Canteen project was born. After partnering with a school, the walls, tables and benches are repainted a bright, warm yellow with crockery to match. The project has already been deemed successful, with reductions in bug presence creating healthier school dining environments. Now, Dulux wants to expand it, calling for further school nominations on the Yellow Canteen website.
The initiative is a timely reminder that colour can be functional as well as decorative. From influencing mood to fortifying health, designers should give due consideration to how colour, materials and finish (CMF) can benefit consumers. For example, Baker-Miller Pink, a bubble-gum hue, is thought to have aggression-reducing and appetite-suppressing qualities.