World’s Favourite Colour: with GF Smith in Hull

Street Art Hull

Live, work, play – 3 words to live by! Hidden amongst the streets of Hull, Emma & I found a burst of colour and inspiration. A quiet but cool and creative area next to Hull’s Harbour, Humber Street reminded me of Shoreditch (my fave area of London) in many ways. Quirky bars serving craft beers and gin cocktails, the most chocolatey brownies I’ve ever tasted and a record studio above a record shop – just a few delights to discover in Humber Street. It was fair to say that Emma & I had fallen a little bit in love with it and speaking to some of the locals we weren’t the only ones as apparently it’s buzzing at the weekends.

But it was a Thursday. ‘So what are you guys doing Hull?’ I hear you ask…

Butler Whites Hull

Our fairy paper-mother GF Smith had invited Emma & I to Hull (City of culture 2017 btw) for an exciting event – the opening of Paper City and reveal of the World’s favourite colour. I mentioned it when I visited the newly opened GF Smith Showspace back in January and the world had been voting since. My vote went to a bluey-greeny shade, pretty much on brand with my blog (surprise surprise), but what would the world say?? Cast your votes…

As a crowd gathered around a giant red button in the middle of Humber Street, the excitement was building! Luckily the lady behind the world’s favourite colour, Annie Marrs, was on hand to push the button and blast Marrs green into the air:

The children were loving it and I managed to behave myself for all of 3 minutes before I jumped into one of the piles of paper!

So then, was I right or was I right with my prediction? It’s official: Marrs Green (named after the lovely Annie Marrs) is the world’s favourite colour and GF Smith collaborated with some brands creating a Marrs Green pop up shop to celebrate. A Marrs Green Cambridge Satchel, a Marrs Green Anglepoise lamp, a Marrs Green tea set… you get the idea:

If the colour reveal and shop wasn’t enough excitement, we still had Paper City to explore! Created with GF Smith’s colorplan, the 8 colourful installations were dotted around Humber Street:

First up is the biggest piece in Paper City; the Fabric of Hull by Made Thought. This tapestry doesn’t just look amazing, but has a brilliant story behind it too – it’s a timeline of every paper in the colorplan range from 1885 to 2017 AND was woven by every employee on the GF Smith team. Such a lovely sentiment behind it especially because GF Smith is such a family focused business.

Not far from the tapestry, we spotted another of Paper City’s delights…

Photo c/o Emma Jane Palin

Richard Wood’s bold brickwork, constructed using sheets of paper of course. And what’s a wall without a jumping photo, especially as I somehow matched my outfit to it!? The outtakes from my attempts are pretty hilarious but after Emma & I had made idiots of ourselves everyone else felt more comfortable posing with the wall. The things we do, hey?

Anyway, after losing a small part of our dignity we ventured further afield to the rest of Paper City:

With amazing pieces by Adam Holloway, Max Lamb, Jacqueline Poncelet, Lazerian and Bethan Laura Wood there was plenty to see, and photograph!

GF Smith Paper City

After all of the excitement, we decided to treat ourselves in Humber Street’s swanky Gin Bar because ‘A balanced diet is a Gin & Tonic in each hand’, don’t you know?

Hull Gin Bar
Well-watered and fed (so much tapas I didn’t even have time to photograph it) it was time to leave Humber Street and go behind the scenes at GF Smith HQ – eek! Spoiler alert: I might’ve been a little excited about this visit. After a quick shimmy in our high-vis (for the ‘gram obvs) we headed into the warehouse for a tour.

With pallets of paper stacked from floor to ceiling, there’s only one way to access every shade and weight and we got the opportunity to experience it. There’s EJP on her way to the top – she’s no stranger to heights (she is like 7ft tall).

From the heavy duty embossing machine to the ladies hand-folding envelopes (yes, you read that correctly – they’re SO speedy & accurate), I loved the tour of GF Smith towers and one day hope to make it to the paper mill to see some paper making action! Are you listening fairy paper-mother?

Thanks so much to the GF Smith team (Mags and Beth inparticular) for having Emma & I along for the celebrations. I’m sure you’ll be glad to hear that some of Paper City made it from Hull to the GF Smith showspace in London so you can see it up close, so get yourself booked in for a visit.


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© Natasha Nuttall | January 2022

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