living colours

a paradigm shift in utilising colour, interior products that change within a space
year 2015
Living Colours aims for a paradigm shift. We have taken a perceived weakness of natural colorants and made clear it is actually a strength that allows for a multitude of interior design enhancements. We often think of colours as something static and fixed. Paint produces strive to optimise their product to ensure discolouration is avoided, promising that what is seen on a colour chart aligns with reality. Chemically, colours are subject to change. They transform under influence of the elements. As nature itself, colours are alive; they mature and become richer over time. Instead of fighting nature, we use the transforming quality of colour as an asset. 
In collaboration with Rubia Natural Colours, Belén has developed a line of paint that discolours over time. The primary result of this project is our De-colourchart, which indexes a variety of colours indicating their individual paths of discolouration. We list the medium and pigments for each dye and indicate the specific path of discolouration, providing a glimpse of the future. We have used the colours for the production for our series Merging Wallpaper, responding to the play of light and shadows in a room. In this way, a perceived negative quality of natural colourants turns out to be a benefit for interior designers.
Our Merging Wallpaper is created using the discolouring colours from the De-Colourchart. It comes in a simple variety of wallpaper, stripped into two different colours. The stripes are not completely parallel but slightly lean onto one another causing them to 'merge'. As exposure to light and daily life eliminates the colour difference over time, the merging effect is intensified. With all varieties of wallpaper, the light-profile of the room is accentuated as the sunlight increasingly deepens its trace, distributing itself over the room during the day and over time. The shadows of the furniture in the room or paintings hung on the wall will be frozen in time and become especially notable when the objects in the room change their position.
Another Throw, as seen above, is a blanket made out of merino wool, woven with a yarn that has been dyed using plant pigments. These pigments stick poorly to the textile. Instead of remedying this problem through an elaborate dying process, we have embraced this ‘flaw’ and have used it as a distinctive aesthetic feature of the design, saving water and energy. The uneven colouration brings out — in an unpredictably unique pattern — all the shades of the colour and emphasises the 'woolliness' of the wool.
light touches from above — light touches from below
light touches from above — light touches from below
Living Textures, as seen above, is the result of a collaboration between Climate Plaster, Rigo Verffabriek, Rubia and Belén. Climate Plaster is a cotton-based spray paint, usually used to improve the acoustics of a room. We decided to use it for its special textured quality applying it in an unique way. This entails spraying on the cotton-mix from two diametrically-opposed directions. This special technique causes the relief on the surface of the wall paper to be painted in a different colour than the pits. When applied to the walls of a room, this allows for a special effect caused by the interplay of light, texture and colour. As the light changes during the day, the room undergoes spectacular changes. Thus, Living Textures brings the room to life.
Not every natural colourant takes with every material. Indigo can be used to dye viscose but not silk velvet. Rubia, on the other hand, is especially suited to paint silk. We have explicitly sought to work with these mutually incompatible dye and materials to see what happens and let nature do its job as master designer. The result is Bleured, a blanket containing an intriguing pattern of the colours not mixing but interfering with each other. This product has been developed in cooperation with, Amsterdam. 
The rubia dye used to colour Laying Bag, slowly turns into light yellow over time, allowing the texture in the fabric to become more visible. Fluffed is a very thick light pink wool mass at the start. After living with it, it slowly gets a light yellow top surface and sides. The inside will always stay light pink.
Living Interior shows what it's like to live in a room that changes alongside with its inhabitant. It paints a picture on how under the influence of site-specific intake of sunlight — and the play of shadows created by the room’s furnishings — the visual atmosphere of a room transforms and grows over time. An intimate relation with the resident. The walls document the way the space is used, baring witness to different stages or moods of interior decor. Usually, a space becomes part of one's life. In this case one's life also becomes part of the space, even when nobody is there. By expanding it, we want to show that it can be beautiful to accept the traces of wear and tear. An interior can be created in which dislocated furniture and patches on the wall will increasingly become distinctive features. As a bonus, this creates an atmosphere that becomes increasingly tolerant to toys or other objects that have the habit to randomly lay around.
concept, development, design:
Don Yaw Kwaning
Yeelen Tavilla
Elina Alekseeva
collaboration on mud-dye wooden textiles:
development de-colourchart, merging wallpaper:
development living textures:
development, production bluered blankets:
development fluffed, another throw:
development laying bag:
development paint:
development another throw:
with support from:
Yeelen Tavilla
production, filming living interior movie: