Powdertech Corby looks at powder coating colours for eye-catching designs

Richard Besant, Sales Director at Powdertech (Corby), discusses colour and powder coatings as a key element of building design. Trends are towards naturally weathered metals and Powdertech has responded with its powder coating collection ‘Evolution™’.

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he use of vibrant colour for architectural features has excited mankind over many millennia. South Africa lays claim to the earliest evidence of pigments used by people almost 70,000 years ago to paint themselves, their objects and their walls.

These activities existed throughout all cultures, the desire to decorate their dwellings with cave paintings being significant. We have always wanted to surround ourselves with colour. In later centuries, exotic colours became emblems of wealth and power whilst unfamiliar, surprising shades displayed creativity and non-conformity.

Colour your mind – and avoid red office walls

Colour is a fascinating subject, hence our passion for it at Powdertech Corby. There is a general belief that colour has an effect on mood and behaviour on a deeper level than a simple like or dislike. Anecdotal evidence together with some scientific backing shows a correlation between certain states of mind and perception of specific colours. For instance, experiments have demonstrated that the brief perception of red prior to an important test impairs performance, and this effect appears to take place outside of participants’ conscious awareness. It has been suggested red may be associated with the danger of failure – all those red marks on your school homework, going ‘into the red’ in your bank balance. Fascinating stuff indeed – and don’t paint your office walls red. Colour psychology is a very active area of research, the results of which will be important across many sectors of industry.

A paradox for colours that reflect nature

Using colour on buildings follows trends; where one designer sets out to be different and make a bold colour statement, the idea will soon be adopted by others and gradually become the norm and unremarkable. Impacting the desire to be ahead of, or follow a trend, colour on an individual building is subject to a range of constraints including corporate identity, planning and aesthetic considerations.

Whilst high impact colour statements enhance many townscapes, the beauty of metal itself is making a resurgence as an impressive design feature. Used externally, metal needs protecting from the elements. Exposure to sun, wind and rain will cause it to oxidise or corrode. Herein lies a paradox encountered by the desire for ‘all things natural’. The appearance and textures caused by rust on iron, blue-green verdigris oxidation on copper, and other metal patinas are all visually attractive. Yet in this state, the metal’s integrity is compromised. It is in a state of decay; weakened and no longer able to offer the required strength for its purpose within the structure of the building.

Combining natural beauty with strength

Our chosen powder manufacturers stay up-to-the-minute with the latest developments in texture and colour. They have responded rapidly to the desire for ‘the natural look’ and have developed powders that cleverly mimic the effects of metal oxidation. What could be better? A powder coating to offer high-level protection to your metal, and also provide the desired appearance of weathered metal. This is a perfect combination.

At Powdertech, we have taken a range of these powders and established a flagship powder coating collection offering the organic, natural look of metals. We have named this collection ‘Evolution’, reflecting the fact that the finishes emulate the changes occurring as metals evolve, in their natural state, when exposed to the atmosphere. Patinas caused by metal oxidation are recognised for their natural beauty, and ‘Evolution’ takes patinas into new realms. Continuing with the notion of evolution we grouped the seventy-two shades into five ranges – evolving from shades associated with the Stone Age through the Bronze Age, Iron Age and Steam Age to Modern Day. The powders used for Evolution™ are architectural specification and the unique combinations that create these effects are applied in our fully controlled powder coating plant. The resulting finish is suitable for internal and external architectural applications.

Rigorous testing is essential

Evolution™ products give you the same high level of performance as all our other architectural powders. Customers expect the highest possible quality and all the products we use are rigorously tested for durability, corrosion protection and colour stability.

There is now such a wide choice of powder colours and textures that powder coaters should always be willing to offer assistance and advice as they have the widest knowledge of the products available and their suitability for different projects.

Thankfully, colour matching and sourcing is being given greater priority within the construction planning process and is considered early on, rather than a rushed decision at the end of the process. As part of our colour sourcing service, we have a colour library giving customers easy access to selecting shades and swatches and also the chance to build their own colour libraries.

Powder coating has transformed the metal finishing world and made the use of metal, in all forms of construction, increasingly exciting for architects. It is an evolving process. Trends may be short-lived, or they may endure. Designers can employ the strength and versatility of metal and celebrate its beauty by protecting it with a coating that not only ensures longevity but reflects how its appearance would evolve over time, in the natural environment.

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