Dutch design studio Loop Loop has pioneered a means of including color to aluminium utilizing pigments comprised of crops moderately than petroleum.
Odin Visser and Charles Gateau, founders of the Rotterdam-based studio, declare to have created the “world’s first plant-based aluminium dying course of”.
They’ve produced 4 bio-based pigment options that may be utilized to aluminium by way of anodising, a floor remedy course of that usually makes use of petroleum-based pigments.
Visser instructed Dezeen it was “probably the most complicated subject” that Loop Loop had ever tackled.
“Pure pigments are getting used increasingly, however most of them are completely ineffective within the context of anodising,” he defined.
“We needed to take a deep dive into chemistry, utilizing sources from analysis papers to AI chatbots with the intention to perceive the underlying rules that resolve if a pigment goes to work or not.”
Visser and Gateau are on a mission to make the method of aluminium anodising extra accessible to designers, makers and small-scale producers. At present, it’s largely solely utilized in mass manufacturing.
The long-term purpose is to make their designs and recipes open supply, so anybody may arrange a manufacturing facility.
Their journey started with the Magic Color Machine, unveiled throughout Milan design week in 2022. This cellular, custom-built machine was designed to permit anybody to use color gradients to aluminium parts, wherever they’re.
This new venture, titled Native Colors, explores how the method might be made extra sustainable.
“To discover a technique to produce the pigments for our Magic Color Machine ourselves in a plant-based means helps us to additional shut the loop,” stated Visser.
The 4 dyes developed thus far embody a heat purple derived from dyer’s alkanet flowers, a mustard yellow created with dyer’s rocket flowers, a deep pink made utilizing madder root and a vibrant gold produced with pink onion.
Loop Loop has explored totally different methods for making use of these colors to metallic with totally different results.
In addition to clean gradients, the pigments can be utilized to create textural finishes.
“The end relies on how the pigments are utilized,” defined Gateau, a Design Academy Eindhoven tutor with a background in materials science.
“We will observe the usual follow of anodising and dip our items in a dye to acquire a uniform color end. In that sense, it’s unattainable to differentiate it from the commercial pigments,” he instructed Dezeen.
“It’s also potential to press plant components instantly onto the floor we want to dye; all types of patterns can emerge.”
The anodising course of includes utilizing an electrical present to use a skinny aluminium oxide layer on the outer floor of the metallic.
Loop Loop’s checks recommend that plant-based anodising finishes behave a lot the identical as petroleum-based finishes, which means they are often simply as simply eliminated as added.
The principle distinction is that the colors react when uncovered to direct daylight.
“That is because of the molecular construction of the dyes, which is far more complicated and numerous within the case of natural-based substances,” stated Gateau. “The colors have a lifetime of their very own.”
Visser and Gateau have been rising their very own crops for the dyes, supporting their dedication to localised manufacturing.
As soon as the recipes are made open supply, they hope to encourage others to do the identical. The ambition is to launch a platform that makes this potential in 2024.
“It is nonetheless at an early stage, however we envision an ecosystem of designers, researchers and makers sharing the outcomes of labor within the subject of round merchandise and repair programs,” added Visser.
Different designers exploring the chances of plant-based pigments embody Nienke Hoogvliet, who has launched a model working with seaweed-based textile dyes, and Studio Agne, which has created textile dye from biowaste.