Popular: spreading nature
Why many citizens of Berlin rely on clay paint for their wall design.
Berlin – She is one of the most sought-after experts in Berlin when it comes to construction and renovations for a healthy environment: Elke Wulf, owner of the ecological building supplies store “Natur am Bau” in the new centre of the capital, has for many years been placing her trust in clay when it comes to wall design. In this interview she explains what it takes for an eco paint to be truly ecological, what colour trends are yet to come – and of course, which colour is her personal favourite.
Ms. Wulf, is an urban population like the one in Berlin even interested in the subject of ecological and healthy living?
Of course. Healthy living concerns everybody – no matter in which region they live, whether they live in the city or in the country. Actually, the level of interest is in Berlin particularly high. Many young people are living here, who deal with ecological questions – also in the environment of the universities.
What do your typical customers from Berlin look like?
My customers are usually from the middle class. Often, they are young families in which both parents work. After an exhausting day at work they are looking for relaxation in their own four walls. The parents want a healthy living environment and clean room air that does not trigger allergies. Natural building materials are very popular – not only because they are healthy but also to compensate the urban life, which is bustling and noisy, and offers only few green spaces for experiencing nature. The missing nature in a big city like Berlin is often brought into the home through building materials, furniture and wall paint.
Talking about wall paint… When can we really call it bio paint?
In general, we always have to ask the following five questions: Where do the raw materials come from? How are they produced? Which effect does the processing have – for example for the craftsmen? How does the paint on the wall influence the room climate? What happens when it is sanded off again? When I can give a positive answer to all five questions, meaning: I cannot detect any negative effects for those who produce the raw material, the manufacturers, processors or residents, then we are talking about an ecological product.
In addition, paint based on clay scores points with many further advantages: The world’s oldest building material is breathable, guarantees a high humidity control and can even absorb unpleasant smells. This is why many of our customers use clay paint in humid areas like the bathroom or the kitchen.
Nevertheless, natural paints still keep the reputation of being mainly available in discreet and boring beige colours. How do natural colours get out of this eco niche?
By colour variety. For example, the Volvox clay paints are available in over 150 colours. There is something to suit every taste, even extraordinary preferences or extravagant wishes. There are hardly any limits to creative freedom.
Do customers dare to paint their wall in a bright ocean blue or fiery red?
More and more often. At the moment I even notice: Being crazy is hip. Many of my customers want a paint that is somehow different. They consciously want to differentiate their rooms from everyone else’s by means of colour. Even the non-colour black is currently an option. And justifiably so, by the way: Black looks great in combination with doors and windows of contrasting white. Recently, a family who could not agree on a colour for their living room chose a similar wall design. Everyone is happy with the result. Due to the raw materials, the black from the Volvox range which consists of ash, creates a natural impression. It does not look hard or sombre, but soft. As a warm contrast, I recommended a natural oiled parquet floor by HARO to the family who places value on natural building materials. In the end, they chose a Plank 1-Strip in Smoked Oak. The result is more than impressive.
The new colour trends are developed in trend agencies in Paris, New York and Australia. They choose what we will view as being beautiful in three or four years. Does this purchase incentive really always work for the building and interior design sector?
Yes and no. Of course it is inspiring to adopt new trends. After all, the eye does not want to be bored by what it sees. I recreate the current trend colours on the basis of natural ingredients. But there are limits that I encounter.
There are no natural pigments available for gold or neon colours. An alternative are vibrant colours such as Corn or Puerto – they contain crystal pigments.
Would you reveal the new colour trends for 2014/2015 to us?
The most important developments: Green will be celebrating a renaissance – as an intensely rich forest green, too. Also popular: even clearer shades of blue and golden mustard colours. It will be exciting. Wood floors are still a strong trend in the flooring sector and what is becoming more and more popular are PVC-free and plasticizer-free design floors in wood look. They are very durable and still convey the atmosphere of wood. Combined with the new colours: a dream!
Thank you for the interview
Link to: www.natur-am-bau.de