No Bad Colours
by Ron Arad

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No Bad Colours by Ron Arad

Milan 2013: pulses of electricity change the colour of this workstation unveiled by designer Ron Arad at Salone in Milan this week (+ movie).

No Bad Colours by Ron Arad

No Bad Colours by Ron Arad is presented as part of Jean Nouvel's Project: Office for Living installation in the SaloneUfficio space, which sets out the architect's vision for offices of the future.

No Bad Colours by Ron Arad

The workstation is a simple black box with a desk and shelves against a colour-changing wall, which uses a patented technology developed by UK materials firm Versatile Technologies.

No Bad Colours by Ron Arad

The colour of the wall changes instantly or fades slowly as pulses of electricity are applied to a layer of fluid held between transparent sheets.

No Bad Colours by Ron Arad

The user can change or programme the colours with Bluetooth technology using their desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone application.

No Bad Colours by Ron Arad

The wall doesn't require artificial lighting and once a colour has been selected it needs no extra power to be maintained.

No Bad Colours by Ron Arad

"We are talking about reflecting rather than transmitting colours, so we don't require backlit panels and the surfaces enjoy rather than suffer from external light," said Arad.

Yesterday we reported on Arad's new range of 3D-printed spectacles and sunglasses for eyewear brand pq and Dezeen editor Rose Etherington posted a round-up of highlights from the Salone, including an aluminium sideboard by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec and monochrome pendant lamps by Zaha Hadid.

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Here's some more information from Versatile Technologies:


In a blink, a beautiful block of green-veined marble is transformed into a rich shade of gold. At the touch of a button, a spectacular restaurant transitions from its winter theme to spring. The walls of a corporate office brighten to lift the spirits and productivity of employees near the end of the workday. And as caterers prepare for the arrival of guests, a family kitchen becomes the backdrop for a high-class cocktail party.

Introducing Active True Colour from Versatile Technologies, Ltd. — a dynamic surface material technology that enables infinite and instant changes in colour, design and pattern. Active True Colour is being introduced in Milan at Salone Internazionale del Mobile 2013. The revolutionary, patented Active True Colour technology enriches living spaces, workspaces and public spaces by dramatically expanding and enriching the way people experience colour and design. Using Active True Colour, surfaces are no longer static; they become adaptive and vital expressions of mood, tone, season and environment.

Ron Arad is presenting the first Active True Colour piece, an integrated colour-changing workstation containing a desk, shelves and wall, within his new project, No Bad Colours, as part of a Jean Nouvel-curated exhibition, Office For Living, taking place inside the Salone Ufficio Pavilion during the Salone del Mobile. This is the first outing of Arad’s ongoing development of products and projects incorporating Active True Colour in his role as lead designer and art director of the product.

"I was very excited to join this project as it offered a genuine new possibility to alter colours at will in both architectural spaces and small products,” said Mr. Arad. “The main ‘news’ here is that we are talking about reflecting rather than transmitting colours, so we don’t require backlit panels and the surfaces enjoy rather than suffer from external light. We immediately started work in a variety of scales and contexts. This is just the beginning."

Active True Colour delivers a nearly endless spectrum of yet-to-be imagined original designs, natural colours, patterns, and architectural finishes that can be applied to virtually any surface (interior and exterior walls, floors, table/counter tops, furniture, etc.). Active True Colour delivers vivid and beautiful colours, reflecting the ambient light, just like natural colour. The technology is nothing like the harsh, intrusive and more energy intensive light-emitting design solutions offered through LED, LCD or Plasma.

"Active True Colour is the foundation of a game-changing surface material and there is no better place to introduce it to the design and architecture community than the Saloni 2013," said Ran Poliakine, chairman, Versatile, Ltd. "The potential for incorporating Active True Colour into the design of all the places we live is as infinite as the boundaries of your imagination."

"As Active True Colour becomes a new standard for innovative, adaptive surface materials, we’re no longer going to ask what colour an object is without adding the word 'now,'" said Eyal Cohen, CEO, Versatile, Ltd. "We’re not going to choose colour when we buy, we’ll choose colour as we go. Active True Colour opens up a colourful new world of design possibilities that can evolve based on life’s ever-changing moments in time."

Initially, Versatile Technologies, Ltd. will partner with a select group of the world’s top designers, architects and real estate developers. Subsequently, Versatile plans to offer an electronic catalogue of stock and original colourful designs and patterns to all architects and designers seeking to work and design with this new medium. Versatile will deliver an array of architectural finishes: stone (marble, granite, etc.), wood, fabric, metals, glass, leather, sand, stucco; plus original surfaces that spring from the imaginations of designers.

How Active True Colour Works: For the layman, the foundation of the revolutionary, patented Active True Colour technology is organic chemistry. Versatile, Ltd. has pioneered and developed a proprietary, very low power technology that can be used to indefinitely change surface colours. The coloured layer of Active True Colour consists of a fluid held between transparent sheets that can selectively reflect a range of colours. The colours can be easily changed – either instantly or by fading – by applying pulses of electricity to the fluid film, which reorients the molecules of the fluid to create other colours. Active True Colour does not require any artificial, projected backlighting. Once the colour is generated, no further power is required to maintain the natural colour. Dr. David Coates, chief technology officer and the creator of Active True Colour, has
published more than 80 articles and eight scientific textbook chapters, and is named as an inventor on over 200 patents.