A designer or a chemist? Lex Pott has gained a name for himself with a project he did with David Derksen creating tinted mirrors by controlled oxidation of the silver layer beneath the glass. We met him at the London Design Festival to learn about his True Colors project. Lex is continuing his exploration of chemistry in the True Colors project. He’s never been one to use paints much. He prefers natural materials to be uncovered. Showing the materials an object is made of gives you more information about it. How old it is, if it’s been used intensively, how it has been used. By treating metals, speeding up it’s natural oxidation process, you can let the metals show it’s True Colors. You can color an object without covering it. These colors will be absolutely unique to this material. There’s no other like it.
For True Colors Lex Pott used copper, aluminium, brass and steel panels and gave them each their own oxidization treatment, resulting in a different color for each panel. Initially wanting to have a perfect finish and color for the panels, he soon learned it would be impossible to realize that. The process doesn’t work evenly over the panel meaning he couldn’t get an even color. So he chose to work with a spectrum of color for each panel. The colors and texture on the panel tell you how far the process has developed. In some places it has only barely affected the material. In others the original material has completely changed, into the natural protective layer the process leaves behind. Once the process was controlled, Lex created a line of shelves, each with their own true colors.
There’s a sense of timelessness in these colors. Color is often culturally determined in terms of the meaning attributed to them by society. What you wear would say something about you. Purple for example used to be for the wealthiest families, its production process being extremely labour intensive and raw materials only avialable in certain areas of the world. Now, anyone can buy purple clothes. The meaning of the color has evaporated. The statement you make wearing purple now has changed. The meaning of a materials colors will never change. They are exclusive for that one material. They can’t be any other color in that exact chemical state of the material.
Lex Pott will be travelling with the Blikfang Design Fair, so you can met Lex and see True Colors the next few weeks in Hamburg (this weekend), Zurich, Vienna and Basel.
(photo below: Femke Reijerman)