The team of artists with the name "Surrounding Colour" decoratively designed the facade of a student hall of residence in Darmstadt with the Caparol paint, Muresko.
Here, it looks as though giant paint bags have just exploded. The paving slabs in the courtyard of the new "Lab" student hall of residence in Darmstadt and the facades facing the courtyard display huge intensively luminous paint splashes. The coloured splashes are distributed between the windows and balconies and give the facade a dynamic, lively appearance. "It goes down well with the students," says a satisfied Karlheinz Reichwein, who is responsible for residence and building management with the Studentenwerk Darmstadt.
The Studentenwerk purchased the six-storey new building in Berliner Allee ready for use from the project developer GSP Städtebau Berlin. Reichwein wanted something cheerful and positive for the design. "No dreary walls, but instead something with which the students can identify." Togetherness should be the primary theme in the 21-million euro new building which offers space for 294 students and also has common rooms and a children's daycare facility. Here, too the appearance of the building is important. Originally, Reichwein thought of graffiti, but then contact to the young artistic painter, Erik Pfeiffer, was made. Under the name "Surrounding colour", the graduate of the School for Design creates decorative design projects with his colleague, Daniel Eyrich.
The explosion actually took place
"It is the momentary recording of an explosion from the centre of an enclosed body, the inner courtyard," says Erik Pfeiffer about his design for the student hall of residence. The young, fresh colour splashes are very appropriate to the residents of the new building and have also convinced the Studentenwerk. "In principle I can also imagine it well though on an industrial building," remarks the artist. Wall painting is a special type of living art for the 30-year old in any environment; the building is passable and no-one spends a long time in front of a building. "I come more from oil painting, but facade design has always fascinated me, because it is visible and omnipresent."
For the implementation of his idea Pfeiffer actually set off a paint explosion – using acrylic paints and a New Year's Eve "banger" firework in a paper model of the student hall of residence to a scale of 1:86. Then he scanned in the paper sides for the subsequent digital colouration on the computer. At the end of the total of two years preparation work the handcrafted transfer of the optimised template had been applied to the facade of the hall of residence.
Muresko facade paint in your own mixed colours.
Here, the choice of the suitable paint presented a special challenge, because the decoration occurred on the finishing render of a thermal insulation composite system. In this case the Caparol Planner and property consultant Peter Weidmann was available on hand to help and advise the Studentenwerk and the two artists Pfeiffer/Eyrich. He became involved at an early stage in the building project and applied his expertise on the question of paint. The choice fell on Muresko facade paint. The silicone-resin paint based on SilaCryl has a mineral character and is characterised by excellent physical properties such as high water vapour permeability and good weather resistance. It is water-repellent to DIN 4108 and offers protection against algae and fungal attack. Weidmann had 150 litres of this product specially mixed in the 45 colours specified by Erik Pfeiffer in his design for decorating the hall of residence. The enterprising field salesman even called on the services of the Caparol Research Department to reproduce the brilliance and intensity of the colours. "Caparol has really helped a lot," said Karlheinz Reichwein, "the consultancy given by the Field Sales was excellent."
Brilliance and intensity of the colours reproduced on the facade
The effort was worth it and the intensive colours of the draft design could be reproduced on the house facade true to the original. "The brilliance is super," praised Erik Pfeiffer, "Muresko has super covering power, good viscosity and short drying times." Caparol Sales Consultant Weidmann was in turn impressed with the work of the two artists. "It is a design that is far from being standard and the young people applied themselves with panache. It was certainly fun working with them." Also the artistic painters were convincing in their method of working. Erik Pfeiffer certainly found differences to the colleagues from the painting trade who were working on the construction site at the same time: "Master painters always ensure that they have white clothing, but we were covered in paint from top to bottom," he says with a smile. And both of them had to have a head for heights. For him and his colleagues it was a new experience to hang from above on a facade while painting. "We have already decorated climbing walls, but we had respect for the size of the wall."
In this respect the decorative design in the inner courtyard of the hall of residence was easier. Here too, the imaginary explosion had left its traces – on paving slabs and bricks. Daniel Eyrich arranged the paving slabs which he and Erik Pfeiffer had previously primed and coated with resin. Then came a coating with the Caparol building protection product Disboxid 420 as a non-slip sealer. In addition Eyrich laid out several large boulders in the courtyard which were then all painted together.
A video of the decorative design process can be viewed on the website of the artists Pfeiffer/Eyrich: www.umgebungsfarbe.de
Author: Nina Voigt
Photographs: Erik Pfeiffer
GSP Städtebau Berlin
i-PLAN Planen und Bauen GmbH