In the case of Eva-Last’s range of composite decking, interior flooring and cladding, as an alternative to timber, Eva-Last’s advanced colour ranges by and large follow the hues that one might find in natural timbers.
The overriding feeling evoked by a wood finish is one of comfort, warmth and an affinity with the environment. The enticing aspect of Eva-Last’s composite bamboo-polymer products is that these offer all the emotional benefits of a wood finish, while overriding all the negative aspects of maintenance and deterioration associated with genuine timber placement.
“Across our three ranges of decking, for example, we look for colours that match those of different timber species, and to a certain extent, other elements in our natural environment,” explains Shelley Galliver, Eva-Last marketing director.
“Likewise, we produce colours that are trending, and at the moment these include greys in darker and lighter shades. These colours also have their foundation in the natural environment. If you let natural timber weather, it slowly turns from brown to grey in colour.”
“From a décor and architectural perspective, with grey being popular at the moment, we logically ensure that within our various ranges we have a grey etched colour that looks much more appealing than natural weathered wood. Other colours in the range follow the lines of natural wood, dark brown textures, tan textures, and the like.”
“What’s interesting is that colours and textures differ from region to region. As an example, currently in Europe and America, the natural cedar and western red cedar looks are favourable, which is not necessarily the timber preferences noted in South Africa or Australia,” explains Galliver.
At the heart of this regionalisation of colour choices lies the fact that people are happy to be in an environment that is familiar to them. This is particularly apt when it comes to the wide variety of wood colours. It has been estimated that there are over 100 different varieties of timber used across the globe, and in re-creating a product that is, for all intents and purposes indistinguishable from wood, it is important that the wood colour replicates something that is familiar, so that it blends into its environment.
However, in terms of exploring all the possibilities within the palette of wood hues, architects and designers are constantly exploring new avenues of expression. One of these is to be found in a technology that was discovered over 300 years ago, a process of wood charring, or creating carbonised wood, commonly referred to as Shou Sugi Ban or Yakisugi.
Carbonised wood was developed in a small fishing village in Japan, on the island of Naoshima. The fishermen discovered that by lightly burning the surface of wood, timber was much more resilient to the damage caused by the sea and other elements, as it limited water absorption. Today this 'charred appearance' has become extremely sought-after as an architectural theme, denoting solidity and a powerful blend of hi-tech and ancient appeal.
Of course, Eva-Last’s range of composite bamboo-polymer products, overcomes many of the maintenance reasons for charring the timber. Nevertheless, as a cosmetic consideration, the 'charred effect' has broad visual appeal in some regions.
Galliver adds, “The carbonised look is very popular right now, particularly in Europe and America, and it is an architectural trend with a lot of momentum. We recently launched a colour called Carbonised Osage, or Carbonised Cedar, which mimics wood that has been charred, a trend that is very big in avant-garde circles.”
While it is important to keep in mind that colour is intricately associated with mood, and consequently with prevailing fashion trends, when investigating building materials, decisions around colour is more likely to be considered within the architectural design of the structure.
“Composite building materials represent a long-term investment. Our Apex range, for example, has a 30-year warranty, and on Infinity there is a 25-year warranty. So it’s not something that you necessarily update according to mood or prevailing trends, as you would do with other décor aspects of a building,” notes Galliver.
“Your colour choice should rather be compatible with architectural aspects of the building, or synergies with the environment where the product is to be located. You can choose to repaint your house or office building every three to five years, according to mood or popular trends. With our products, they are going to be there for a long time. So you would choose what would work in terms of the overall design, appearance and feel of the surrounding environment,” adds Galliver.
When it comes to building materials, it’s clear that colour preference is very much a regional phenomenon, which is why Eva-Last tailors its colour ranges to suit local preferences. By and large, this is dictated by the types of natural timber traditionally used in timber construction around the world, and the popular colours available in Eva-Last collections correspond to those preferred timbers. After all, the key-note behind all Eva-Last’s product ranges is to blend into the natural environment.
For more information visit www.eva-last.com.