Colour expert Annika Murjahn on innovative eco-colour culture

How Caparol Icons sets new standards for luxurious colour concepts and sustainability in the European interior paint market

In an interview with Annika Murjahn, founder of CAPAROL ICONS

CAPAROL ICONS sustainable colors
Source & Copyright by CAPAROL ICONS

Author: House of Eden

By founding Caparol IconsArt historian Annika Murjahn and her brother, chemist Dr. Ralf Murjahn, revolutionized the segment for luxurious interior paints in terms of aesthetics, innovation and sustainability. Based on the knowledge of their family company Caparol, founded in 1895, the siblings have created a contemporary expansion of the traditional manufactory. What is special: Caparol Icons combines quality and the innovative spirit of the family with modern demands for elegant room concepts and ecological responsibility. And thus sets new standards on the German and international market for luxury interior paints.

In an interview, founder Annika Murjahn shares exclusive insights into the sustainable color development of Caparol Icons, talks about iconic moments of color culture and her family's colorful tradition. It opens up new perspectives for the design of modern room concepts.

CAPAROL_ICONS_Annika_&_Ralf_Murjahn_Fotocredit_Ramon_Haindl_08-3

Annika Murjahn, Source & Copyright by Ramon Haindl | CAPAROL ICONS

Have customers lately developed an awareness of sustainable colours?

Absolutely. Our customers obtain comprehensive information and, of course, when buying interior paints - especially in the luxury segment - they want to know where the product comes from, how it is produced and which raw materials are used for the recipe.

Why is an ecological approach so relevant, especially when it comes to colors?

Interior paint is the last layer applied to a building and is therefore closest to us. This skin, with which we protect the walls and design our rooms, should also protect us. In addition to the aesthetic criteria such as shade and color intensity, it is therefore important that it is healthy for living. This means:

  1. the colours are without solvents and emissions,
  2. durable in the sense of washable and hard-wearing and
  3. sustainable in terms of the use and consumption of raw materials.

Our paint formulations result in the most healthy living and sustainable products on the entire luxury interior paint market. We set the highest standards in the industry: on the day of application, after drying, you can live carefree in the freshly painted rooms and sleep well.

How do you take sustainability into account in colour development?

Our color development focused on the vision of creating a sustainable lifestyle for the wall. All Caparol Icons products are water-based, odorless and have minimized emissions, as well as being free from heavy metals, solvents and plasticizers. They are even suitable for children's toys. In addition to their effect indoors, our paints also have a great added value for sustainability - solvents and plasticizers release emissions that not only have a negative impact on the indoor climate, but also pollute the environment and nature.

caparol icons queen green

Source & Copyright by CAPAROL ICONS

Our paints are the only ones in the luxury interior paint segment that are made on-demand in our climate-neutral factory in Ober-Ramstadt in the Odenwald. The recipe used is sustainable in the sense of long-lasting. Despite their powdery-matt appearance, the surfaces are easy to wash off, which is why the coatings last longer and use fewer raw materials accordingly. And the packaging also meets the requirements of environmental protection: Caparol Icons are not sold in plastic, but in recyclable metal containers. Even the outer packaging for shipping is all completely free of plastic - which is still not a matter of course today. All of these commitments result in the carbon footprint of our paints being minimal when shipped within Germany. Also because all suppliers come from Germany or Denmark.

What are the biggest challenges in developing eco-friendly paints?

In order to find real levers here, one has to look at the entire life cycle in the ecological balance. This means looking at all aspects - from the extraction of the raw materials to the processed product on the wall, i.e. the applied paint. We have subjected the entire value chain to a long-term analysis based on these factors. For these efforts and our pioneering work in sustainable innovations in the paint market, our company has been awarded the German Sustainability Award. This makes us very proud!

Which technological innovation are you particularly proud of?

Our company was the first to introduce emission and solvent-free paints to the market. Developed by my father, Dr. Klaus Murjahn, who is a chemist and has developed many sustainable innovations in the field of thermal insulation and renewable raw materials. "ELF" stands for paints that are free of emissions and solvents and have become the standard on the German market. In a European comparison, however, there are enormous differences. The guidelines for adding solvents are less strict abroad than in Germany. CAPAROL ICONS has the lowest ELF values ​​compared to other international manufacturers. A unique selling point that convinces our customers and positions us at the top when it comes to healthy living.

Caparol Icons

Source & Copyright by CAPAROL ICONS

Also innovative: Our color charts for advice and inspiration are coated with the original colors - i.e. exactly the color that is in our containers. As a result, there is no distortion of the hue in different light sources - consumers actually have the original color in mind. So far we are the only ones using this complex coating system and are in the process of patenting it. It is our goal to offer our customers a unique experience at all points of contact with Caparol Icons.

120 color icons inspired by the color history of Germany - what is special about this approach?

During the development, it was important to us to formulate colour icons that are timelessly elegant instead of following any trends. The basis of the approach was a scientific analysis of the socio-cultural context of interior colours since the Second World War, combined with the knowledge that we have been able to gather in the process of processing colours and pigments in our company since 2. Based on this know-how, our team spent over two years researching 1895 colour icons. And specifically for timeless and sustainable interior design. For us, it is important that furnishings underline the individual style of the occupants, which is why our collection offers an incomparable range of elegant, contemporary nuances. By the way, we affectionately call our customers "Iconistas".

What new color designs or concepts can we expect for 2022?

Our color icons claim to be timeless, i.e. iconic. Nevertheless, there are of course stylistic currents. The bestsellers in our current collection are NO 52 Woogie, a cool shade of lilac, and NO 83 Queen Green, a "cannabis green". When it comes to design, we see color drenching as a must-try trend this year. An entire room - including stucco as well as window and floor moldings - is designed in one tone. This looks very modern and gives every architectural structure an elegant atmosphere.

caparol interview cover

Source & Copyright by CAPAROL ICONS

What does Beloved Paint stand for and what can we expect from you in the future?

"Beloved Paint" stands for the passion with which we have been producing paints as a family business for over 125 years. Our traditional competence in designing with color enables our customers to experience this enthusiasm themselves. In addition, as a completely new service, we offer an exclusive and individual Color consultation with expert Juliana von Gatterburg on - digitally or on site at home. It is wonderful to see how simple and effective colors can make rooms shine.

In addition, it is a lot of fun to deal with colors and their effect and to design rooms individually. Personally, I see personalized interior design as an extension of the ritual of dressing in one's own style. We experience how interior designers use the individual stories of color icons such as "NO 05 Granny takes a trip", "NO 03 Clouds of California" or "NO 61 Surfs Up" in a sophisticated way in the moods and looks of their designs. Every year we launch a new collection of 10 new shades that round off our icons and underline the current zeitgeist.

Thank you for the interview, Mrs. Murjahn. 

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