I came across Avko Interior at the Ideal Home Show and was invited to their Paint Day experience to see how they make their paint and what drives them to create colour. Their offices are based in Hampshire in a colourful office with their labradoodle Lottie.
First I was shown where the Colour Analysts Diane and Katie worked and walked through the process of colour matching using various equipment, technology and a light box with different types of light settings. Once a colour is matched (they can do any colour by the way!) a recipe is generated and sent to the Production Team or the “The Boys” as Andrea likes to call them! For each order placed the colour is checked manually and by a human eye. I never really thought about it but there is a lot more work that goes on in creating paint than I would have imagined. I was expecting a mass production line churning out paints on a conveyer belt but instead I saw people by the machines creating the paint, checking the paint, shaking the paint – kidding! they have special machine for that!
Andrea explained that paint can vary on many factors, for example a batch in winter could turn out different to its true colour due to the cold etc. So thats why a eye check is necessary. I asked if their paints were eco-friendly, she tells me that their paints are water-based which contain low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) levels. I think this really important, especially as someone who paints quite often and having used well known brands which have sometimes given me a bit of a headache when applying the paint due to the strong fumes! Even if you don’t paint it yourself, you are still exposed to the fumes so I believe its important to pick brands which not only look good but are good to our health as well. I thought I would put the ‘smell test’ when I get to apply some paint – and it didn’t disappoint, I didn’t smell any fumes and I didn’t get a headache!
TESTING 1, 2, 3
Next up, its time to roll up my sleeves and get painting! I’m shown in their sunlight showroom with to a massive board sectioned off with masking tape – I’m guessing there’s a lot of painting to do! This is where I also met Martin a Production Supervisor who shows me the different types of paints and techniques required to apply them.
The first paint shown is a feature wall paint in Setteveli, made in Italy. It has a grain like texture with silver pearly look when applied and two coats are required. The first is applied light just to cover the surface, the second is where the fun begins, applied thickly and then this is where you can create your swishes, swirls or whatever texture you like. Personally I quite liked the random texture Martin created as it feels more organic. Next we applied copper and gold, and the copper looks amazing and really catches the light. Avko Interior have the exclusive rights to sell specialist and luxury paints Sharazade, Settevelli and Madreperla range in the UK, so it is very niche paint.
We then move on to matt emulsion and I’m blown away by Hamble le Rice, a deep rich blue. Applying the paint feels like painting with acrylics, even though they are water based, they are super smooth and a little goes a long way. The bold/dark colours are currently on trend and sought after by dark interior lovers.
Last of the Avko Team to meet are the Creative Team, Clare their Creative Designer is responsible for designing various elements from their logo, pictures on their website to their cylinder tube holder for their wall chart. I spoke to Clare I noticed her massive mood board full of creative inspiration, quotes, pictures, sketches. When I asked her where she studied I couldn’t believe that she was originally the receptionist who had moved into a creative role after the company had noticed her artistic abilities. What I love about this company is how talent is appreciated and leveraged, in doing so they make not only high quality output but happy employees.
And finally I met Rich who is their Creative Media Technician, he shows me around a very colourful printing room! Quite a lot of creative work is manifested here, including printing of the swatches and wall charts are carried out in-house and some elements are done manually such as putting the colour cards together.
I hope you enjoyed this post and gained an insight into paint making.