The African Building Platform


Paint & Coating in Buildings

AW Session 44 With Rakan Albayouk
Summary: Nahom Atakilt
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In this 44th Architects ወርሃዊ edition, we dive deep into “paintings and coatings in buildings” hosted by the well-renown Jotun group. Painting and coatings in architecture have come a long way, becoming an essential aspect of the design process. From the ancient murals of cave dwellers to the ultra-modern skyscrapers of today, painting and coatings have played a considerable role in enhancing the beauty and functionality of buildings. They not only add personality to space but also protect it from the elements which have made them a pivotal aspect of modern architectural design. As we continue to push the boundaries of architecture and design, it’s important to ensure that our structures are protected and adorned with the right paint and coating solutions. Hence, the discussion shed light on color psychology, color perception, the latest innovations and trends, and their significance to the Ethiopian design market.

The session kicked off with an introduction about Jotun from Mr. Mohammad Sharib, Sales & Marketing Manager–Decorative Paints (Ethiopia). Mr. Sharib discussed the roots of the company, which date back to the 1920s, and the global capacity of the company reaching over 100 countries in the world. With such a wide reach comes the issue of variability among these various man-made and natural conditions which can play out in the built environment. Hence, the company has invested in research centers for six regions, of which region MEIA includes the Middle East, India, and Africa. The purpose of these centers, as Mr. Sharib explains it, is to “understand the specific needs of different markets” and “be close to the market” to account for differences that may arise in various contexts. Jotun focuses on four segments namely, decorative paints, marine, protective and powder coatings. These were then further elaborated by Mr. Rakan Hussam Albayouk who is the Regional Design Manager at Jotun.

Mr. Rakan mentioned the concept of a “single source solution” which is a one-stop shop related to architectural needs that range from steel protection and powder coatings to decorative paints. At the moment, only decorative paints are available in Ethiopia, which is believed to widen as the building sector grows stronger. The presentation also highlighted several single-source projects the company has been involved in, both internationally and locally, in Ethiopia. International mentions include the famous Burj Khalifa, Marina Bay Sands, and the Petronas Twin Towers, while local projects such as the upcoming Adey Ababa Stadium and Elilta Apartments are among the company’s portfolio.

Mr. Rakan then introduced the first part of the Jotun focus areas: Jotun Interior. Colors can be a great tool to achieve an envisioned spatial atmosphere and hence the paint used can have a great impact on the space. Hence “protection, enhancement, and standing out are what we care about with interiors” Mr. Rakan. The presentation then touched on the “Fenomastic Wonder Wall” featuring a high-quality luxurious silky finish and superior washability plus the “Fenomastic My Home Rich Matt”, which, as the name suggests, gives a matt finish.

We then jump to the second focus area, the exterior paint. The outward look of a building largely makes up for the perception of the structure of its onlookers, which makes it as important, if not more than, the interior. The main issue with outdoor paints is “crack bridging” says Mr. Rakan, who presents the “Jotashield Color Extreme” to address this issue with added benefits of low maintenance and durable color performance. Besides the color, one added quality of paint lies in its tactile nature, which adds depth and sensory experiences to the building. This is achievable through the “Jotashield Tex Family” designed to increase the durability of walls and allow for crack bridging. This was further shown through a live demonstration with a sample paint to test its tear resistance.

The third part of the presentation focused on the topic of color and its psychology, schemes, as well as organizations. The Jotun team discussed the impact of colors on experience by imagining scenarios where a room was painted in three cases: entirely dark, all colors, and a few neutral colors. Each would evoke certain emotional feedback in the same space, which underlies the importance of not only choosing the right colors but also having a system that allows for a systematic selection. And here is where the “NCS–natural color system” comes in handy. NCS is a scientifically supported color scheme that enables precise cross-industry color communication for designers and manufacturers, retailers, and customers. Because NCS is based on how humans see color visually, you can use it to describe the color on any surface you can think of. The color system has become a universal standard for color definition, quality control, and communication because of this. An NCS Notation can describe any surface color. An example, as illustrated by Mr. Rakan, is “S 1050-Y90R” where the left, from the hyphen, refers to the color’s nuance while the right side describes its hue.

But before jumping into the system, let’s see how we usually identify colors. Screens use the RGB value, printing uses the Pantone value, while our visual understanding will vary based on our experiences. Saying this surface is such a type of color can certainly draw an image in someone’s head, but as long as he/she is not seeing the same thing, it’s not likely they are thinking of the exact color. Hence, to classify colors more clearly, we have used many methods, such as the color circle, which comprises blue, green, yellow, and red colors, with 10 steps between each segment. In the example shown, Y90R translates to a yellow color with 90% red. After choosing this color, however, let us say we wanted to determine how light or dark it should be. This is where the color triangle comes up. It shows the blackness, whiteness, and chromatics of that specific color; in our case, 1050 shows 10% blackness, 50% chromatics, and 40% whiteness. Thus, these two tools combine to give us an exact identification of our imagined color. It is also important to note that both tools make up a three-dimensional color space, within which all imaginable surface colors can be plotted and given an NCS Notation.

After a brief explanation of the science behind the natural color system, Mr. Rakan also concluded the presentation by mentioning the “Green Building Solutions” Jotun offers. These are a range of products that comply with important international green building standards that can help a building get “up to 7 points” in international green metrics. Following the talk, it was time for the audience to engage and ask questions about the presented information. Maheder Gebremedhin (Principal Architect at Yema Architecture and Director at the Urban Center) was first.

Maheder: One challenge we have with clients and sometimes amongst ourselves is the disparity between on-screen representations and the actual outcome, especially on big-scale projects. Do you have any tips for that? Jotun Panel: We usually send bigger samples, at least A4 size, complete with the NCS code, which will help the client/designer visualize it better. Maheder: Are there possibilities for on-site tests before applying the full paint on the building? Jotun Panel: Yes, we do tests before applying the paint. We also do site inspections to check for any structural or hairline cracks and address those before starting with our basecoat paint. After we apply the base coat, and it cures, we continue with the inspection and if everything is okay, and signed by experts, we will move into the final paint stage. Participant #2: Do you have the same products for every country, say what you provide for Norway and Ethiopia, is a similar product? Jotun Panel: We always test our products in that specific context to see if it works under that climate and conditions, then make our conclusions. That is one of the primary reasons our research institutions exist, to address the specific needs of different regions. Participant #2: From your experience, how much of a building cost do paintings and coatings account for? Jotun Panel: It is typically less than 2%. Participant #3: Can we apply these products to existing walls? Jotun Panel: If the existing paint has coats up to 2-3 times, there are no complications; however, if the existing wall has coats up to 4-5 times, we will need to do a bit of sanding. This gives the wall a texture that will help the paint bind to the surface. Participant #4: Other than crack bridging, are there any benefits to using Jotun exterior products such as dust resistance? Also, when painting a building, the local unskilled personnel rarely do a satisfactory job of painting the prime coat, which will end the final product; so what is your recommendation while using your products? Jotun Panel: Our products offer good washability characters, but it also depends on your color choice. For instance, choosing a beige color in a desert is wiser than pure white. Regarding personnel, the solution is a well-trained practitioner and constant follow-up. Training practitioners to upgrade their level is also in our domain of services.

Participant #5: Do you have any cost comparisons to any of the local paint products in Ethiopia? Jotun Panel: We take this in terms of lifetime cost evaluation to understand the true scale and impact. After the brief question-and-answer period, it was time for the Jotun team to showcase a live demonstration of their products for their washability characters. The team did the first test using beige color, which was shown to have good resistance to dust, and why color choice matters. They replicated the test with a sample of white color which also showed good washability characters. The second demo focused on interior paints which were exposed to alcohol spills and ketchup. In both instances, the team showed anyone can easily wash the paints with water. Following the demonstrations and some more questions, the one-hour event concluded with key points raised by the Jotun team and the participants as well. We learned about the latest techniques and innovations in this field, which will help us to create more sustainable and durable buildings. We would like to thank all our speakers, sponsors, and attendees who made this possible. Stay well and be sure to check out the upcoming Architects ወርሃዊ session!

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© July, 2024 Ketema Journal

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