BASF Coatings opens the first coatings industry Design Studio in Europe in Münster
Münster. BASF Coatings is opening the first Design Studio in Europe for the coatings industry very close to its headquarters and production plant in Münster. Over a total area of about 300 square meters of the converted former "Villa Kaven”, including a presentation space of about 180 square meters, the BASF Coatings designers are provided with ideal working conditions. In representative showrooms, existing customers and other interested parties from the worldwide automotive industry are given information on the current color trends in the automotive industry and are provided with solutions for the coating of their particular vehicle models. Juan Ximénez-Carrillo Gerber, Head of the Automotive OEM Coatings Europe business unit, affirms: "The new studio will promote and sustain our strong position in global competition. With this competence center, we are further expanding our leading position in design."
Until recently, the BASF Coatings design team, which every year develops about 20 new colors for the automotive industry and publishes highly regarded annual trend forecasts, had been working in a design studio in the middle of the production plant. The working conditions were good, and many of the colors created there have since become worldwide standards – but the demands of designers and customers are constantly increasing. "With the new competence center, which is in the middle of a green landscape whilst remaining close to the pulse of the Münster factory, we are taking account of our customers’ need for professional design and will be able to help them even better in future," says Ximénez-Carrillo Gerber.
The lower floor of the new Design Center is reserved for presentations and customer meetings, whilst the upper floor provides a working space where designers can research and finalize their ideas. The heart of the lower floor is the large presentation area, where the current trends are showcased. The library, which is fully stocked with specialist books and magazines, is not only a place where users can look up information but also provides an inviting space for breaks or meetings. The light cabin is another highly important feature for the presentations. Here, different lighting situations and their optical effects on the color of the coating are simulated. The capability to test colors and effects under direct daylight conditions is also extremely important. This facility is provided directly in the large garden of the Design Studio.
The layout and equipment of the presentation rooms is highly functional and flexible, whilst also demonstrating the love of design. Extremely restrained wall colors have been used, to help bring out the full qualities of the presented color trends. Most of the furniture is easy to move around, so that the room can be prepared rapidly, flexibly and individually for customer visits. The large conference room is equipped with the latest multimedia technology, such as flat screens. Even the seats are new and in line with the times. There are plastic cantilever chairs made by Phanton, together with chairs in the “MYTO” design exclusively created for BASF by world-famous designer Konstantin Grcic.
The place of design - and of colors in particular - in the automotive industry is explained by BASF Coatings designer Eva Höfli: "Figures show that on buying a new car more than 40% of buyers can imagine changing their existing make if its manufacturer does not offer exactly the right color in the range". On this fiercely competitive market, a clear language of color and line, small details and a knowledge of major social trends are of enormous aid.
In confirmation of this view, we can note that general interest in the opinions of the design experts at BASF Coatings is considerable. The color trend forecasts from BASF Coatings are not only picked up by the worldwide specialized automotive industry media but also by business reviews, lifestyle magazines, daily newspapers and television and radio stations – arousing keen interest among readers, viewers and listeners as soon as they are published.
“We are well on the way to positioning ourselves as the leading experts on color,” says Eva Höfli. The new Design Studio, she continues, therefore also stands as a clearly visible symbol of the priority accorded to the theme of design by BASF Coatings.
About BASF Coatings
BASF Coatings, the Coatings Division of the BASF Group, develops, produces and markets a high-quality range of innovative automotive OEM coatings, automotive refinishes and industrial coatings as well as decorative paints. BASF has significant market positions in the Coatings sector in Europe, North America, South America and the Asia/Pacific region. In 2007 BASF Coatings achieved global sales of almost 2.6 billion euros. The internet address of BASF Coatings is www.basf-coatings.com