Ten years ago, the Color Design Studio Europe at Basf’s Münster site was opened as a competence center for designing new color concepts for the automotive industry. The building features an open design in the Bauhaus style. The studio offers around 300 square meters of space for work as well as for co-creation, where workshops with customers from the automotive industry take place on a regular basis. At the same time, the studio is close to the laboratories where the designers’ concepts are translated into paint formulations. “Each year, we develop several hundred color concepts. Then, together with the customer, we refine some of these concepts and adapt them to the specific vehicle models. Since we work with nearly every car manufacturer, we currently have over 600 colors being produced in Europe, with new ones evolving all the time,” said Mark Gutjahr, head of Automotive Color Design Europe at BASF’s Coatings division.
Basf’s designers aim to allow the customers to experience new colors and effects in the best possible way. To do this, in addition to their physical presentation objects coated with original paint – the “dome shapes” – they also use digital vehicle shapes. For this purpose, the Color Design Studio Europe has a special showroom for the new Auroom online platform. The designers can use this technology to visualize virtual automotive paints, including complex effects, and simulate them directly on 3D variants of different bodies in order to evaluate the colors. This considerably accelerates the overall color design process and also offers the possibility to simulate different nuances of a color group through direct comparison. The realistic depiction enables the OEM designers to make decisions on automotive colors for which to date physical samples are painted and sent out.