The portable device, named the Magic Colour Machine, turns a typically industrialised process into a fully automated, localised production line to add colour coatings to aluminium components on a small-batch scale. With it, elements across accessories and interior products could be easily updated and changed.
The machine uses a standard electrolytic process, where the metal is submerged in an acid solution with an electrical current passing through, causing a natural oxide (anodic) layer to form on the surface. However, Loop Loop has integrated a small computer that enables each stage of the process to be programmed, thus enhancing efficiency, flexibility and creative autonomy.
Alongside the solid colour coatings, gradient effects can be achieved by simply moving components through the liquid at a gradually shifting speed. The machine can also remove coatings, meaning that aluminium components can be repeatedly altered with different finishes.
The studio has produced a series of lighting pendants and modular furniture fixtures to demonstrate the scope of the tool and the system, all finished in a variety of different colour gradients. It’s now turning its attention to post-consumer and -industry aluminium, in a bid to help reduce the production of new material.
In a move away from mass production, designers are increasingly merging digital tools with creative craft processes to make more sustainable and responsible products.