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A New Technology for Color Lovers

Technology is exploding into realms unimagined, changing once-blank canvases with fresh and vibrant possibilities. As technology expands and advances, designers are charged with exploring new and stunning ways to apply concepts and leverage innovations.

One frontier for designers today is being pioneered by E Ink, the company that developed the technology behind epaper displays used in ereaders. E Ink Prism™ is a new product. It is a thin, color-changing film introducing sculptural, responsive, dynamic color to the architectural environment — and the possibilities are mind-bending.

An example of the E-Ink Prism technology and how the color changing wall looks in an open space

To explore this topic, we spoke with Kerry Rowe, a color-and-materials expert who for the past 20 years has devoted her career to color and its application in the contract interiors marketplace. We asked her to help us understand from a color standpoint what this will mean for the built environment. She cited three applicable trends that makes her very enthusiastic about the new opportunities this product will afford to the design community:

Combine Texture + Life + Responsiveness

Unlike the passive nature of traditional paint, Prism will allow color to become an integral, bonded part of the architecture. Rowe explains it this way: “In commercial spaces, integrating texture from living things like plants and natural materials has become a significant trend. One of the things that makes living environments more engaging is that they naturally engage multiple human senses. To create more engaging workspaces we must incorporate varieties in texture, natural elements, and elements that interact with the occupants of the space in some way. This means, at times, departing from static, beige drywall.”

Multifunctional Demands on Space

With the cost of real estate on the rise, and typically representing one of the largest cost centers, companies are demanding more from every square inch of real estate. As Rowe says, “multi-functional demands on spaces has increased, which is one thing that contributes mightily to the use of neutral colors. Hospitality spaces, for example, are expected to go from wedding reception to business meeting in a matter of hours. These spaces have become so agnostic-looking with the use of dark and mid-tone neutrals throughout. Color-changing technologies introduced to the built environment can create the welcome possibility of infusing life and color back into our spaces and experiences.”

Create Experiential Spaces

Millennials are well-known for valuing experiences over things. As the best-educated group of young adults in history, wielding $1.3 trillion in purchasing power and making up nearly one-fourth of the U.S. population, this will continue to drive change in the built environment and will impact the way brands build strong, profitable relationships with their best customers. (Source: Rowe observes that “society is demanding more ‘smarter’ products and experiences to be integrated in all aspects of our lives. Combine products like E Ink with RFID tagging and wearable technologies, and this will open up a whole new world of exploiting color to assist with way finding. Imagine walking into a healthcare facility, checking in, and your wearable device triggers the architecture to respond to ‘show’ you via color change where you are headed. The possibilities become endless.”

For more information about E Ink Prism, you can visit: or reach out to Joe Fillion at For additional expertise about color in the built environment, reach out to Kerry Rowe at


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