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Color Balance

13 December 2021

7 min. to read

Raw Color works across design disciplines, blending the fields of graphic design, photography and product design. From their Eindhoven based studio, Daniera ter Haar and Christoph Brach work together with their five-strong (plus one intern) team on a wide variety of self-initiated and commissioned projects.

From scarves that speak of climate change to prints that seek out the poetics of colour, acrylic containers that resonate hues sit next to knitted upholstery textiles, the virtual shelves of Raw Color’s online shop tell a story of a dynamic and colour savvy studio that lives up to its name. Raw Color isn't just into products and retail; their impressive aesthetic style and sensibility have attracted a commercial client list. Adidas invited Raw Color to host workshops for their colour and material department to learn from these contemporary Dutch Masters of colour.  

Old factory as a home base

Raw Color’s studio, and home, is in the Zwaanstraat area of Eindhoven. Near neighbours to furniture designer and restaurateur Piet Hein Eek, children play happily in the adventure play area across from the restaurant and next door to Raw Color’s studio/home. The light falls in just the right way on the old factory buildings, now carefully reappointed as modern homes. It’s easy to see why Daniera and Christoph chose this part of the city to work and raise a family. “When we bought the studio in 2014, there was nothing here apart from fields and lakes surrounding the factories, although this building was. It used to be an air pressure factory to make the glass for TV screens. We bought it from the city of Eindhoven. They kept a few of these old factory buildings, and all the rest they took down," Daniera explains.

Mixing red cabbage with pumpkin

Daniera and Christoph had previous experience of the city, graduates of the Design Academy Eindhoven. The duo explains the studio’s origins as one born of experimentation “When we started out in 2007 we worked with natural colours, we used a lot of natural vegetable dyes, mixing them and trying to riff on that and see what happens when you mix red cabbage with pumpkin and what colours come out of that. That’s also where the name comes from," explains Daniera.

More than meets the eye

Is there a common misconception about the studio’s work? “It looks very aesthetic, but most of the time, the things that are there come for a reason. We really love systems, and often a print or a textile or a colour can come due to a certain approach - a system that we generate," reveals Daniera. "We like to work within a certain set of rules that in the end defines the design, so it always makes sense to us" – In other words, Raw Color may make 'pretty patterns', but a lot is going on underneath the surface.

New pathways

A recent project from the studio, Temperature Textiles, aims to communicate climate change through data woven into the fabric, notably temperature Change, emission and sea-level rise, which, strikingly, works well on socks. “Our personal and commercial work collide very well," says Daniera. "Last year, the Stedelijk Museum bought 2 works of ours for their collection. We also enjoy collaboration with brands, you share your knowledge, but you also share new knowledge from them. Working with those bigger companies provides new pathways."

It’s not just the Stedelijk Museum that has shown their work. The studio has travelled the world, from The Museum of Applied Art Frankfurt to The Museum of Craft and Design San Francisco and The Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei: The studio has found a pathway to a global audience. 

Expanding into 3D

Returning to home. How influenced by their local environment is the studio? “We’ve had the studio for 15 years, but we've spent the last 5 here. We’ve really felt this lift of a different type of client, we’ve made more 3D and more objects interiors and exhibition designs, you feel that the flat surface becomes 3D”. The world of Raw Color expands, with no sign of shade in sight.