We unearth the defining philosophies behind Bauwerk Colour, a Perth-based limewash paint company inspired by the colours of nature.
Since 2000, Bauwerk Colour have had one vision: to bring nature into the home. Now, with more than 30 years of experience, they have perfected a range of sustainable limewash paints that speak to the arresting qualities and longevity of the natural world. And with ties across Australia, Europe and the Middle East, Bauwerk’s encounters with the natural world are manifold – reflected in each unique pigment.
We catch up with Bauwerk creative director Bronwyn Riedel to explore where their story began and collaborations with esteemed international designers House of Grey and Hans Blonquist.
‘Ibiza’ conjures a warm antipodean feel in the home of Ebonie Bohlin of Maison de Base.
Could you please tell us where the Bauwerk story began?
Bronwyn Riedel: Our story began in 1995 in Fremantle, Western Australia, where we started making lime paint for our own restoration projects; on historic buildings around our historic port city. We decided to launch our paint brand in 2000 after using the paints and witnessing their beauty and longevity, combining our understanding of limestone and colour.
The name Bauwerk Colour represents the dual heritage of our German and Australian backgrounds. Bauwerk in German means ‘Building’. Our understanding of natural materials comes from Andreas Riedel, who came to Australia from former East Germany. Andreas brought his experience of natural building restoration methods from his home in Dresden, one of Europe’s most beautiful historical cities.
The Bauwerk colours are influenced by my childhood spent on a sheep farm in the Victorian Great Dividing Range, a childhood full of freedom to discover, dream and explore. I became totally immersed in the colours of nature.
In 2004 we expanded our business into the Middle East, where we pioneered the manufacturing of natural building materials for large scale projects. In 2007 we bought what has become our Europe HQ, an abandoned old water castle in former East Germany. We now sell online across Europe, the UK and North America from our small village. The house and barns are now used to produce and fulfil our online sales, bringing employment and life back to our community.
Bronwyn Riedel: Our complete understanding and passion for making the best modern limewash. We have spent years refining and understanding the somewhat magical alchemy of turning stone into paint. It starts with the type of stone, then the way it is burnt. It’s then slaked in water and aged, using centuries-old technology that has become almost forgotten.
Like a winemaker, our lime paint maker is a master at his craft. It is a mysterious process requiring years of experience and a feel for the nuances of limewash. We then source the world’s best pigments, ensuring that they are sustainably and ethically made. Colouring our limewash without using industrial tinting petrochemical bases makes our colours appear like no other.
Is there a defining colour or collection that tells the Bauwerk story best?
Bronwyn Riedel: Our recent collaboration with London-based interior design studio House of Grey, ‘‘Visual Silence’, perfectly captures our beliefs about how paints can be used to replace the overuse of plastic-based products in our homes. This range was created using colours and materials that foster a sense of well-being in the home.
You are aligned with several leading designers and stylists in Australia and internationally. Could you please share some of the collaborations you are most proud of?
Bronwyn Riedel: All of them, actually. Our first collaboration was with local WA designer Mon Palmer, where we created a range of sun-drenched Malibu-style pinks and whites inspired by outside living. Then, in Europe, a longtime dream came true when we worked with stylist Hans Blomquist to create a range that reflected his favourite places and things from his travels. Hans’ work is inspired by hummingbirds, desert cactus and the colours of his homeland, Sweden. I also love our latest collaboration with House of Grey, as it embodies everything I believe in, plus all our years of developing colour and paints for a different way to live.
So what’s next for Bauwerk? What can we look forward to?
Bronwyn Riedel: We enjoy working every day to get better at what we do. After listening to customer feedback and receiving ample advice and guidance on our colours, we have developed a new website coming mid-year. We are also always bringing out stories from projects and people we love to work with.
I’m excited to announce that we are building the world’s first 3D printed pigment dosing machine with our own software and design, created in collaboration with a Melbourne designer. More close to home, we are working with our team here in Germany to transform 10 acres of land and lake into a biosphere for birds and animals.