Here at SFXC, we are continually amazed by the far reaching and innovative applications for our colour changing products. Mid last year, we were approached by The Tate Modern to tackle a very ambitious and unprecedented project. The team were excited to learn we'd be collaborating with world-renowned Cuban installation and performance artist Tania Bruguera. For several months, we immersed ourselves in the exciting world of modern art!
The challenge was our biggest yet: to produce a colour changing floor for the Tate Moderns' gargantuan Turbine Hall - all 200,000 square feet of it (gulp!). This was going to take enormous volumes of product, many, many hours of research and precise military planning. Firstly, we had to consider the fact that over 6 months, the installation would be seen by an estimated 1 million visitors who would pass through this world class gallery . . . well, also sitting on it, laying on it, touching it, scuffing it, rolling around on it . . !
So this floor had to be tough and hard wearing in the extreme. Not only did we have to think about the long-term durability but also how the change in temperature from Autumn into Winter would affect the flooring. From the atmospheric temperatures within the cathedral like void of The Turbine Hall itself, to the cold concrete of the Turbine Hall's floor . . . our work had only just begun.
We travelled regularly to our amazing capital city of London for research, development and implementation meetings with the wonderful team at The Tate Modern and with Tania Bruguera, whose brainchild this was. Together, we explored several colour changing ideas before finally deciding on Thermochromic, which reacts at a 'touch temperature'.
Back at SFXC headquarters on the sleepy East Sussex coast, we began testing, test upon test, late nights and early mornings until finally - we produced a perfect Thermochromic colour changing ink with a mid range activation temperature. When heated to body temperature, the ink clears to show what lies underneath it. Tania's idea was to 'reveal' one large image, which was to be achieved by people working together as a group using the heat from their bodies.
The floor itself was made from hard wearing interlocking squares, the kind used in air craft hangers and industrial spaces. We told you - hard wearing to the extreme . . .
Next, we had to find a way to print on those tiles. At first we thought of screen printing, but luckily we sourced a large format printer who was able to deal with applying an image onto the very tiles themselves. It was all coming together nicely!
Over the printed image we then applied Thermochromic ink. In this case, we chose our Thermochromic Sprayable System (available in 7 colours!) for its super tough properties. We applied the ink via rollers and had lots of fun tutoring the Tate Modern's technical team in the application. Once all covered, the whole floor was coated with a heavy duty resin top coat to provide long lasting protection from the months of heavy traffic ahead! Now all we had to do was sit back and enjoy the show!