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Colour & Materials
Published: 12 Feb 2016

Thermochromic Leather & Flowers

Thermochromic effects applied to leather and flowers

Innovative applications of thermochromic dyes – which change colour with heat – are pushing the technique into new areas, as seen in two recent explorations involving leather and flowers.

  • Dutch tannery Ecco Leather's new Kromatafor tanning process creates dynamic, colour-shifting leather. When exposed to heat, the temperature-sensitive surface morphs into bold colour. Unlike other colour-changing leathers, which involve surface-only prismatic laminates or painted-on finishes, Kromatafor is tanned directly onto the hide itself. This innovation will allow for a wide range of applications spanning fashion apparel, sportswear, footwear, accessories, interiors, industrial design and surface design. 

  • Meanwhile, British culinary architects Bompas & Parr have joined forces with French Champagne producer Perrier-Jouët for a London pop-up in time for Valentine's Day. Held as a series of floristry workshops at the London Edition hotel from February 11-14, Fleurs des Rêves features flowers painted with thermochromic ink, allowing the petals and leaves to alter in hue as the temperature fluctuates. 
    The first variety is treated with a liquid crystal dye that transitions at 27C from deep satin black to dark green. The second features a black thermochromic dye that transforms at 31C. It's sprayed with Bompas & Parr's perfumed elixir and ignited, revealing the flowers' original pigment as they change colour in the heat. This unusual application provides surprising transformative effects that can elevate the sensory experience – particularly for decorative table settings, where flowers are often a centrepiece. See also Valentine's Strategies 2016: Digital & Experiential.

For more on the intriguing qualities of thermochromic ink, see Phase-Changing Colour, Responsive Pigments, Under the Radar and Interacket: Chameleon Jacket.

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