Beauty of discoloration

rENs searching for participants

Kazerne Lab

In the Kazerne Lab, professional creatives work with different economic sectors in collaborative crossovers which can spark the inspiration for products which respond to current issues.
Colours are affected by daylight and sunlight. The colour red is particularly susceptible, and car manufacturers struggle constantly with the fact that not a single car will stay looking as red as it does in the showroom. But how serious a problem is it really if the colour of a car fades? The research project Beauty of discolouration by rENs, reveals the process of weathering in our status symbols, putting our idealisation of bright and shiny things into perspective. The project takes a sideways look at subjects such as mass consumption and plastic surgery, and shows us how beautiful natural ‘damage’ can sometimes be.

Renee Mennen and Stefanie van Keijsteren, together rENs, started the project with a research of the discoloration of different shades of red. Within Kazerne Lab, they specifically researched the discoloration caused by daylight. They experimented by exposing several materials for shorter or longer periods to the weather influences. This resulted in a beautiful patchwork of discolored and non-discolored materials, questioning whether the original or the older color is more beautiful. This way, the desire to contact the paint and car industry came into being.

Conversations with a color designer and a technical advisor for construction paints immediately pointed out that this were to be a tricky topic. Technical questions were not pursued. The responses from designers in the automotive industries were directly negative. Both the paint as car industries are focused on the fact that auto primer does not discolor. Investments in this goal have been made for many years. They were not sensitive to arguments that we live in a world where vintage and so called worn out jeans are brimming.


Contribute to change the representation of sustainable colors, materials and finishes? E-mail your details to We will get into contact about the possibilities as soon as possible.

Kazerne Social Design Lab

Thanks to the support of the DOEN Foundation, artists, designers and other creatives will be working on crossover initiatives to discover new solutions for societal issues. Taking a fresh look from a different angle, they will approach current social, cultural and economic issues with the inspiration and new perspectives required to find innovative solutions. This may sound rather high-flown, but it is in fact an extremely practical process.


Renee Mennen en Stefanie van Keijsteren


Ruud Balk Photography
Dekkers Communicatie


Stichting DOEN