5 minute read.

Magic-Paint™ is a very special innovation. The finish looks like a regular paint or powder coating, but is based on 100% natural pigments in a cellulose and mineral binder. Which basically means it's made from wood and clay 🪴.



It’s VOC-free, plastic-free and environmentally benign, which makes it especially relevant for  people working to BREEAM, WELL, LEED or SKA certification.

❌ No harmful chemistry

❌ No microplastics

We developed Magic-Paint™ for designers who need sustainable lighting AND a conventional looking surface finish / colour. It's good for low-wear, interior projects, but not suitable for high-humidity or applications that require high levels of handling or cleaning. Stone-Rumbled , which has an even smaller environmental footprint, is our high-durability option.

Closed-loop Circular Economy:

The natural ingredients in Magic-Paint™ have revolutionary technical characteristics

✔️ Removal is easy, inexpensive, energy efficient
✔️ No extra chemicals or heat required
✔️ All material and processes are benign for humans and the environment
✔️ No limit to the number of times it can be removed / reapplied

It’s a cornerstone of our closed-loop Circular Economy program, which means Factorylux Magic-Paint™ products can be returned to our own factory to be disassembled and reprocessed into 'new' components.

Connecting manufacturers directly to their own waste is a simple idea. Magic-Paint™ is part of how we can do it so efficiently.




What’s so bad about regular paint and power coatings?

Paint is everywhere, it’s easy to not think about it at all. Wood, metal, concrete and most other substrates in the built environment tend to be painted. It’s so common, things that are not painted look and feel a bit naked. From walls and ceilings to appliances and furniture, the application of surface colour is an aesthetic habit that became a trillion dollar concern.



Take a look at paint labels in your local DIY store. You'll likely see a dizzying cocktail of chemicals and health warnings, but these are mild compared to the industrial paints and powder coatings used by most lighting manufacturers. These are even more poisonous, more carcinogenic, more linked to serious neurological conditions and more harmful to the environment.


Warning label that isocyanates in paint are the biggest cause of workplace asthma

Isocyanates, for example, are used to produce the polyurethane polymers (liquid plastic) in industrial coatings. They’re also the single biggest source of UK work-place asthma, affecting thousands of technicians a year in the UK alone.

The upsides of these chemicals are huge. Better adhesion, durability, resistance to abrasion and temperature, deep rich colours, glossy finishes, faster curing times. Of course there’s a case for using them on materials where oxidisation is a problem (such as rust on exterior iron and steel) but using them on interior manufactured products (such as architectural lighting) is unnecessary at best and criminally short-sighted at worst.

Ingredients found in industrial paint & powder coatings:

acetone, ammonia, antimony, arsenic, benzene, borates, cadmium, carbamates, cerium, cobalt, copper, ePa + latex, ethyl acetate, formaldehyde, glycols, lead, manganese, mercury, methylene chloride, nickel, phenol, quaternary ammonium compounds, toluene, trimellitic anhydride, triglycidyl isocyanates, xylene, zirconium.

Effects they are known to cause in humans:

allergies, anemia, asthma, bone marrow damage, cancer, cardiovascular disease, colour vision loss, confusion, death, dermatitis, excessive bleeding, fatigue, headaches, heart complications, impaired immune system, impaired memory, irregular menstrual periods, irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, leukemia, light- headedness, loss of appetite, lung cancer, lung disease, memory loss, nausea, organ damage including ovaries, skin allergy, sleepiness, tiredness, unconsciousness, visual disorders, vomiting, weakness, hearing loss.

Whole product lifecycle

This toxic chemistry can affect anyone who comes into contact during the whole product lifecycle, not just workers who apply it at the beginning.

VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) are used to transfer pigments onto a surface because they dry more quickly than water. They're carbon-based chemicals that easily evaporate into the air at room temperature, even long after a light fitting has been installed.

When VOCs evaporate, the chemicals are released (‘off-gassing’ or ‘out-gassing’) which can be inhaled. You’ll know about VOC’s and their relationship with end-users if you've worked on projects using next-generation building codes like BREEAM, WELL, LEED and SKA.

The chemistry is scary, but not a surprise - most people think about it on some level, often when applying or removing paint for a DIY project. Harmful coatings are an uncomfortable truth living in plain sight. 

What’s less well known is that regular coatings are also terrible for the environment, for example, they’re so ubiquitous and contain such high quantities of the wrong kinds of plastics that Swiss scientists [1] have highlighted their potential as the single biggest source of ocean microplastics.

End of life

End of life products will invariably show signs of general wear, tear, UV discolouration and so on, coated products are a composite or multi-material. This is the nemesis of closed loop reuse because it usually means the value of the product is reduced to less than zero - the cost of reprocessing is more than the cost making a completely new version.

Paint removal

If you've ever tried this, you know the reality - paint is designed to be difficult or impossible to remove. Even when it can be, any material removed, plus what's used to remove it (eg. paint stripper) also has to be disposed. Paint manufacturers don’t want it back (not least because they know what's in it). This is why landfill and incineration are such a common outcome.

Like all physical matter on Planet Earth, used paint can't 'disappear', it can only either remain itself, or become something else. At the end of any process, paint will enter the environment by leaching into the earth, ocean atmosphere in the form of gas, liquid or solids. It really is that simple (and grim).

For example, coatings on products that are processed through 'open loop' recycling, such as WEEE in the UK / EU are released as 'dross' - solid waste within molten metal or smoke gas, as high-value, easy to extract metals such as aluminium are recovered.


‘Second user’ programmes offer an alternative to landfill (such as our ‘Worn Lighting’ for pre-Magic-Paint™ Factorylux products). They're good and important but they’re not closed-loop Circular Economy because they're not viable at scale and they're not infinitely repeatable.

“Everything else is designed for you to throw away
when you are finished with it. But where is 'away'?
Of course, 'away' does not really exist.
'Away' has gone away.”

― Michael Braungart, co-author of
Cradle to Cradle, Remaking the Way We Make Things



Closed-loop Circular Economy

Fixing the human / chemistry aspect by using  Magic-Paint™ opens up the exciting possibility of the first ever reuse closed-loop for lighting.

It’s easy to remove and what is removed is environmentally benign.

How does Magic-Paint™ work?

Magic-Paint™ is a three stage system:

1 - Surface preparation

Getting Magic-Paint™ to form a durable bond with a substrate requires meticulous preparation. Surfaces are blasted with natural media (aluminium oxide) in a stream of compressed air. The microscopically pitted surface is then cleaned with alcohol. The process is infinitely repeatable. All waste produced is natural and non-toxic.

2 - Application

Components are fixed to a highly controllable turntable with holding jigs. The object is rotated at a relatively low speed. Multiple fine layers of a liquid Magic-Paint™ 'mist' are applied using a HVLP (High Volume Low Pressure) system (similar to what you see in a vehicle body shop) moving on up/down or left/right axis.

3 - Curing

Once all the paint layers have been applied, the surface is fully cured which, due to the natural ingredients, can take up to two weeks. ‘Cross cut’ and ‘scrape / pull-off’ tests are used to measure the adhesion and durability of cured Magic-Paint™.

What does Magic-Paint™ replace?

We invested 10 years researching and testing more or less every possible surface finish from powder coating and regular paints, right through to electroplates, electrophoretics, microplasma oxidation and even carbon nanotubes. Magic-Paint™ outperforms all of them on closed-loop Circular Economy, that's why we call it magic.


The future

Developing the technology needed to deliver closed-loop Circular Economy is achievable. Magic-Paint™ is not really magic, it’s just a better, more equitable compromise between the immovable limitations of science.

Changing perceptions is more difficult. Regular paint and powder coatings are engrained as a quick, easy, cheap route to surface perfection, but they’re based on false accounting. In reality, a high percentage of the work and cost is back loaded on whoever has to unpick this toxic baggage at product end-of-life.

Government regulation is the only way to ensure Circular Economy issues are addressed at start of the product life cycle, not the end. Without regulation, the trade-off between current convenience versus future cost will lead manufacturers to bad choices.




Our stories:


1 - About us 

  • How we got started.

2 - Closed-loop Circular Economy

  • The how and why of our manufacturing methodology.

3 - Stone-Rumbled™

  • The most sustainable surface finish ever - explained.

4 - Make-Unmake™

  • Mono-materials are what make a closed-loop possible.

5 - Magic-Packaging™

  • Measure everything that leaves a factory, not just the product.

6 - Magic-Paint™ (you are here!)

  • Don't read this if you want to continue using regular paint.

7 - Factorylux Mission

  • Why we exist. Where we are going.