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The superpower of paint


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Zolpan’s constant research and development work results in a continuous stream of new and innovative products of which ABYSS is just the latest. “With ABYSS, customers no longer need to choose between appearance and protection; they can have both,” says President Remi Tourmente. “ABYSS is a decorative paint that also offers protection to walls in high humidity areas. It shares the qualities of good coverage and ease of application of our other paints but is also highly resistant to humidity in the air.”

This is important as the elevated levels of moisture in bathrooms and kitchens can result in the degradation of painted surfaces and the plasterboard below and even promote the development of mould. The traditional response to this problem has been to tile walls in close proximity to moisture. ABYSS offers a more flexible alternative.

Zolpan enjoys an extensive portfolio of high-quality paints as well as painting and decorating materials. The company’s paint range covers interior and exterior wall paints; paints for building facades; paints, lacquers and varnishes for wood; paints for metal; waterproofing paints; ceiling paints, and roof paints.

“Whatever the need, we have the paint that suits it,” says Mr. Tourmente. “The range of different paint finishes is just as wide, encompassing matte, gloss, velvet and satin finishes as well as reflective and effect paints.”

However, appearance is just one side of the story at Zolpan. The company has built up an enviable reputation for technical expertise, and it offers a wide range of functional paints. Another relatively new addition to the range provides a good example.

Ondi Pur is a range of paints that have been designed to improve air quality in the home and are able to absorb pollution given off by room furnishings such as curtains, upholstered furniture and cleaning products. A frequently used preservative in many of these products is formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen.

“Ondi Pur paints are capable of eliminating 80% of the formaldehyde in the air of indoor spaces, thereby contributing to a significant improvement in air quality,” says Mr. Tourmente. Ondi Pur paints are available in over 1,000 different shades in washable matte or satin finishes to complement any interior decoration colour scheme.

The range of choice of functional and technical paints is indeed vast and is supplemented by an equally wide array of colour options, which is why Zolpan stresses the need for professional consultation. “The choice of paint is an essential part of the overall design for both the interior and exterior of the building,” says Mr. Tourmente. “We like to think that colours have superpowers. They change the way a space is perceived and have a remarkable effect on our sense of well-being. We help end-users choose a colour scheme that reflects their own personality and is unique to them.”

Of course, trends frequently dictate which colours are in fashion at any given moment. Zolpan ensures that its palette is always kept up to date. The company also helps decrypt the language of colour for its clients to help them choose the perfect colour scheme to enhance the purpose of the space and suit their tastes.

“Certain colours convey warmth while other colours have a cooling effect,” explains Mr. Tourmente. “That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t have both in the same space. We show clients how to break the rules and still achieve harmony.”

Remi Tourmente
We like to think that colours have superpowers. They change the way a space is perceived and have a remarkable effect on our sense of well-being. Remi TourmentePresident

Zolpan started out as a rule breaker. It was founded in 1959 by a group of 20 distributors who wanted to combat paint manufacturers who were cutting out the middleman and selling directly to painters and decorators. The drugstore owners who had until then sold the paints to the trade decided to band together and build their own factory.

The first product appeared under the name Zolpan, which became the name of the company and the brand. Over time, the company grew and became known for its technical expertise. Today, Zolpan has 1,000 employees, 170 points of sale and turnover of 200 million EUR.

Half of Zolpan’s sales are generated from its range of paints with the remainder derived from the sale of complementary products from third party manufacturers. “We supplement our range of paints with third party products which we distribute under the Zolpan brand,” explains Mr. Tourmente. “These include carpeting and floor coverings, wallpaper, plaster, application tools and everything a painter and decorator needs to carry out his work.”

As energy efficiency has become enshrined in building codes amid much greater environmental awareness, Zolpan, too, has moved to add thermal insulation products to its portfolio. Through a network of 26 specialist outlets operating under the EL’iTE brand, Zolpan offers a range of exterior cladding thermal insulation systems and waterproofing products.

“With these products, we help building façade professionals source everything they need from a single supplier,” says Mr. Tourmente. “We are also able to consult on the best system or product combinations to use in a particular situation.”

Zolpan sees itself primarily as a partner to the professional sector, with 80% of its sales to professional painters and decorators. The remaining 20% of sales are to private individuals working on their own projects. Sales are predominantly via Zolpan’s own outlets, but since 2016, it has also sold specially developed products for the retail sector through the Leroy Merlin chain of DIY stores.

“We supply highly technical products that offer superior performance but should be applied by a professional painter and decorator to achieve the best effect,” insists Mr. Tourmente. “Nevertheless, we operate in a saturated market, which is why we must be open to other possibilities. Although the construction industry is once again growing, we have not yet felt the benefit. The painter and decorator is at the end of the value chain, and many of the construction projects responsible for the resurgence in the industry are not yet at that stage.”

For Mr. Tourmente, the transformatory nature of Zolpan’s products is what he enjoys. “A new coat of paint makes anything look better,” he smiles. “Our products change buildings and interior spaces for the better.”

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