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Blackest is the new black

From BlackWhite magazine - issue 05, picks + tricks

New Resene Blackest Black crowned the company's darkest colour offering yet.

A lounge painted in new Resene Blackest Black

Resene Blackest Black is ideal for a media room, as it is jetter and thus absorbs more light than other colours. Wall painted in Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen tinted to Resene Blackest Black, floor in Resene Stepping Stone, cabinet in Resene Lustacryl tinted to Resene Nero, large vase in Resene Element, small vase in Resene Foundry and wood board in Resene Blackest Black. Chair from Matisse, rug from Baya, Frame television from Samsung.

Colour theory is an amazing thing, full of brain twisting facts. For example, we talk a lot about the effects that light has on colour, but colour itself is reflected light. And since the colours we see are actually missing the light waves of the hue we think we’re looking at, this means that what we collectively call ‘black’ is actually the absence of all colours – though not completely, at least in the world of paint.

Resene Group Technical Manager Mike Clowes says a paint colour can only be classified as black if it reflects less than 1% of incident light. Recently, he and his team formulated an even blacker black than Resene Black, the colour that specifiers would previously turn to when only the darkest would do. As it turns out, shaving down that last percentage is a very tricky thing.

“Blackness and light reflection are inversely proportional. The lesser the light reflection from an object, the blacker it is,” explains Mike. “Since black pigment is the key component of a black paint colour, a range of parameters such as its particle size, concentration, surface functionalities and stabilisation influence the jetness of the black colour it generates.

“Finer black pigment particles usually exhibit higher jetness. So, it was crucial to bring the particle size down to the smallest possible level and stabilise it without it getting re-agglomerated. We were able to optimise all these key factors to create Resene Blackest Black, which is much jetter than Resene Black. Viewed side by side against conventional black finishes, it’s amazing how Resene Blackest Black has so much depth and impact.”

Mike says that new products and developments, including the Resene Blackest Black project, are typically the result of a market need or gap. Resene has a long history of responding directly to trade and specifier needs. The decision for the company to begin producing the expanded British Standard colours (also known as BS2660) was driven by a request from an architect, David Launder, who had recently returned from the UK and brought the colour chart to Tony Nightingale – who was Resene’s Managing Director at the time. David asked if the company could replicate some of the stronger colours, but Tony decided they’d do them all.

“Even if the need is small, Resene’s sales and marketing teams may recognise an idea as having potential,” says Mike. “Or, as was the case with our Resene Blackest Black technology – which, in this case is pigment technology – it was developed and made available by a raw material supplier. It then becomes our role to identify the potential and progress from there.

“We are always on the lookout for new colour pigments that will either allow us to move into new colour space or pigments that offer additional benefits. Resene CoolColour technology is a very good example of this approach.”

For those keen to try Resene Blackest Black on an upcoming project, the colour is initially available in Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen, which was used to make the Blackest Black colour card. Mike says it is likely to be trialled in Resene Waterborne Super Gloss hybrid waterborne alkyd (which is formulated using novel waterborne alkyd technology) over the coming months to expand the substrates the colour can be applied to.

Black Resene swatches

When compared with other popular and familiar Resene blacks, it’s easy to see the jetness of Resene Blackest Black.

Background and board in Resene Blackest Black with Resene A4 drawdown paint swatches in (from left to right) Resene Nero, Resene Element and Resene Foundry and vases in Resene Element (bottom) and Resene Foundry (right).

Making Resene Blackest Black a higher sheen finish

Resene Blackest Black is initially available in Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen, but if you would like it in a higher sheen finish, simply topcoat it in Resene Concrete Clear in your choice of sheen.

Background and small board in Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen tinted to Resene Blackest Black. Cups, bowls and small pot all in Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen tinted to Resene Blackest Black then topcoated with Resene Concrete Clear gloss. Projects by Amber Armitage, images by Melanie Jenkins.

Until then, the colour can be topcoated in Resene Concrete Clear satin or gloss for those seeking a different sheen. Initially, interior applications that will really benefit from the colour’s depth, such as windowless theatres and cinemas, are the ideal place to specify it. Feature walls and stable surfaces like steel and concrete are other options, however it is not recommended to be used on surfaces that could warp, such as fences. If a surface such as a wooden front door is fully sheltered from the sun then Resene Blackest Black in an exterior hybrid waterborne alkyd finish can make a stunning statement.

top tip Resene Blackest Black is available in Resene A4 drawdown paint swatches. Order swatches online at

Resene Stepping Stone

Resene Blackest Black

Projects: Amber Armitage
Images: Melanie Jenkins


BlackWhite magazine

This is a magazine created for the industry, by the industry and with the industry – and a publication like this is only possible because of New Zealand and Australia's remarkably talented and loyal Resene specifiers and users.

If you have a project finished in Resene paints, wood stains or coatings, whether it is strikingly colourful, beautifully tonal, a haven of natural stained and clear finishes, wonderfully unique or anything in between, we'd love to see it and have the opportunity to showcase it. Submit your projects online or email You're welcome to share as many projects as you would like, whenever it suits. We look forward to seeing what you've been busy creating.

Earn CPD reading this magazine – If you're a specifier, earn ADNZ or NZRAB CPD points by reading BlackWhite magazine. Once you've read an issue request your CPD points via the CPD portal for ADNZ (for NZ architectural designers) or NZRAB (for NZ architects).

Return to BlackWhite, issue 05


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Colours shown on this website are a representation only. Please refer to the actual paint or product sample. Resene colour charts, testpots and samples are available for ordering online.   See measurements/conversions for more details on how electronic colour values are achieved.

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