Get up close and personal with the brightest colour ever created at Kew Gardens’ Naturally Brilliant Colour exhibition this summer.      

From the shimmering teal wings of the blue morpho butterfly to the electric orange feet of the red-eyed tree frog, the natural world is home to a wide array of brilliant colours.

And while many of these colours have since been reproduced by humans, used to adorn ourselves and the world around us, there’s one type of natural colour which even the smartest minds have been unable to recreate. Until now.  

The so-called ‘structural colour’, which previously only existed on some plants and animals (such as butterflies and hummingbirds) whose surface layers contain special reflective microscopic structures, has been reproduced artificially using new, cutting-edge technology from researchers at Lifescaped.  

Called Pure Structural Colour, it’s officially the brightest colour that exists in the world – and in Naturally Brilliant Colour, an upcoming exhibition at London’s Kew Gardens, it’ll go on display for the very first time.

The exhibition, which offers visitors the chance to “experience colour like never before,” will feature a series of artworks made with Pure Structural Colour, including a giant kaleidoscope and the first botanical artwork to use the technology to accurately reproduce the brightest colours seen in the wild, courtesy of artist Coral G Guest.  

An example of Pure Structural Colour in yellow, applied to silicone rubber.

Based in Kew’s Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art, the exhibition will also explore the role of colour in the natural world, and how artists have depicted the brightest shades through the ages, as well as giving visitors an insight into how this new technology could be used in the future.

Indeed, as Kew’s description of the exhibition reads: “On display for the very first time at our spectacular show, these stunning, jewel-like shades have never been recreated by humans before – until now.” 

It continues: “Get a taste for how it could be used in the world of fashion and art and get a sneak peek at prototype accessories coated with the new form of colour.” 

The best bit? If you’re interested in going along to see Pure Structural Colour in all its glory, you won’t need to pay extra to see the exhibit, as it’s included with entry to the main Kew Gardens. All you need to do is book a time slot for your visit online.  

Naturally Brilliant Colour will run from Monday 17 May to Sunday 26 September 2021. You can find out more about the exhibition on Kew’s website.  

Images: Lifescaped/Kew Gardens

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