As a painter by trade, Peter was always connected to architects, designers and design aficionados through his passion for paint. After he founded Porter’s Paints in 1984, he became even more part of this community as word started to spread. Using traditional paint recipes found in his grandfather’s diaries from the 1930s, Peter was able to create complex and eco-friendly finishes that hadn’t been seen before. As awareness grew about the toxic qualities of many mass-manufactured paints, discerning clients turned to Peter’s creations as a beautiful, healthy and safe alternative.
After selling Porter’s Paints in 2015, Peter took a hiatus from the business of paint. But he’s not one to rest for long. He bought a run-down Masseria with his mate Tony Papas in Puglia, Italy, and moved his family over to live there for a year whilst he did it up. This project gave him an excuse to attend some of the restoration fairs all over Italy. Here, he met some mineral pigment suppliers that got him thinking about something he'd seen back in Sydney…
Looking at a 17th Century Italian painted panel under the microscope, with friend and Head of Paintings Conservation at AGNSW, Paula Dredge, Peter noticed something. The original paints had an organic, jewel-like consistency; whilst the paints used to restore the works were super smooth and flat.
Speaking to the mineral pigment suppliers in Europe, he realised these were the same materials used in those centuries-old works. Learning more about the qualities of the pigments, their naturally occurring sources, minimal need for processing and the unmistakable effect they create, Peter became fascinated. The seed for Peter Lewis Paints was planted.
PLP is a return to Peter’s original dedication to environmentally conscious paints. Globally sourced natural pigments are processed in Sydney using a traditional triple-roller mill (nicknamed ‘Fred’ for his grandfather, Fred Porter). Thanks to their rich, organic chemical makeup, minimal intervention is required — just simple mixing with a few plant-based oils and water.
Now, Peter is excited to share the unique beauty, depth and safety of these traditional materials and processes with the ESD (Environmentally Sustainable Design) community. In a context of increasing climate concerns and awareness of the harmful effects of toxic materials, Peter is again committed to delivering quality alternatives. He hopes to provide design professionals with the tools and inspiration they need for their projects, with a range that embodies the values of planet, health, beauty and quality.