Architecting Color: Emmanuelle Moureaux

© Emmanuelle Moureaux

This week we want to introduce you to a fantastic architect with a commitment to color. Emmanuelle Moureaux, a French native living and working in Tokyo since 1996, is an architect and designer with a passion for color. Her work takes color seriously as an integral part of spaces and buildings not as an  after thought.

The driving ethos of her studio is shikiri, a made-up word meaning “to divide space using colors.” Her goal is to use color to deepen and enrich simple spaces, to “use colors as three-dimensional elements, like layers, in order to create spaces, not as a finishing touch applied to surfaces.”

© Emmanuelle Moureaux

Her intimate understanding of color is clear in her work, like this project the Kyoto University Hospital Clinical Research Center. Using color combinations the resemble landscapes she brings soothing natural influences to a space that might otherwise be teeming with stress or fear, neither of which contribute to good healing outcomes for patients. Her use of color is not limited to bright saturated colors as neutrals also feature prominently in her designs. 

This calming yet professional exam room is a great example of the power of white and neutrals paired with one dot of color. The warm beige, blonde wood, and white stripes extract this medical setting from the realm of the clinical and make it instead a  gentle, welcoming space.

© Emmanuelle Moureaux

Moureaux’s latest project was a colorful space for this years Shinjuku Creators Festa in Japan.  The project was inspired by the  traditional Japanese sliding screen

© Daisuke Shima / Nacasa & Partners

Dividing space in architecture often focuses on slicing vertically using walls, dividers, and pathways, but here Moureaux counter-intuitively enlivens the space by bringing the ceiling down to head height. Her dividing of the space applied horizontally compresses the open air to a sliver of space along the floor. The experience is cave like but offers a rippling growth of color overhead. Her work is a rich exploration of the importance of integrating color directly with shape in architectural environments and a real treat for all  of us who love color.

4 thoughts on “Architecting Color: Emmanuelle Moureaux

  1. The hospital rooms are awesome! Patterns, lines and especially color, are so visually distracting in a way as to take the stress off where you are, and has instead, for me, been SO distracting that my attention is more focused on the beautiful natural order of the room. Intensely different from any exam room I've ever been in. A welcome change and natural progression to a more intuitive healing process.

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