French Architect Divides Space Using Colors

French architect Emmanuelle Moureaux uses colors as three-dimensional elements, like layers, in order to create spaces, rather than a finishing touch applied on surfaces. She calls this unique concept “shikiri” – a made-up word that literally means “to divide space using colors.”

Based in Tokyo, Moureaux’s work was inspired by the layers and colors of Tokyo that built a complex depth and density on the street, as well as the Japanese traditional spatial elements like sliding screens. Handling colors as a medium to compose space, her wish is to evoke emotion through colors, with her creations ranging from art and design to architecture.

“In 1995, a week-long trip to Tokyo as an architectural student gave me the passion for colors,” she writes on her website. “An overwhelming number of store signs, flying electrical cables, and the fragments of blue sky between various volumes of buildings – it was the flow of staggering colors pervading the street that built a complex depth and density, creating three-dimensional layers in the city of Tokyo. I felt a lot of emotions seeing all these colors, and in that very moment, I decided to move to this city.”

“Inspired by the traditional Japanese spatial elements like the sliding screens, I began my exploration of ‘surface’ shikiri, gradually developing into thinner colors – ‘line’ shikiri,” she explains. Her exploration of the form of color through surface and lines ranges in scale, from a small art piece to architecture.

“I want to give emotion through colors,” she stressed, “whether it is architecture or an art piece. Through my creation, I want people to see colors, touch colors, and feel colors with their senses. The overflowing effects of colors in space will show that colors can give more than a space, but a space with additional layers of human emotion.”