How a Trip to Tokyo Inspired Emmanuelle Moureaux’s Design Philosophy

Architect, artist, and designer Emmanuelle Moureaux isn’t one to shy away from color. In fact, she embraces all the colors of the rainbow, using colors as three-dimensional elements that create spaces, rather than treating them as a finishing touch applied on surfaces.

Born in 1971, France, it was a week-long trip to Tokyo in 1995, as an architectural student, that first sparked Moureaux’s passion for color. “I say I discovered color with the city of Tokyo,” she further explained in an interview with Design Boom. “When I was in France, I was not conscious at all about color, “she relays. “Tokyo gave me this passion. I think in Europe, and in Japan too, in the field of architecture or interior design, color is often considered as a minor element, like a finishing touch. Usually, architects decide colors at the end of the design process. for example, when the space is created they have to choose the colors of the walls and floor, so it is like a finish.”

Now based in Tokyo, where she established herself as an architecture, Moureaux has created the concept of shikiri, meaning “dividing (creating) space with colors”. “‘Shikiri’ is a Japanese word which means partition or screen,” adds Moureaux. “For example, it is used to define the traditional Japanese sliding paper screen. I was very interested in the traditional shikiri partition because it is a very beautiful element in Japanese architecture.”

According to Moureaux, shikiri structures the space, but in a flexible way. Unlike a wall, you can feel who or what is on the other side of shikiri. “I decided to extract the essence of shikiri, and express it in a more contemporary way,” she notes. “That was the start of my shikiri concept.”

Her representative works include the architectural design for Sugamo Shinkin Bank, “100 colors” art installation series, space design for ABC Cooking Studio, art installations for UNIQLO and ISSEY MIYAKE, and stick chair. Follow her installations and other projects through her Instagram page.