French architect Emmanuelle Moureaux creates spaces using colors. She moved to Japan in 1996 to live and work there because the culture and architecture of the country inspired her. Moureaux invented the “shikiri” concept which means “to divide space using colors”.

Color as a Spatial Principle

Moureaux dreamed of opening her design studio in Tokyo. This meant she had to learn the language and had to start getting her qualifications all over again, despite having gotten her architectural degree from the University of Bordeaux in 1995. It took her seven years before she could establish her studio, the Emmanuelle Moureaux Architecture & Design, in Tokyo in 2003.

The Tokyo cityscape itself inspired her to use colors to form spaces, which is the creative core of her work. All her projects—whether in art, architecture, or design—has this as a central concept. Today, in all her projects around the world, “shikiri” is her signature. Moureaux believes, “Colors give people energy. They put smiles on people’s faces.”

For her, “Pantone has lots of colors. but not enough for me.” Her process starts with deciding how many colors to use, say from 20 to 100. For the project in Imabari, Japan, known for its dyeing industry, she chose 1000. After deciding how many colors she will use in a project, she then chooses words to describe the project and the concept. The most difficult part, according to Moureaux, is the making of the colors she comes up with in collaboration with a paint or dye factory.

She uses colors not as a decorative element after designing the space but as three dimensional items.

For more about Emmanuelle Moureaux’s projects, visit the Dezeen website.

Color Blocking

Moureaux’s “shikiri” to divide spaces is an involved process especially since she wants to create new colors.

An easier way would be to use color blocking with paint, which is combining two or three colors to make a statement. It is better to use a complementary color scheme (clashing colors) for greater impact. Color blocking is considered at the end of the design process as an embellishment to the space. “Shikiri” and color blocking are totally different processes, but with the latter, you can have the possibility to play with (more) colors in your interiors.

In both methods one thing is clear, you have to be willing to be adventurous about colors.

Boysen Paint Colors

Boysen offers thousands of colors to its customers. Every year, the company adds more with the annual Color Trend. Making new colors with the help of international color experts is a lengthy process starting from the identification of sociocultural trends up to their translation into colors. One has to be attuned to colors to be able to tell them apart, and to come up with a color palette that works.

Once the colors are chosen, the complex process of making paint follows.  What you see in the Boysen Color Trend brochures as well as in the Boysen fan decks are actual paint on paper, and not dye printed on paper. This gives a more accurate sample of the paint color itself.

For more color inspirations, click this link.


Annie is the Managing Editor of Let it B | MyBoysen Blog. An unrepentant workaholic, she runs this blog and her own company Talking Lions ( She thrives on collaborating with people who are good at what they do, and working together with them to create something special. Annie learned interior styling while managing her own wholesale business in the Netherlands, importing high-end, handmade home furnishings to stock four outlets and a showroom in the country.

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