The Colour Real

11 Nov

Architecture in Technicolour

By Sylvia O'Brien

Like a beautiful and precious gift box, this charming bank building contrasts it's purpose. When we think of the financial industry we usually think of serious colours such as grey, or grounding colours such as brown to represent their 'bricks & mortar'. This architect and designer chose to celebrate colour and the result makes the banking experience an enriching one. This is the Sugamo Shinkin Bank in Tokyo. The bank motto is "We take pleasure in serving happy customers".

Architect /designer Emmanuelle Moureaux addressed this motto flawlessly with this multi-coloured, multi-faceted sculptural fa├žade. The simple white box is brought to stunning aesthetic heights with the layers of colour that bring so much to the experience of being there. This is intrepid design. It's unique charm is apparent both in the day and at night.


Emmanuelle Moureaux Sugamo Shinkin Bank


In the interior multiple dandelion 'puffs' images are scattered across walls, bank machines and ceilings in a playful windswept way, embellishing Moureaux's vision. Fourteen different colours collide in the chairs throughout the space. The interior experience is expanded with glass light shafts, or 'airwells', elliptical light shafts bringing the natural light down to the second and first levels. All of these details generate a feeling of connection to nature and fantasy. The overall effect is otherworldly...not what you expect at a bank.


Emmanuelle Moureaux Sugamo Shinkin Bank


This is the third bank building that Moureaux has done for Sugamo Shinkin. She also does retail designs with such forward thinking clients as Issey Miyake. All her buildings and interiors have a masterful use of colour as does everything she conceives. Whether it's architecture, furniture, cubes, sticks, slabs, modular sculptural wire baubles (she calls 'toge' or thorns) or art installations such as the '100 colors' installation of hung paper in a public venue, everything sings with colour and energy.

Back to this lovely example of where I hope architecture is headed, the Sugamo Shinkin Bank...the white ground of the exterior and interior accepts the influence of the clear colours, creating a soft and nurturing experience. So, what is in this gift box? The gift of light and colour and an inspirational experience.


Emmanuelle Moureaux Sugamo Shinkin Bank


Read an earlier article about Emmanuelle Moureaux's work here


This article was contributed by Sylvia O'Brien, Creative Director of Colour Theory, a Toronto (Canada) based commercial colour & design firm.

Her motto is "Colour...get it right the first time ".

She can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or through

Photo credit: Daisuke Shima/Nacasa & Partners

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Color Objects encourages you to get a better eye and appreciation for colors and characters. To get a special selection of pics and info for you, we find designers and artists that make colorful work from all over the world. There's a lot of character in colors, and having a closer look will change your view of the world and people around you. So we share a host of pics and info from design, art, cultures and the natural world. All about colors.

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