Architect, artist, and designer Emmanuelle Moureaux has marveled the world with her sweeping colorful installations. On her latest endeavor, the Tokyo-based French architect collaborated with Lancôme to turn Shanghai's CSSC Pavilion into a dreamscape. With thousands of butterflies in every hue imaginable, Moureaux offers an abstract representation of beauty and eternity.
Titled 100 colors no.48 “100 colors butterflies,” this installation is part of a series Moureaux has been working on since 2013. The 100 colors installation series has seen her work with different shapes—like numbers, flowers, and Japanese characters—to convey a variety of messages in a rainbow display. “In the ‘100 color' series, I explore the ‘form of color,’ depending on the environment and concept, to maximize the beauty of colors,” the artist tells My Modern Met.
Despite having worked on this series for over 10 years, Moureaux says that each time is a new emotional experience. “In ‘100 colors,' colors are explored in various forms depending on the environment, to maximize the beauty of colors,” the artist shares. “‘For me, color is a medium to create space and emotion. So each time, I feel stronger that I have to continue this project all over the world in order for people to experience it.”
For this piece, Lancôme contacted Moureaux to create an installation for The Art of Absolue exhibition in Shanghai. Working under the theme of “Perpetual, Beyond Time,” the architect found inspiration in the symbolic meaning of butterflies. Swirling in the air, they delicately flutter in the sky.
For all the airiness of the piece, a lot of work takes into bringing such a monumental installation to life. “All my installations require a lot of time, approximately one year, from concept development to production,” Moureaux says. “When I start a project, I first decide the number of colors I will use (100 colors no.48 is part of my ‘100 colors’ series so one hundred colors).” At the same time, she sketches and writes to outline the idea.
“When the concept is decided, we create in my studio a lot of real scale models to study the best size of one module, the best distance between each module, to feel the design with all senses. Then, we make drawings for production.” Since everything is handmade, it requires the participation of a lot of people.
Ultimately, the result is a breathtaking installation that encourages the viewer to take in the beauty of both the big picture and the small details that make it up. To stay up to date with Moureaux, you can follow her on Instagram.