The British Architectural Library
Drawings Collection
Heinz Gallery
21 Portman Square, London W1H9HF
Curator: Jill Lever
March 4 - April 7 1993

Henri Ciriani's exhibit

I am not a black and white drawing architect.
Even if colour is not central to my work it is "indispensable". It is always present in all stages of the working process.
Once I started having some assurance about my architecture, colour, which until then was applied "on" surfaces, began to interest me as an identifying code* for circulation systems for example, or as a possibility of "paying back" the debt we architects owe towards the avant-garde artists of our century by using colour "in" space.
The five drawings from Péronne's working process will explain maybe better than words the "place" of colour in my work:
N°1 - Street entrance
Here colour is the colour of materials: brick, white concrete, grey stone, glass and marble. In the process this is the moment for subdued relationships. Importance of a realistic approach.

N°2 - Entrance, first project
Colour used in order to identify an activity.
It also has the responsibility of covering a certain area. The use of opposites (green/black) to detach the form givers from the enveloping surfaces also allows for testing the potential of this built-in furniture of becoming more important by attaining the status of an artistic work equalling it with the more permanent elements of the building.

N°3 - Entrance, definitive solution
The primary colours of the lift are the same as the lift in drawing #5. It wished to convey the idea of metal machines, as artistic as the first robots...

N°4 - Hall, first project
Colour is not the real colour. It is just a working device: giving volume to a plane.

N°5 - Hall, second project
Through colour we are trying to give the space a more lively feeling in order to contrast with the more spiritual monochromatic museum spaces. Colour here is spread around the lift. We tried to suggest the playful images of flag messages from ships at sea as our mind recalls them from films of the First World War, albeit excluding a childish approach to coloured forms.

Henri Ciriani
Paris, February 1993

* These notes do not refer to my work in housing where colour accomplishes very functional tasks such as framing, differentiating layers, distinguishing the thickness in walls, blending into the sky, warming up, preventing dust, marrying incompatible woods, illuminating, etc.

South façade

Entrance upper level

Lift lower level

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