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museum of decorative Arts and Design

musée des Arts décoratifs

et du Design de Bordeaux

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39 rue Bouffard,

33000 Bordeaux

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Oh couleurs !

Design through the lens of colour

from 29.06.2017
to 03.12.2017

The Musée des Arts décoratifs et du Design (museum of Decorative Arts and Design) is organizing an exhibition about the links between colour and design, to be held between 29 June and 5 November 2017

In the hôtel de Lalande, which houses the Musée des Arts décoratifs et du Design, colour is everywhere, from the green and gold wood paneling of the Salon de Gascq to the yellow woodwork of the Chambre jonquille. It is this highly colourful identity that has given rise to the exhibition’s theme.

While historians of design have shown a preference for questions associated with form, manufacture, materials and new technologies, few of them have been dealing with colour. Yet colour has a direct influence on our perception of objects and the way we interact with them. Colour is also part and parcel of the definition of periods and styles. All so many aspects which visitors will be able to discover here through examples taken from the history of objects and design: Tupperware colours; the place of colour in the work of the designer Verner Panton; and the little known role of the decorator Paule Marrot for the Renault automobile company. The exhibition also features objects with a history either forgotten or unknown by the Western public, like these Japanese boro, popular clothing made of assembled pieces of fabrics, then traditionally dyed with indigo.

If the subject of colour is often dismissed by design historians, this is because it remains difficult to grasp. Colour does not exist per se, it is only perceptible in light, and it varies depending on its quantity, the surface receiving it, and the eye looking at it.

So nothing definitive can be said about colour. The aim of this exhibition is thus to question colour from different angles and viewpoints, particularly by giving the floor to experts in the fields of design, fashion, industry and sociology.

Designed by Pierre Charpin (designer of the year 2017, M&O Paris), the exhibition is held in an outstanding venue, the former municipal prison on “Rue Boulan”, located behind the museum and built in the 19th century by the City of Bordeaux for the police departments then occupying the hôtel de Lalande. Turned into a storage area for the museum’s reserves in the 1980s, it was then emptied of all those works in order to open its doors to the public in September 2016.

Oh couleurs ! is the first exhibition to be presented in this atypical place.

View of the exhibition
© Pierre Antoine

Opening: Wednesday 28 June at 7 pm

Practical information: Opening hours, prices, guided tour



View of the exhibition, Josef Albers, Interaction of Color, 1963
 - madd-bordeaux - J.C. Garcia
View of a workshop based on Josef Albers's teachings<br/> &copy;  Fondation Josef & Anni Albers
View of a workshop based on Josef Albers's teachings
© Fondation Josef & Anni Albers


• Within the exhibition, an area will be devoted to Josef Albers’ research into colour:

Josef Albers’ book Interaction of Color is a quintessential work. Published in 1963, it is still a reference for artists, scholars and professionals working in art, design and architecture.

Written as a method for studying and teaching colour, it proposes a series of exercises designed to improve the way we understand colours, with the help of samples of coloured paper.

- Workshops for children and parents will help to share Albers’ teaching, by experimenting with the relativity of colours using cut up coloured paper.

- The Interaction of Color digital application created by the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation is available to the public. It enables people to be initiated in the colour theories developed by Albers by way of interactive didactic pictures, video archives, and the words of artists and designers.

• Digital application «madd Dauphine AR» - download for freeThis digital application AR, created for the exhibition, allows you to play with the « Dauphine », the famous French

car model. It is linked with the space dedicated to Paule Marrot’s chromatic research undertaken for Renault.

WORKSHOPS KIDS / During holidays

More information and reservation : +33(0)5 56 10 14 05 / artdeco.publics[at]mairie-bordeaux

WORKSHOPS KIDS / During summer

• Opening Oh couleurs ! for the museum’s young friends club

28 june at 4 pm

The children have the possibility to preview the exhibition with the designer Pierre Charpin and to try out the workshop l’Illusion des couleurs.

Only for the 6-12 years old members of the Team junior du madd (admission fee : 10€ / year).*

• Workshop Je t’écris du musée

10 july and 28 august, 2 -4 pm

The children can get inspired by their visit of the museum in order to decorate, to write and to send a postcard to their families.

Free admission for the members of the Team junior du madd, 5€ for the others (admission fee : 10€ / year).*

• Workshop Les couleurs de Bordeaux

12 july and 30 august, 2 -4 pm

The children can get inspired by the works of the artist Irma Boom. They can make their own wallpaper with the colors of Bordeaux.

Free admission for the members of the Team junior du madd, 5€ for the others (admission fee : 10€ / year).*

• Workshop L’illusion des couleurs

13 july and 31 august, 2 -4 pm

After their visit of the exhibition Oh couleurs !, the children can discover the study of color theory by Josef Albers and understand its properties and its optical effects.

Free admission for the members of the Team junior du madd, 5€ for the others (admission fee : 10€ / year).*

Summer camps

• La magie des couleurs

6-12 y-o • free admission

The color surrounds us, but in the same time, it is unseizable. The museum offers the children an opportunity to chase the color in the exhibition : one day the red, another day the green, the purple or the yellow one...!

Afterwards they can try out an opical illusion workshop and even savour a ... colored snack!

• L’attrap’ couleurs

3-5 y-o • free admission

The childrencan enjoy a guide visit of the exhibition Oh couleurs !, a coloring workshop and a little snack. What if the objects had lost their colors ? The museum’s young friends have to find and to put them in their little log books.*

*Reservation : +33(0)5 56 10 14 05 / artdeco.publics[at]mairie-bordeaux

Pop-up store Oh couleurs ! with a large selection of objects and publications - Until the 10th of september 2017.

Nike, Blazer Mid Iridescent Collector<br/> &copy;  madd-bordeaux - M. Delanne
Nike, Blazer Mid Iridescent Collector
© madd-bordeaux - M. Delanne

GUIDED TOURS (groups or individuals) in English on demand.

Guide booklet in English and French and for kids

Guided tours of the exhibition from the 4th of september

Saturdays and Sundays at 3 pm

Price : museum ticket + 3€

Without registration

Guide tours during summer

•Tea time at the madd during summer

1st july - 31st august

Guided tour everyday at 3 pm, except on Tuesday, followed by an invitation to the café madd in the courtyard of the museum (10€/reduced 7€).

Space limited / registration recommended*

• Guided tour of the exhibition during summer

1st july - 31st august

Guided tour everyday at 3 pm, except on Tuesday, for individuals, or on demand for groups.


everyday at 3 pm, except on Tuesday

Free admisison with the museum ticket

Space limited / registration recommended*


On demand, > 10 people (only on weekdays)

Price : 50€ + 3€ / 

*registration : 05 56 10 14 05 / artdeco.publics[at]


• The Windows Oh Colours! Design through the Lens of Colour

at the Galeries Lafayette, by the designer Ionna Vautrin

From 5 to 31 july, the designer Ionna Vautrin is using two Galeries Lafayette windows to present the Zoo collection, made by Kvadrat in 2012 and produced by Elements Optimal in 2016.

Galeries Lafayette are located in the heart of numerous French cities. They are involved in the public space and organize various meetings with artists.

Carnaval Animal : a workshop for children about the work of Ionna Vautrin at the Galeries Lafayette

(3rd floor, saturday 8 july, 4-6 pm)

Registration : +33(0)5 56 90 92 71 / marketingbordeaux[at]


- La Maison Frugès—Le Corbusier, at Pessac, 
is presenting a selection of archival documents associated with colour, exhibited around the large model of La Cité Frugès made by Henry and Christiane Frugès in 1967.

Maison Frugès - Le Corbusier, 4 rue Le Corbusier - Pessac. Open from Wednesday to Saturday from 10 am to 1 pm and from 2 to 7 pm; Sundays from 2 to 7 pm. For further information please call +33(0)5 57 93 65 40, or email


- The colours of Bordeaux:

Architecture : 
a circuit prepared by Bordeaux Patrimoine Mondial, Centre d’Interprétation de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine, with visits and workshops on offer from September onward around the colours of the City of Bordeaux’s architecture.

Promenade colorée : a circuit developed by the Office de Tourisme et des Congrès of Bordeaux Métropole. For further information please call: +33(0)5 56 00 66 00

Catalogue Oh couleurs !<br/>
Catalogue Oh couleurs !

Curator of the exhibition

Constance Rubini, director of the musée des Arts décoratifs et du Design


Etienne Tornier

Camille Perrot

Mathilde Delanne


Pierre Charpin

assistant Aurélie Vial

Graphic design

Jean-Baptiste Parré


Géraud Périole


Jean-Christophe Garcia

Publicationavailable here

Press kit et HQ pictures available here > Subject: communication - press access

Press Kit (pdf)

Thank you :

Château Haut-Bailly,

mécène d’honneur

Bordeaux Métropole

Bordeaux Patrimoine Mondial, Centre d’Interprétation de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine


Galeries Lafayette


Elements Optimal

Farrow & Ball


Glas Italia



La Ville de Pessac, Maison Frugès –Le Corbusier



Office de Tourisme et des Congrès de Bordeaux Métropole

Paco Rabanne


Société Ricard







Thank you for the fidelity :

Les Amis du musée des Arts décoratifs et du Design

Château Nairac

Société de négoce DIVA

Le Chapon Fin

Les Crus Bourgeois du Médoc

Media parteners :

Le Monde

France Culture


Station Ausone

The Exhibition is part of the 2017 paysages bordeaux cultural season, proposed from 25 June to 25 October 2017, around the arrival of the highspeed railway line in Bordeaux.