Reflection on ‘Blue and Black in Architecture and Art' really stand the testament; that what we see and what we experience has a lasting impact. Drawing reference form the past and experience is always central to how I work. We recycle/ reimagine ideas and use them to fuel future projects with our own insights and interpretations.

Putting this piece together started with a Visual response. I know exactly what ‘key’ buildings and pieces of art that have played a role in my conceptual and design processes over the years. It became apparent the broad range of incredible architecture that I have visited and indeed all the art that has been seen with my eyes. When I was studying at the Architectural Association part of our course work was to travel annually - During these formative years some things really stuck; Joseph Cornell’s famous boxes (his signature glass-fronted ‘shadow boxes’.), Maison du Verre, Paris (spatial divides by using sliding, folding or rotating screen) The cultural influences that drive the architecture of cities like Istanbul - Veiling and revealing with screens and multi layered architecture. The thirst to seek out more became part of any trip away. Never a trip without seeing a great piece of architecture or a local artist.

These buildings and art will stand longer than I, yet how many great ideas have they sparked!

The following images (some my own photographs, and some from books that I have at home are the response to the title ‘Blue and Black in Architecture and Art’. Explaining a little bit about the image and how it has influenced my work to date. Having an archive to draw from - Concept, narrative and design work always paying homage to the past.

I end on my favourite Pantone Blue’s and Black and an index of my own cards.

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1. Takashi Murakami Superflat Jellyfish Eyes 2003
Bright Coloration

I talk reference from
Murakami’s work when I
am pushing boundaries of
colour ideas in interiors
and design.

2. Josef Albers
Play of colour

Color "is almost never seen as it really is" and colour deceives us all the time. Experimenting with colour play and how one colour changes depending on the environment or what it is paired with. The infinite outcomes are a challenge that I love.

Blue: Colour intensity and lightness: 8 tints, shades or tones. We change, correct or reverse our opinions on colour constantly

3. Eames House - Case Study House

Behind the Black and Blue panels of the facade lies the residence of the Eames’s. Their objects and collectables tells the story of their lives. Each object carefully arranged to create some sort of structure in their home.

4. Eileen Grey - Brick Screens

More than sculpture, this screenacts as a room divider. Hand crafted lacquer finish @1922

Eileen Greys work spans from architecture to furniture and interiors.

5. Room 606 - Arne Jacobsen - Copenhagen
Colour Fields

The curtain to screen the bed from the sitting area - a space divider that changes when the lights are on. Opaque in the day and a gauzy effect at night. The importance of using fabric when completing a room or a space - adding texture, detail and opacity.

6. Chapelle Notre-Dame du Haut - Corbusier

a. Light traps - reflecting light over the altar. The horizontal windowpane allows light wash down the white walls, in my memory this space is a contrast of black and white tones.

b. The wall of windows illumination when the sun shines. The key is colour and light - the interplay of the unexpected. The blue is very strong and memorable 

In the building light changes everything either through monotone or colour. 

7. Jardin Majorelle-Yves Saint Laurent Mansion.
Excitement of colour

The shades of Cobalt blue -inspiration from the coloured tiles found around Marrakech. Blue Majorelle was used in the gardens and surrounding buildings.

This photo taken in April time - The subtle excitement of the Intense blue.

8. Donald Judd - Untitled, 1970
Space & Inhabitation

Blue anodised aluminium and clear Plexiglas - 10 units equally spaced.
Distance from the floor to the lower box must equate to the distances between all the boxes above. If the ceiling is too low in a gallery the spacings must be adjusted. I love the way the space is as important as the art work. Material space and Colour are the main aspects here.

9. My index cards

Right 3 images : 3 of my favourite stoolsAlvar alto stool at Alto House Finland
Arnold circus stool - Leilas
Vintage Chair Sigmar

10. Alexander Calder

Untitled 1931; Wood, Iron, Wire paint.

Kinetic art - lessons in equilibrium.

11. Sean Scully
Structure and Tone

a. Aran 2005 From a series of 24 photographs (taken on a trip to the Aran Islands with thirty students from Munich) 

b. Coyote 200. Oil on linen canvas 

Beige, cream, green and different tones of grey all in muted colours with strong black paint. 

12. Pantone colours
Finer details

Infinite colours and never a project without a colour injection.
Did you know the Pantone NHS Bright blue (Pantone 285)


As Designers & Collaborators we are committed to the idea of “Co-Creation” with our clients, rather than simply offering design advice.

Irenie Studio is a highly creative studio working on the widest possible variety of visionary projects with residential clients, other designers and established brands. The studio naturally has a bespoke approach to every project, relishing the fact that each object, building, space and person is utterly unique.

Based in London, we collaborate with an extensive network of creative minds, artisans and crafts people to build and make beautiful works. Founder Irenie Cossey has over twenty years of experience in architecture and design, colour and styling and curating. Her work spans across private residential houses, innovative product design, illustration, and installations. She has collaborated with leading design studios such as Barber Osgerby, Universal Design Studio, Map Project Studio, Luciano Giubbilei Studio, Softroom Architects, and Skidmore Owing and Merrill, and consulted for high quality brands such as Mutina, Vitra, Rimowa, British Airways and many more.

Irenie is originally from Dublin and a graduate from the Architectural Association (AADIP & RIBA II), and has a BA in Environmental and Spacial design From Technological University Dublin (formerly DIT). She is a a registered member of BIID and a Lifetime Fellow at the Royal Society of the Arts.

Image credits, Jim Stephenson