Odile Decq and the Romance of Disagreement

Odile Decq is an award-winning French architect and urban planner, with an innate ability to bring together multiple disciplines and trains of thought to produce highly sophisticated designs. Since her first major commission for La Banque Populaire de l’Ouest in Rennes, France, she has become a radical voice in architecture research, being awarded The Golden Lion of Architecture and the Jane Drew Award, among other honours.

Divergent and original in both her speech and gothic-like appearance, she seeks to push architecture further—so as to create an osmosis between the space and other integral fields such as art, design and urban planning. Experimentation and disagreement—she believes—is one of the only ways to accomplish this. Decq teaches this to the next generation of visionaries at her design school in Lyon, the Confluence Institute for Innovation and Creative Strategies in Architecture. As a mentor to a group of young, independent architects, she promotes conflict rather than kindness, and inconvenience rather than convenience, in order to inspire innovative, avant-garde work.

A design by Decq is immediately recognizable; a product of her continued advocation for expressing personality both boldly and clearly in architecture. For Decq, this is especially apparent in her use of colour. Striking installations of red can be observed in structures such as the Halle Totem Montpellier, Le Cargo in Paris, the Study Hall in Lyon, and the New Cyprus Museum. In a dreamlike state, she reflects that a journey through any of her buildings should be like an act of travelling—with an ebb and flow that promotes stimulation and continued movement.

Decq speaks more on this in a recent short film created by PLANE—SITE, a global agency working at the interface of urban form, cultural space and social life. The video is one of many in their series, TIME SPACE EXISTENCE.

the author

Jac Sanscartier

Jac is an innovation analyst at Idea Couture. She is based in Toronto, Canada.