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The Moiré Effect at Microsoft Pavilion

Russian architects studio Nowadays has released striking visuals of the Microsoft Technology Pavilion they completed for Sochi’s Olympic Park during the 2014 Winter Olympics. The concept was to design a public space to see the latest and greatest Microsoft technologies, yet create a social place where people could also meet between the competitions.

We love the use of the colour scheme for the pavilion, inspired by the blocks of colour that make up both the Microsoft logo and the Windows 8 interface. The boxy structures were each assigned a colour, including vibrant shades of red, orange, yellow, blue, green and purple and allowed the architects to create a series of zoning for activity-based areas.

However, one of the most visual elements of the design, is the moiré effect, which appears when in motion. The structures were made up of wooden slats, which were evenly spaced around the outer walls, reminiscent of fencing panels. The sides of the slats were painted in pops of colour, but the fronts were left unfinished to create the effect, which makes the buildings come alive.

During the Olympic events, the pavilion hosted a variety of activities from product demonstrations and XBox gaming to exercise classes, face painting and hairstyling. An energy bar was also installed in the courtyard, offering participants a selection of drinks.

All images courtesy of Nowadays.

Photography is by Ilya Ivanov.

As well as the requirements for the use of the space, an important factor in the brief was to design a modular building that was easy to both assemble and dismantle, so that it could be transported and rebuilt on another site at a future event. Amazingly, the pavilion was built in just three weeks. The project team was made up of architects Anna Ivyanskaya, Natalya Mastalerzh and Nata Tatunashvili.


Moiré is French in origin and refers to a type of textile, traditionally of silk but now also of cotton or synthetic fiber, with a rippled or ‘watered’ appearance. A moiré effect occurs when viewing a set of lines or dots that are superimposed on another set of lines or dots, where the sets differ in relative size, angle, or spacing.

Moiré effects can produce interesting and beautiful geometric patterns, which is why they are commonly used in the built environment. Other examples of the moiré effect in architecture is the WSN Building Pavilion by pvanb architects for the University of Groningen (as pictured below), in The Netherlands, but M3 architect’s Brisbane Girls Grammar School is one of the best building examples we’ve seen.

Above image courtesy of Pvamb Architects.