Using colour to create empathy

I have known Anna for almost 10 years now and one thing that has always struck me about her is her ability to be cheerful and transmit positive, happy energy to the people around her. I have also known for years that she is interested in colour, and that she has a passion for using it in various ways, so it didn’t surprise me when I found out that her means of creating empathy during her expat experience had to do with colour.

After several years as an expat in Prague and Paris, Anna is currently living in Luxembourg, where she has opened her Piccolo Laboratoire on colour.


Anna, tell us what the Piccolo Laboratoire is and how you came up with the idea for it.

Photo Credit Marco Ferrando,

The Piccolo Laboratoire is a laboratory of self-expression, a specially created space in Luxembourg, where people can come and use colour to experiment freely with their creativity – not to learn painting techniques, but to achieve the freedom of a personal act of expression.

During the group session, each person experiments with the language of colour using coloured powders that, with the addition of glue and water, become a simple and essential mixture that can be used with complete freedom of movement. People share paintbrushes and colours, they try things out, they work upright on a wall, they express themselves within the space of a sheet of paper that becomes a space of self-projection, of their own emotions and their own past.

Photo Credit Marco Ferrando

The Operator observes, is attentive, is present, looks around, listens and receives silent signals, in total empathy with the group. No directions are given, no sketches provided, no templates to follow… nor any evaluation or interpretation. In the Piccolo Laboratoire the objective is not the output but rather the time spent on self-expression and its potential to enhance well-being, happiness, self-discovery and connection with others.

Colour is a language that, by way of the body moving in space, becomes a sign, leaves a mark and makes a sound. It is therefore a comprehensive channel through which to experiment with one’s own potential for expression, through a two-dimensional transposition of thoughts, feelings and emotions.

When did the idea of setting up the ‘colour laboratory’ in Luxembourg first arise?

I am an architect, and in 2003 I emigrated to Prague with two small children to follow my husband. I then moved to Paris, where the international environment accentuated my creativity and ability to relate to different cultures.

I returned to Italy in 2010 and decided to take a three-year training course with Laura Mancini, who created the ‘Colour Expression Laboratories’ method in 1973. As a result of this theoretical and practical course I qualified as an Operator for Colour Expression Laboratories.

When another family relocation took me to Luxembourg, after working in Genoa and Alexandria, I founded the non-profit organization Piccolo Laboratoire. I opened up this space in the district of Merl to offer activities related to self-expression and to promote the Mancini method.


The use of colour has filled me with a joy, vitality and sense of well-being that compels me to give my time to those who wish to come and find out how expressing themselves through colour can be a channel for encounter, connection, sharing, self-knowledge and freedom!

Who would you advise to take part in the laboratory?

Photo Credito Marco Ferrando

The Piccolo Laboratoire’s activities are provided based on the belief that colour is a language and as such can be used by each of us. Its use can focus on self-expression, which is a right of human beings whatever their age, physical or mental condition, or socio-cultural context.

The Piccolo Laboratoire accepts children aged two to three, offering them the use of the three primary colours: red, yellow and blue. Older children, from four to seven years of age, work with nine colours: white, yellow, orange, red, purple, blue, green, brown and black. The course lasts for a year, includes two or three meetings a month of two and a half hours each, held in the afternoon, and fits in with the academic calendars of the various schools in Luxembourg. For adults the course consists of a monthly meeting, with the option of attending sessions in the morning or evening. The languages spoken can be mixed – Italian, English and French – but the language of colour takes priority over all three!

The Piccolo Laboratoire is newly launched, and I’m certain that it has great potential. In the future I’d like to be able to work with the elderly, with people who have intellectual disabilities, and with disadvantaged children.

For further details, please contact me by email:

Piccolo Laboratoire a.s.b.l.  (association sans but lucratif n° RCS : F 11213)
28, Am Bongert L-1270 Luxembourg (Merl)

Thank you so much for your time!


If, for example, you come at four o’ clock in the afternoon, then at three I’ll start to be happy.
The Little Prince


Article collected by Cristina Baldan
February 2018