ôkhra : a color cooperative

A team of 12 employees and more than 210 co-op members

Feet in ochre, head in color, utopia…
20 ans okhra_chantier hangar

No matter what season you choose to come to the Conservatory, a passionate team of employees and volunteers welcomes you and organizes colorful events for your pleasure :

« okhra resembles an elephant. Certainly a place of memory and of history rooted in ochre but with the additional benefits of being able to initiate yourself in color in all its aspects. » Stephanie, bookshop manager.

 « I wish that everyone would leave with a piece of ochre and the understanding of all that can be done with it. » Carine, trainer

 «  I would like to demonstrate to those who pass this way that another kind of business enterprise is possible and that utopia may also be a source of economic and social innovation.» Sophie, operations manager

« Roussillon residents of all ages, come-on over! See and be surrounded by these walls and tools that bear colorful witness to the labors of the past, this authentic and durable inherited knowledge, shared by a professional and passionate team. » Jean-Yves, volunteer

« I like to provide to visitors a technical answer that is within the materials themselves ; to accompany them in the transition from an idea, a desire, to a project that reaches completion. » Norbert, Sales desk

 in Roussillon and furthermore

roussillon village plan-philippe durand

> 60% of the co-opmembers reside in the PACA region and 45% within at 30 KM. Among the latter, the PACA (Provence-Alpes-Riviera) Region, the Luberon Natural Regional Park, the Pont Julien Community of communes, Roussillon and Rustrel, business partnersincluding Chauvin, Sylvestre Materials, Luberon Biking, the 3 Matons, BlachèreFoundation, and the associations ASPPIV, Samuel Beckett, Roussillon Tourist Office, and manyvery active volunteers such as « les Dames et les Ogres de Roussillon ».

> 30% come fromotherregions of France; institutions known in the world of color, such as the Centre Français de la Couleur, le Comité Français de la Couleur, AD Chroma, Couleur & Marketing, as well as manyindividuals.

> 10% of the co-opmembers are foreign, passionate about ochre, color, culture, and socially responsible economy.They are spreadaround the globe in Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Canada, Japan, Australia…


A balancing act between economy and culture

The project of a conservatory of ochres and color is based on the concept that technical and industrial culture, created by companies and artisans, must be handed-on. Keeping old tools and materials does not suffice to insure this objective that must be a dynamic enterprise involving those who continue to practice these skills. This process must be based in the economy and possess a cultural dimension. The role, therefore, of a conservatory of ochre is, as for a conservatory of music, dance, or theater, to practice the discipline to be maintained. It is a tool for professionals and public alike as well as a fertile meeting place.

From the outset, the intention of okhra is to prove that a business may pursue its economic and cultural objectives in a rich and innovating balance :

  • technical culture and knowledge are generated by the working world. It is those who practice these crafts who are best placed to teach them;
  • economic tools serve the cultural ambitions of the project and are nourished by it in return according to the principles of social and solidarity-basedeconomy;
  • the not-for-profit management and participatory governance insure that the general interest overrides any possible conflicts of interest.

A company with a cultural mission (see économusée (R), concept created byCyrilleSimard in Quebec), is based upon this notion of the close interdependence of culture and economy.
The profits that result from okhra’s commercial activities (front desk, sales desk, book store, training programs,…) is reinvested into the cultural activities (heritage, industry, materials resource center, library, artistic creation, interaction with cultural networks and co-ops.

okhra matériauthèque_philippe durand


Participants in the ochre sector in the Apt region

On the ochre massif around Apt, okhra’s role is to contribute to the maintenance and the development of the production of ochre by ensuring the transmission of savoir-faire.

Indeed, if the Société des Ocres de France continues to produce ochre today, the company nearly closed in 1974. Today the network is fragile and, in order to continue, needs the communications tools and skills provided by okhra to explain the use of ochre in paint and assistance to individuals and to professionals in the application of recipes proven over time and in product research.

At the Conservatory, this transmission takes several forms :

  • the sale of specialized manuals;
  • technical advice provided by the sales staff, either in Roussillon or on the internet site;
  • the discovery workshops proposed throughout the year, from age 3;
  • the training center, open to public and professionals alike, where practicing professionals share their skills.

sof lavage_philippe durand

More about the co-op ôkhra

legal informations

NAME : ôkhra SCIC SA – Conservatoire des Ocres et de la Couleur
LEGAL STATUS : Incorporated non-profit making company (société coopérative d’intérêt coopérative)
SIREN no. 404 489 965
SIRET no. 404 489 965 00024
NAF CODE : 9103Z
Intercommunity VAT number : FR04404489965
Training activity declaration : : 93 84 02025 84
Address :Usine Mathieu – D 104 F-84220 ROUSSILLON (France)
TELEPHONE/ FAX : 0033-(0)4 90 05 66 69

CHIEF EXECUTIVE : Mathieu Barrois, mathieubarrois@okhra.com
HEAD OF OPERATIONS & COMMERCIAL RELATIONS : PhilipeTitonecoordination@okhra.com
HEAD OF DEVELOPMENT &COMMUNICATION : Sophie Mariot-Leduc developpement@okhra.com
ACCOUNTING : Maguy, compta@okhra.com (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday)
WELCOME DESK AND ACTIVITIES: Frédérique and Cécile info@okhra.com (daily)
SALES DESK, BOOKSTORE, ON-LINE SALES: Stéphanie and Norbert comptoir@okhra.com (daily)
TRAINING : Geneviève and Loredana formation@okhra.com (tous les jours) 04 90 05 77 44
INTERNET SITE : www.okhra.com 
FACEBOOK : www.facebook.com/okhra.couleur


15 Board members elected at the general assembly of June 29, 2013:

  • M. Mathieu Barrois,Director of Okhra
  • M. André Belloeuvre, Olivier Curel ; Gérard Debroas ; Olivier Feraud-Detinger ; Patrick Icard ; Jacques Lafait ; Serge Marty ; Philippe Titone ; François Viol.
  • Ms Barbara Barrois ; Karine Chauvin ; Michèle Guiton ;Sophie Leduc ; Maguy Moschietto.

click here for more informations in english

> The mathieu ochre factory

> activities for individual visitors

> group guided tours and activities

> workshops for art and color

Le conservatoire des ocres et de la couleur

le conservatoire de la couleur

L'usine Mathieu, conservatoire des ocres et de la couleur
A l'image d'un conservatoire de musique, le rôle du Conservatoire de la couleur est de pratiquer la discipline que l'on entend conserver. Ici, la couleur se vit par le geste et par la transmission des savoir-faire. Le centre de formation, la librairie et le comptoir spécialisé sont au service de cette mission.
Société Coopérative d'Intérêt Collectif (SCIC) reconnue par l'État, ôkhra gère ce conservatoire en délégation de service public. Elle rassemble salariés, artistes, artisans, industriels, scientifiques, bénévoles et collectivités territoriales au sein d'une gouvernance partagée.

les salles de formation

une des salles de cours du conservatoire
Les formations se déroulent dans une des salles de cours du conservatoire, aménagées dans les anciens entrepôts d'ocre. L'usine Mathieu est une usine d'ocre réhabilitée, les stages se déroulent donc au cœur de la couleur.
Les installations sont simples, le luxe, c'est l'espace, la lumière et l'environnement. Les pauses déjeuners se prennent fréquemment en plein air (il fait souvent beau, vous êtes en Provence !).

Roussillon en Provence

le village de roussillon
Roussillon est un village magnifique, au cœur du massif ocrier classé du Luberon, et il en a la couleur. La visite du sentier des ocres, au bord du village, est indispensable. A quelques kilomètres, à Gargas, les spectaculaires mines souterraines de Bruoux valent le détour.
A quelques kilomètres d'Apt, on y accède par le TGV d'Avignon ou l'aéroport d'Aix - Marseille. De nombreuses solutions d'hébergement pour tous budgets sont proposées autour du conservatoire.