04 Mar 2019 • Retail
In Paris, a new Japanese skincare store promotes anti-aging like fine wine
Tucked away on a side street steps away from the Odéon metro stop in Paris, a new Franco-Japanese cosmetic brand has set up shop with the help of Archiee, a local creative studio founded by Yusuke Kinoshita and Daisuke Sekine nearly 10 years ago.
EN markets skin-specific treatment regimens, marrying coveted French skincare formulas with Japanese care techniques. Their name – and company – is defined by three concepts: beauty, circularity and connection. They brought Archiee on for project to manifest these qualities through various spatial elements spanning four rooms in their first boutique.
Although there are very established (and coveted) cosmetic industries in each country, Archiee chose to turn to a different source of French and Japanese cultural inspiration for the EN space: their beverages. The merchandising strategy draws from French wineries; the products are exhibited as if visitors were deep in a cellar. Bottles are displayed separately with special lighting, and storage boxes made from Japanese paulownia wood enhance the atmosphere.
Traditional Japanese tea culture informed the ‘connection’ aspect of the design. EN offers counselling, treatment, massage and essence blending in-house. But clients cannot get into each of these service rooms directly – instead, one must walk along a winding path in the space to get to each. Organically prompted aesthetic experiences are a tenet of Japanese hospitality. Implementing those ideals into what’s supposed to be a relaxing retail destination makes sense, especially from a consumer psychology perspective.
Archiee was clever to use vino-centrism to their advantage, this time spatially
The boutique was constructed in an 18th century building, and most of the existing structural elements were preserved. To fit the functional requirements of the store, new circular partitions were created and finished in white, to symbolize purity. And, in EN, Parisians get to see a familiar material used in a unique way: the surfaces of the partitions are polished brass, introducing a warm, reflected light to the space.
Followers of French skincare are likely familiar with Caudalie, the cult brand that makes their products from some of the same grape polyphenols that go into bottles of Bordeaux and Burgundy. While EN has a product offering made from 100 other natural essences, Archiee was clever to use vino-centrism to their advantage, too, but this time spatially: How better to establish the new company’s dual identity?