25 Jul 2019 • Seoul
This Seoul cosmetics concept store wants to re-ignite Asia’s affinity with K-Beauty
Though making up one of the 10 largest cosmetics markets in the world, South Korean beauty brands are slowing down in growth at home and in countries they’ve historically enjoyed climbing success in, like China. It comes at a time when home-grown Chinese and Japanese brands are becoming ‘increasingly popular in their native markets’ and a growing number of international companies, like Sephora, are entering the South Korean market. Still, China’s consumers – and investors – are still willing to buy into, and bet on, K-Beauty.
Villa de Mûrir, a cosmetics concept store designed by South Korean studio Collective B for a Chinese corporation, is a unique addition to Seoul’s retail-scape. The experience-driven store, beyond serving as a base for the corporation to gain momentum with the brand before ‘re-exporting it other Asian markets,’ is also a space for ‘a new type of beauty community that didn’t exist before in the Korean market,’ according to Collective B’s design director for the project, Dongwook Kim.
Collective B’s client wanted all aspects of the design and manufacturing – which included branding, the interiors and packaging – adjusted to exacting South Korean standards, and to be produced in South Korea. The space breaks with the ‘stereotypical idea,’ in Kim’s words, that ‘a cosmetics brand shop needs to be located on a high street populated with shop windows.’ The bubble-gum-pink interiors were crafted around the experience, including zones for shopping, makeup treatments, a production studio for YouTube beauty content creators and a café designed with ‘social media-savvy millennials in mind.’
The brand has the potential to create new business fields by combining cosmetics with all kinds of related industries
‘With services and the curation of other brands, Mûrir doesn’t stop at selling products, Kim explained. ‘The brand has the potential to create new business fields by combining cosmetics with all kinds of related industries, like fashion, hospitality, health and wellness.’