Shanghai – In Asia, skincare is mostly the domain of Japan and South Korea – Shiseido and Amorepacific are two veritable global giants. But there is a new entrant to the game: China. The country claims the world’s third-largest consumer market for prestige skincare, topped only by Japan and the United States. Beyond size – numbers one and two are each twice as large as the Chinese market – the main difference separating the three is that the US and Japan are both native consumers and exporters, while China almost always assumes the role of importer.
And yet, as the Made in China 2.0 wave expands to include new manufacturing categories, it’s also reached the beauty industry. Here’s where things get really smart, really quick: instead of competing with well-known brands under their rules, local players are using spatial design to target newly formed niches.
We intended to demonstrate the magic behind [these high-tech] beauty products
Take, for example, Junping. Founded by a male beauty blogger, the brand offers products that feature traditional natural ingredients backed by intensive R&D. It’s a formula made famously digestible by South Korea’s beauty industry, where cute fruit-shaped containers hide an astounding amount of scientific development. And so, Junping’s is sending a different message: this is a brand aimed specifically at consumers who appreciate knowing the precise formulation behind each product. Enter the Junping Lab shipping container.
Conceived by XU Studio, the 28-sq-m pop-up store is made of stainless steel and Corian in pristine white. Its central element is a bar equipped with three magic mirrors, which allows visitors to detect skin issues and receive highly personalized, directly customizable product recommendations. Throughout, a luminous lamp-film setup simulates the effect of a skylight, turning the inside of the container into a transparent surface. For those outside the space, a blur of transparent acrylic tubes positioned vertically provides a window into the lab. ‘We intended to demonstrate the magic behind [these high-tech] beauty products,’ explained XU Studio partner Sabrina Xu.
Wisely, this container travels to the turf of research-savvy young women