The spaces we inhabit are important; they impact our state-of-mind, our outlook, our attitude. In today’s busy world, calm and welcoming spaces can act as a soothing balm, instilling in us a sense of serenity.
This important insight has been fused into La Prairie’s new store design. With a nod to the luxury skincare brand’s Swiss heritage, the design incorporates the clean, pure aesthetic of Swiss Contemporary Architecture, creating beautiful environments in which to pause, peruse and feel pampered.
These elements have been actualised through the use of precious, natural materials and details which reflect the brand’s Swissness. Fine crystal, sleek steel and delicate paper have been used to craft sculptures placed throughout the stores and offer a clear vision of an uncompromised unity with the natural world.
“When we speak about Swissness, we speak about the expression of the landscape, perfection and precision, a level of luxury, refined manners and kindness,” said Stana Pijunovic, the Chief Architect of La Prairie, who was responsible for overseeing the new designs from concept to execution.
To illustrate the snow and minerality that dusts Switzerland’s mountains, La Prairie has worked with leading craftspeople to create sculptures fashioned from the whitest stone. The varying shapes of the stone pieces – some are circular while others are angular – create a tension between smoothness and roughness. Some pieces are integrated into the wall, others rest on table tops, further highlighting the tension. All are cut with precision – a metaphor for the nature of Swissness: a mix of the raw and the refined. This three-dimensional artistic interpretation draws on the philosophy behind the school of Land Art, which takes materials from the natural world and reimagines them into pieces of art, using the land itself to form dazzling objects. Another example of the Land Art inspiration evident in the new boutiques is a chrome and metal sculpture that represents the brilliant light that reflects off Lake Geneva. In addition to these artistic inspirations, the design of the space takes visual cues from the pure, minimal lines of contemporary Swiss architects such as Peter Zumthor. As an interpretation of La Prairie’s precious ingredients, some of the stores’ sculptures are intended to represent the multi-faceted beauty of platinum or the audaciousness of caviar.
Of course, every care has been taken to create not only a beautiful environment, but also a sublime client experience in the stores. A sense of discretion is achieved through sheets of frosted glass that divide the space into consultation and treatment areas. The intent behind this careful thought is to provide a sanctuary, hewed from wood, glass and stone: a nature-centric alternative to the harsh lighting and overwhelming bustle of most shop floors. “Time is the most luxurious thing that we have,” Ms Pijunovic mused. “Taking a few moments to be immersed in a calm environment can contribute enormously to our wellbeing. After all, we are influenced by the beauty of the space that surrounds us.”