Beauty stores are flipping the architectural design and interior design script. Thanks to the rise of the three I’s – interactivity, installation and immersion – designers like Snøhetta and UXUS are putting artwork, interior architecture and customer interaction front and center, making a trip to the drugstore a holistic, spa-like unforgettable experience. Here’s our choices for the world’s most successful new beauty stores that are pleasing design doyennes everywhere anytime…
Tom Ford Beauty, London
Bringing things bang up to date is Tom Ford Beauty, which, if you’re familiar with the multi-discipline mogul’s aesthetic, will come as no surprise. His first ever stand-alone luxury designed beauty store not only sets a new benchmark in glamour, but inspires in the field of tech-first retail interior design.
Tucked between the columns of the historic Covent Garden piazza, Tom Ford Beauty is made up of six specialized rooms designed with comprising grey glass, marble counters, reflective surfaces galore, and the high tech possible. Mirrors that record your make-up tutorials and email them to you in chapters – check. Virtual lip-stick trialing – check. Interactive perfume counter with vast LED screens – check. Downstairs, there’s even an intimate, invitation only consultation room, where you can try on the hottest new launches. One of those beauty stores that you must visit for many reasons e.g. architectural design and interior design.
Clean Market, New York City
The holistically-charged Clean Market has hit the streets of Manhattan. The surgery-clean, all-white destination spins on the notion of a classic day spa, instead calling upon infrared saunas, IV drips and cryotherapy treatments. The on-site Nutridrip drip lounge provides wellness-enhanced vitamin supplements, perpetuating the Clean Market ethos of beauty originating within. Visiting in this store s a must.
Miller Harris, by Fabled Studios, London
London-based perfume brand Miller Harris’ new flagship store surpasses fragrance shop expectations, transforming olfactory art into a multi-sensory ambush. Jackson Pollock-esque paint is artfully splattered across the walls, and a Tracey Emin-esque neon blinks on the wall, creating unique luxurious interior design to store.
Designed in collaboration with London’s Fabled Studio, the pocket-sized perfumery offers a colorful, exploratory haven in the midst of Canary Wharf’s bustling corporate rush. ‘We are giving the customer a full, 360-degree expression of each fragrance’, says Fabled’s co-founder Steven Saunders. Each scent has been married with a corresponding sound and texture, inviting visitors to not only smell but also ‘hear and feel’ their fragrance prior to making a selection. What’s more, a rotation of artists-in-residence will take over the space, bringing totally new meaning to the phrase ‘olfactory art’.
Buly 1803, by Arnault Castel, Hong Kong
Parisian apothecary Buly 1803 opened its first Hong Kong store recently in a snug new space on Wyndham Street. The brand, a revival of the historic perfume apothecary originally founded by Jean-Vincent Bully in 1803, was created in 2014 by Victoire de Taillac-Touhami and Ramdane Touhami who were inspired by 19th-century beauty secrets and ancient recipes.
Unlike many of the locations on our shortlist, which look ambitiously to the future, Buly 1802 looks ambitiously to the past. The couple’s local partner, Arnault Castel – founder of Kapok concept stores – was the first to spot the narrow 70 sq m location sporting unusual 5 meter high ceilings.
86 Champs, by Laura Gonzales, Paris
Perfumer L’Occitane and ‘Picasso of pastry’ Pierre Hermé have created a hybrid ‘store’ on the Champs Élysées, designed to test our senses, and our preconceptions of what a beauty boutique should be.
Stalwarts of their respective industries, the two brands are natural bedfellows, sharing a heritage, luxury leaning. Intended to celebrate the high quality ingredients behind both, 86 Champs is a heady, fourfold experiment, offering a dessert bar for initiating yourself in the art of pastry, a coffee station for discovering ‘coffee according to Pierre Hermé’, and a restaurant, for a savoury interlude between dessert courses.
Adding an olfactory twist, L’Occitane presents an interactive, in-store perfumery and scent installation, where guests come nose-to-nose with raw L’Occitane ingredients and production methods.
Riley Rose, by FutureBrand Uxus, Los Angeles
Millennial pink makes the girls and boys wink. At least that’s the thinking behind FutureBrand UXUS’s latest retail concept in Los Angeles. It’s different from the Amsterdam-based design studio, who are also behind Tate Modern’s innovative Switch House store.
Hershesons has opened the doors to its newest one-stop beauty salon flagship store in Fitzrovia, London. The 5,000 sq ft space on Berners Street rejects conventional ideas surrounding the traditional beauty store model, with an approach it hopes is more relevant to how we live our lives now, combining a beauty space, co-working space and social space, wrapped into one, multi-functional beauty store model solution.
Since its 1992 beginnings, Hershesons has championed groundbreaking ideas in beauty. A true forerunner in industry-wide innovation, it invented concepts such as the straightening iron and blow-dry bars. Now, it seems, it is championing the ‘customer is king’ model in a beauty and grooming context, where services are built entirely around youself, your schedule, and lifestyle.
Aesop, by Snøhetta, London
Designed by Norwegian interior architect and seven-time collaborator Snøhetta, Aesop’s 100 sq m Sloane Square flagship store is a subtle choreography of light, warmth and scent. The minimalist beauty guru’s 200th location, pitched on the corner of Duke Square, and surrounded by a catalog of elegant white-box stores, is rendered floor to ceiling in rust-red clay, inviting in passers-by from the Chelsea cold.
‘Originating and rising up from this large central element, we wanted warm-tones to beat out onto the street.’ A Devonshire clay-plaster column arches from the floor into what Girgis describes as ‘an architectural tree’. It spans the ceiling, covering it in a breathable, atmosphere-enhancing texture that will help to ventilate the lightly-scented space. The ‘trunk’ surrounds a 4.5 sq m ‘water table’, upon which a slim veil of water cascades into four tin bath-sized fiber glass sinks, used for skin consultations.