French architecture firm Archiee has recently completed the interior design of the first physical shop for Japanese cosmetic brand En. The 150-square-meter store occupies the ground floor and basement of an 18th-century building in the center of Paris. En’s unique selling point is that customers are able to create customized skincare products by mixing their choice of the brand’s some 100 products. The name “En” translates as “beauty” in Japanese, but can also mean “circle” and “connection”. These three translations all inspired the design of the store.
As the existing venue has a long history, most of the existing structural elements were preserved. But new partitions were created to meet the requirements of the new functions. All of the partitions are composed in circle forms to create soft rounded internal spaces, which are suitable for private uses as counseling, treatments, massage and essence blending. The internal surfaces of the circle spaces are finished in white to express a pure space.
The space cut off by the circle partitions connects all the required functions. This remaining space between the existing walls and the integrated circle partitions creates a geometrically curious form and an original circulation with an aesthetical experience. The customer cannot get into each service rooms directly but must walk along a winding path toward the destination. This method that let the visitors walk along and enhance his expectation is typical Japanese way of hospitality, as in the traditional tea culture.
The external surfaces of the circle partitions are finished in polished brass to bring a distorted and warm reflection. This beautiful expanded space creates a feeling for the visitor step into an elegant and extraordinary world.
The existing spaces were divided into 4 main rooms: 2 rooms with stone vaulted spaces in the basement and 2 rooms finished with white plaster on the ground floor. The first room that customers arrive at is an entrance space that contains an enclosed boutique where products are displayed. The second room contains the counseling and treatment space, the third contains a “hall” and two enclosed massage spaces, while a product gallery and the small circular blending counter are in the fourth space.
The impressive point of this brand is to exhibit all its products. This reminds the excitement in a wine cellar. The display of products is inspired by the method of storage of French wineries. Each bottle is displayed separately with special lighting. The boxes for storage, which were made with Japanese paulownia wood, are also stacked and displayed to create a cellar atmosphere.