INSIDE THE AUDACIOUS INTERIOR DESIGN OF LA PRAIRIE’S NEW STORE CONCEPT
LA PRAIRIE’S SUBLIME NEW STORE DESIGN OFFERS A RESPITE FROM EVERYDAY LIFE.
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.”
Architecture, Store, Design, Switzerland
Going Beyond The Ordinary
With Exceptional Attention To Detail, La Prairie Offers An Exquisite Design To Deliver Complexion Perfection.
“The aura given out by a person is as much a part of them as their skin,” proclaimed renowned 20th-century portraitist Lucien Freud when discussing his artistic aspiration to capture the complexion of his subjects. A perfect, glowing complexion is, after all, the incarnation of timeless beauty, the picture of health, the very essence of youth. But the portrait of beauty is only as perfect as its canvas — there can be no perfect complexion without perfect skin.
Driven by the very same aspiration as Freud to highlight the vivacity of a splendid complexion, La Prairie has brought together caviar science and colour artistry in an unparalleled formulation that perfects and enhances the natural beauty of the skin — Skin Caviar Essence-in-Foundation, the first compact foundation infused with Caviar Water for complexion perfection. Encased in a cutting-edge application system, it is the art of foundation as only La Prairie can conceive it.
INSIDE AND OUT
More than a pioneering fusion of skincare and complexion artistry, this foundation is also a sublime example of La Prairie’s attention to detail and design savoir-faire.
This sleek, portable compact is so innovative, La Prairie felt its refined construction, both inside and out, merited being seen.
In order to capture Skin Caviar Essence-in-Foundation’s astonishing inner workings, La Prairie commissioned artist Nick Veasey to photograph its advanced technical structure using his preferred medium.
Veasey’s work with radiographic imaging equipment takes the x-ray to another level. Everyday objects are transformed from the banal to the beguiling and the layers and make-up of natural items are shown in fantastic detail. These works are a classic example of the fusion between art and science. The results transcend classification as photographs, having the gravitas to motivate science institutions and art galleries to acquire the artworks. The Victoria and Albert Museum in London have recently added his work to the British National Collection of Photography. Mr Veasey regularly exhibits at fine art galleries the world over. His fascinating works have collected a host of International awards.
“We live in a world obsessed with image,” said Mr Veasey. “I like to counter this obsession with the superficial by using X-rays to strip back the layers and show what it is like under the surface. Often the integral beauty adds intrigue to the familiar. We all make assumptions based on the external visual aspects of what surrounds us and we are attracted to people and forms that are aesthetically pleasing. I like to challenge this automatic way that we react to physical appearance by highlighting the often surprising inner beauty of an object,” he added.
The collaboration between La Prairie and Mr Veasey produced images that are at once technical and ethereal, conveying a great lyricism and grace.
Nick Veasey, Design,Lucien Freud, Xray
La Prairie Brings Artistry to the World of Complexion
La Prairie partners with acclaimed makeup artists, for complexion perfection.
A NEW BEGINNING FOR COMPLEXION
In 2018, La Prairie launches Skin Caviar Essence-in-Foundation, the first compact foundation infused with Caviar Water for complexion perfection. As part of the launch, La Prairie has selected three leading makeup artists from three world regions – North America, Europe and Asia – to act as La Prairie Complexion Artist Ambassadors. Working closely with La Prairie, they will develop application techniques exclusive to Skin Caviar Essence-in-Foundation and give masterclasses on Complexion Artistry.
PERFECT SKIN. PERFECT COMPLEXION.
While a perfect complexion is the incarnation of timeless beauty, the portrait of beauty is only as perfect as its canvas — there can be no perfect complexion without perfect skin. The newly selected La Prairie Complexion Artist Ambassadors will communicate on the importance of skincare and develop bespoke makeup application rituals that begin with perfect skin and end with the perfect complexion.
This unique collaboration conveys La Prairie’s belief that complexion perfection is an art – in fusing caviar science with colour artistry, La Prairie continues to break the codes of luxury skincare. And with their varied expertise and regional specialties, these talented Complexion Artist Ambassadors are the ideal spokespeople to communicate La Prairie’s notion that perfect skin leads to a perfect complexion.
LA PRAIRIE’S MAKEUP ARTISTRY AMBASSADORS
Working from London, Georgina Graham’s aesthetic when doing makeup on fashion shoots and runway shows is a decidedly modern version of the golden age Hollywood, complete with pristine skin. On the parallels between art and makeup artistry, Georgina said, “Makeup artistry and art are finely linked because they are connected with aesthetics. Observation, technique and taste are the common threads.” Magazines such as Vogue Paris and British Vogue turn to Georgina to create impeccable complexion looks for their shoots. She can also be found working on avant-garde projects, such as an initiative by an architectural art collective for Frieze London, an annual art fair showcasing some of the most exciting artists working today.
Based in Los Angeles, celebrity makeup artist Mai Quynh works with Hollywood’s elite, who rely on her skills to get them ready for red carpet events. Mai is known in the makeup industry for making skin look flawless under any light and will share with La Prairie devotees her expertise for preparing and caring for the skin to ensure a perfect complexion. “To me, beauty is found in the woman that is confident and comfortable in her skin,” Mai said. Some of her red carpet celebrity clients include Chloe Moretz, Daisy Ridley, Scarlett Johansson, Maggie Q, Kate Bosworth and Saoirse Ronan. Mai has spent years honing her craft in the fashion editorial world as well as working with major advertising clients, and has shot with some of the world’s biggest photographers like Patrick Demarchelier and Annie Leibovitz.
The makeup artist’s name on everyone’s lips in Hong Kong, Alvin Goh works with both regional celebrities and international clients. “I believe everyone is entitled to look and feel beautiful and to be able to empower themselves with the knowledge of makeup artistry and exquisite skincare,” Alvin said. Uma Thurman, Emma Watson and Tilda Swinton have all called on Alvin to get them camera-ready. Alvin is not only a celebrity makeup artist but also a renowned Creative Director and Fashion Stylist who had curated many exhibitions with international brands. As a leading visual artist for anything beautiful, Alvin has a keen eye for creating looks based on immaculate skin.
Complexion, Makeup, Georgina Graham, Mai Quynh, Alvin Goh
THE LEGACY OF THE REVOLUTIONARY BAUHAUS DESIGN MOVEMENT
Clean, minimal, elegant, audacious: Bauhaus changed the course of art and architecture in our world.
Audacious by nature, revolutionary in its influence, the Bauhaus design movement altered the course of art and architecture in the western world.
Founded in 1919 by architect Walter Gropius in Weimar, Germany, through his Staatliches Bauhaus School of Design, Architecture and Applied Arts, the movement represented a dynamic new way of understanding the relationship between fine arts and industry.
At the school, known simply as ‘Bauhaus,’ creativity and manufacturing were brought together in order to imagine a new paradigm for creating art and objects. This approach was centred on a clean, functional and minimal aesthetic, resplendent in calming purity and unparalleled sleekness.
With the founding of Bauhaus, no longer would design be held in higher esteem than woodworking; no longer would architecture be seen as superior to painting. Instead, all disciplines would be equally exalted. It was through this convergence that Gropius elevated everyday objects to objects of design.
This fusion was achieved by combining two existing schools (the Weimar Academy of Arts and the Weimar School of Arts and Crafts) into a single entity. The movement reached its zenith in the latter half of the 1920s.
In this unique learning centre, students did not sit and listen to lectures. Instead, workshops known as ‘Werkstätten’ allowed the young talent to learn by doing – from pottery to typography, encouraging them to see the world through a new lens.
Move to Dessau
The progressive movement was not without its critics. In local elections in 1925, conservatives took power and put an end to the school’s funding. Gropius therefore took his ideas to Dessau, where the iconic Bauhaus building was commissioned. It was at this point that the school entered a radical new phase of creativity, innovation and influence.
The building itself was a feat of ingenuity unlike anything the world had seen. With symmetry rejected, one needed to circle the school in order to understand its three-dimensional character and each of its trio of components: a four-story workshop wing, a classroom wing and linking these two section, an administration block.
Bauhaus building in Dessau by architect Walter Gropius. Photographer: Glenn Garriock
In this new facility, Gropius united celebrated artists and craftspeople. Josef Albers, Anni Albers, Marianne Brandt, Marcel Breuer, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Laszlo Monoly-Nagy and Oskar Schlemmer were all part of either the school’s faculty or student body – and sometimes both.
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, another innovator in the world of contemporary design, succeeded Gropius as Director at the Bauhaus school from 1930 to 1933, when the school closed permanently.
Bauhaus studio house in Dessau by architect Walter Gropius. Photographer: Shannon McPherron
Why the movement came to pass
In order to understand why Bauhaus was so startlingly different to the norms of its day – and why it continues to shape our visual world today – one must examine the social conditions in which it arose.
At the time it was conceived by Gropius, there was an emerging feeling that manufacturing had become soulless. Set apart from the inspiration and vision of fine arts and design, it had splintered into an industrial carousel of producing objects in a robotic fashion, completely lacking in passion and joy.
As such, the reunification of arts and crafts proved a welcome antidote, as well as acting as a counterpoint to the ubiquitous, elaborately ornate designs of the time.
Bauhaus building in Dessau, balcony of studio house, 1925/1926. Photographer: Lucia Moholy, Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin, © 2018, ProLitteris, Zurich
While the school was open only a short time, its legacy continues to reverberate through the world of design. Indeed, La Prairie takes inspiration from Bauhaus, infusing its packaging with the clean, geometric aesthetic of the movement, visible in the minimalist lines of a Skin Caviar jar or the sleek silver of the La Prairie box. Most significantly, however, it is the Bauhaus dedication to excellence, its quest for innovation and its desire to dismantle norms that continue to inspire La Prairie today.
Architecture, Art, Bauhaus, Design, Dessau
The Art of Innovation
Enter the spellbinding world of virtual reality, where art and technology merge.
Dedicated to innovation. A desire to be a pioneer in the worlds of both art and science. La Prairie talks to Emilie Joly, a leading Swiss virtual reality designer.
Capturing with words what Emilie Joly does is no easy task, even for her. “It is hard to explain, but I can try,” she began.
Positioned at the intersection of art and science through her work as CEO and co-founder of Apelab, an immersive storytelling studio based in Geneva, Switzerland and Los Angeles, Ms. Joly inhabits a unique sphere.
Apelab, founded in 2012, conjures up interactive games, series and films which allow the viewer to glide into worlds that are the product of the imaginations of Ms. Joly and her team.
These environments can be entered via a virtual reality headset: machines at the very edge of technology which, when worn, allow the wearer to enter and navigate a simulated situation. The best comparison, perhaps, is to imagine stepping through a cinema screen while watching a film and becoming a part of the tale being told. One can look up, down, side to side and still find the scene on the screen playing all around you.
In more advanced virtual reality experiences, one can reach out and pick up objects that appear before the eyes by using handheld remote controls, and Apelab’s animated interactive series, Sequenced, goes even further, featuring characters in the virtual world that react to your presence as you enter their domain and move between scenes.
Here, the worlds of art and science dance around and collide into one another. The dichotomy of the creative and analytical industries is disrupted and replaced by an audacious fusion of the two.
“Technology is the tool that we use to create something magical,” Ms. Joly, a native of Switzerland, explained. “I am driven by creativity, but it is the technology that allows us to achieve what we wish.”
Ms. Joly is a designer by training. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Film before earning a Master’s in Interactive Design from Geneva’s University of Arts and Design. “I am a creative person at heart,” she asserted. “I started to learn how to code in order to explore new ways of telling stories.”
This curiosity has yielded exceptional results. The Sequenced series was a Sundance Institute Official Selection in 2016. It was also recognised at the Toronto Film Festival in the same year. The series presents a world in which there is only one city left on Earth and in which people are sent out to find lost populations. The most special feature of this virtual reality series is that the viewer controls the story. Every scene is embedded with more than 50 possible outcomes, making each person’s experience utterly original.
“It is truly exciting to be at the birth of something which is going to be as big a revolution as the printed press was when it was invented, or cinema,” said Ms. Joly.
“It is the same as with the internet and all new discoveries,” she continued. “Creators must be smart about how experiences evolve and know what they are doing and why they are doing it.”
And as to what she would say to people who believe that one is either gifted creatively or scientifically?
“Scientists are often incredibly creative. The two are linked. It is not necessarily the same part of the brain that drives them, but those things must work together.” For Ms. Joly, this unison of disciplines has a clear endpoint.
“It is how we achieve excellence.”
Virtual Reality, Art, Science, Technology, Future, Innovation
Why Pollution is the New UV
Learn more about the effects of air pollution on skin.
While overexposure to the sun can cause premature skin aging, there is also a more “invisible” threat to timeless beauty lurking in the sky.
“Air pollution may well be the new UV,” warned Jacqueline Hill, Director of Strategic Innovation and Science at La Prairie.
Air pollution is the world’s greatest single environmental risk factor for health, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). It is a problem that is hard to avoid — 92 percent of the world’s population lives in places where air quality levels exceed WHO limits.
Scientists have long studied the effects of air pollution on both the lungs and the cardiovascular system. However, recent research suggests that the damage caused by air pollution is even more pervasive than previously thought: just like ultraviolet radiation (UV) from the sun, it can have a devastating effect on the skin.
Professor Jean Krutmann from the University of Düsseldorf studied people in both Germany and China and discovered that age spots on their foreheads and cheeks increased by 25 percent with a relatively small increase in air pollution.
Another study in Mexico City revealed that people subjected to pollution were more likely to have a red complexion and higher levels of sebum, a condition that can contribute to a variety of skin issues, including acne.
Pollution can also diminish radiance, one of the skin’s most prized attributes.
The skin is home to the very cells where beauty is born, and there are ways to protect it from the ravishes of air pollution. As the skin has a natural, defensive barrier to the elements, it should not be over-washed, recommends Dr Hill. Mild cleansing products should always be used to remove pollution from the skin.
In an audacious interpretation of science and art, La Prairie’s scientists have gone beyond the limits of the imagination to produce a range of products that preserve and restore skin barrier function. There are currently only a few molecules available to counteract or prevent the detrimental effects of certain pollutants.
White Caviar Illuminating Pearl Infusion contains polymers which form a protective layer on the skin, seeking out and isolating particles and heavy metals from air pollution that settle on skin’s surface. They are then easily washed away when the skin is next cleansed.
Certain foundations may also help to scavenge the skin for pollutants, which are then wiped away when the make-up is removed, said Dr Hill. She recommends wearing a sunscreen that blocks UV radiation, as it would prevent photo-reactive pollutants from reacting to UV exposure.
Prevention is therefore the preferred way to transcend the effects of air pollution and maintain a timeless beauty.
Skin aging, Skin damage, Air pollution, UV
When two mighty stars collide — the extraordinary beginnings of platinum.
Revered for its purity, luminescence and eternal beauty, platinum is the setting of choice for the world’s finest jewels. The epitome of elegance when paired with diamonds, it evokes a world of luxury that knows no limits.
Extraordinarily rare, this precious metal fell to Earth more than four billion years ago during a cataclysmic meteor shower that lasted for more than 200 million years.
How platinum is formed had remained a longstanding mystery until an audacious discovery last year.
For the first time, scientists identified the collision of two neutron stars — the extremely dense cores of vast stars that have exploded.
After detecting ripples in space and time from the collision 130 million light years away, experts from America’s Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) alerted astronomers around the world so they could observe the spectacle.
Numerous scientific discoveries were made, including the fact that platinum is created when neutron stars merge, evidenced by the mesmerising flare that was produced for days after the collision.
“It was a beautiful event,” observed Professor Brian Metzger, an astrophysicist at Columbia University who had correctly predicted what would be seen if platinum, and other heavy metals, were produced during a neutron star collision.
“The light was very blue during the first few days. It then became very red, which told us that there were probably some of these heavier elements like platinum in the material.”
Scientists now believe that the Earth’s supply of platinum was produced by neutron stars merging in our galaxy and ejecting platinum into space long before the Earth was formed.
“The platinum in cosmetics or wedding bands was at one point probably part of one of these very extreme, unfathomably energetic explosions,” asserted Professor Metzger.
A paragon of beauty and strength, it is little wonder that platinum has been venerated throughout history. The Egyptians used it to embellish a casket dedicated to Queen Shapenapit, and in South America ancient civilisations crafted it into jewellery.
Platinum reached Europe through Spain after the conquest of the New World. Louis XVI declared it the only metal fit for royalty and in the late 1800s a fashion for platinum jewellery swept through Europe and Russia.
It has been used to set some of the world’s most iconic gems, including the stunning Koh-i-Noor, one of the largest cut diamonds in the world, which forms part of the British Crown Jewels.
The desire for platinum continues unabated, but its beautifying properties reach far beyond jewellery. Indeed, platinum enhances the very cells where beauty is born.
In a constant quest to include the rarest and noblest ingredients in their formulas, La Prairie scientists harnessed the timeless potency of platinum to heighten the effectiveness of a rejuvenating peptide. The result is the exquisite Platinum Rare Collection.
Elevating science to an art, La Prairie has breached the limits of the imagination and developed an Advanced Platinum Complex for its new Platinum Rare Cellular Night Elixir, the most powerful rejuvenating potion to emerge from the luxury skincare brand’s laboratories.
Steeped in the wonder of the night, the unique Elixir hails from a rarefied world where mighty stars collided in a ravishing spectacle — a world where time stands magically still.
Platinum, LIGO, gravitational waves, jewellery, neutron star
Rejuvenation at Night
Night time is the skin’s ideal moment for rejuvenation
Night-time offers the precious gift of sleep, a vital sanctuary from the rigours of life that enables the body and mind to maintain a poetic balance.
But while the body rests, the very cells where beauty is born engage in an extraordinary process of rejuvenation.
“In the skin, many molecular, cellular and physiological processes follow a circadian rhythm, some of them peaking at night,” stated Dr Jacqueline Hill, Director of Strategic Innovation and Science at La Prairie.
Transepidermal water loss — moisture lost through the skin — is higher at night, as are blood flow and skin temperature. On a cellular level, epidermal stem cell proliferation rises, which leads to increased skin renewal. Specific repair mechanisms, such as DNA repair, are also active mainly at night.
“The abundance of replenishment that takes place while the body is at rest makes the night the perfect time for renewal,” asserted Dr Hill. There is also a dramatic decrease of exposure to environmental aggressors, which allows an increased focus on repair as opposed to defence.
While the skin is more prone to becoming dehydrated at night, it is also more apt to absorb treatments applied during this timeframe. A bedtime ritual using sumptuous ingredients to nourish the skin is therefore vital to support nocturnal rejuvenation.
The first step to holding back time is to gently cleanse the skin, as retiring to bed with make-up or traces of dirt and pollution on the skin can lead to clogged pores and inflammation. By purifying the skin, the effects of daily exposure to pollutants are minimised before damage can take place.
Night-time hydration plays a crucial role in keeping skin healthy, radiant and youthful. So after cleansing and toning, products enriched with active ingredients that enhance the skin’s natural moisture levels, and strengthen its barrier, should be applied.
These should include anti-aging treatments that target personal skincare concerns – such as fine lines, excess pigmentation or lack of radiance.
So, when night falls, remember to lavish the skin with enriched ingredients to enhance the magical process of rejuvenation. For it is these starlit hours that are the key to a world of beauty with no temporal limits.
Skin Rejuvenation, Platinum, Skincare, Active Ingredients, Anti-Aging
The Art of Tasteful Gifting
A modern guide to gifting etiquette during the holiday season.
Gifts are a poetic expression of affection and appreciation. They help define relationships and strengthen intimate bonds, enriching both the giver and the receiver.
The enchantment of receiving a refined gift lies in being transported to a world of pure decadence, a place where desire and mystery come together in an inspiring and audacious union.
But the enchantment of giving a refined gift is far greater. It is the awe-inspiring knowledge of having given the most precious present of all – time, which stands tantalisingly still on each occasion that the precious luxury is used.
Successful gifting is a veritable art form. It speaks of consideration, immaculate manners and indulgence perfected.
But like any social ritual, the risk of impropriety is never far away, and a misjudged present can risk souring a relationship.
In order to master the art of gifting, here are some recommendations to consider:
1. A gift should be certain to please and should therefore reflect the recipient’s personal likes and dislikes, stated William Hanson, a leading British etiquette and protocol expert.
2. Avoid giving a present for the home unless you know the recipient extremely well, as there is a strong chance of misjudging their taste. Flowers are the exception.
3. Chocolates are the most tasteful choice for someone one does not know well, according to Mr Hanson.
4. When presenting a gift to someone from another country, be sure to consider all the cultural codes so as not to offend.
5. Not being ostentatious is the key to tasteful gifting, asserted Mr Hanson. It is not tasteful to give someone a very expensive bottle of champagne if they cannot reciprocate, for example.
6. Keep a list of all the gifts you give each year to avoid repetitions in the future.
7. A gift should be beautifully wrapped, offering a sensorial prelude to the precious indulgence nestled within. An unwrapped gift, or one offered in a gift bag, denotes a marked lack of refinement, said Mr Hanson.
8. Choose the right moment to present your gift so that the recipient has sufficient time to gracefully receive it.
9. When presenting a gift, the most tasteful thing to say is what comes from the heart, stated Mr Hanson.
10. Respond with graciousness when thanked. Do not diminish the gift you have presented.
Gifts, The art of gifting, William Hanson, Holiday season
The Spellbinding Allure of Cobalt Blue
How the discovery of mesmerising cobalt blue changed the art world forever.
Beloved by artists throughout the ages, cobalt blue is the epitome of purity and brilliance, evoking both mystery and opulence.
Its elegance emanates from the sleek, minimalist jars of La Prairie’s celebrated Skin Caviar Collection, transporting the admirer to a sanctuary of timeless beauty.
The discovery of the precious colour was as groundbreaking as it was masterful, for it resulted in some of the most cherished artworks in existence.
The sublime pigment was produced at the beginning of the 19th century as an alternative to ultramarine, the traditional and most desirable blue pigment at the time. Made from ground lapis lazuli, a semi-precious stone which hailed from Afghanistan, ultramarine was both scarce and costly.
Bathers at Asnieres
“Artists were in a difficult position when it came to blue,” said Dr. Rosalind McKever, the Harry M. Weinrebe Curatorial Fellow at the National Gallery, London.
“They either had ultramarine, which was very beautiful but very expensive, or blues like smalt, which were more accessible but faded, or those like azurite that had a bit of a green tinge.”
A new blue was needed and French interior minister Jean-Antoine Chaptal commissioned the distinguished chemist Louis-Jacques Thénard to develop a synthetic substitute for ultramarine. Inspired by the arresting blue glazes of Sèvres porcelain made from salts containing cobalt, Thénard experimented with a mix of cobalt salts and alumina.
The result was ravishing — a pure, brilliant blue which was not only extraordinarily stable, it also dried quickly and could be safely mixed with other colours. Despite the new pigment’s relatively high cost, artists quickly embraced it, revelling in the extraordinary freedom it suddenly afforded them.
“If you think of Renaissance art, you often associate bright blues with the Virgin Mary, who was of course painted in the most expensive colour,” asserted Dr. McKever. “Cobalt allowed artists to use blue in a freer way,” she added.
This new-found exuberance had a monumental impact. “The invention of cobalt blue allowed the explosion of bright colour and creativity that we see in Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings,” said Dr. McKever. Renoir, Monet, Morisot, Sisley and Cézanne favoured it in particular.
There are numerous breathtaking examples of the use of cobalt blue in 19th-century paintings on display at the National Gallery, two of which captivate DR. McKever.
Lavacourt under Snow
“One is Renoir’s The Skiff, which is a boating scene on the River Seine, just outside Paris,” she said. “Renoir used bright cobalt blue in the river against a bright orange boat, so that both those colours — based on contemporary colour theory — are far more brilliant for it.
“The other fantastic one is Monet’s Lavacourt under Snow. It’s a snow scene, so you may expect it to be white, but he used cobalt blue to make a wide range of shadows for the snow that give it a real icy feeling.”
The most legendary of colours, cobalt blue continues to be adored by the world’s most distinguished contemporary artists. “It’s a fantastic colour,” summed up Dr. McKever.
Cobalt Blue, Monet, Impressionists, Cézanne, La Prairie, Renoir, National Gallery
The rise of vintage champagne and the ultimate way to savour it.
Served at society’s most elegant events and affairs, vintage champagne — known as millésime — is the epitome of decadence.
The sumptuous wine can only be made when nature surpasses itself and produces a truly outstanding harvest. Only then can champagne houses around the world create and declare a champagne vintage when using just that year’s grapes.
In response to recent rising popularity of millésime, sophisticated fine-wine merchants, restaurants and wine clubs now offer an audacious way of appreciating it, known as a “vertical tasting”. Devotees are offered a series of vintages from a single champagne house, which allows them to savour the distinct characters of each one.
Nick Baker, Founder and Managing Director of The Finest Bubble, a prestige champagne retailer, organises legendary vertical tastings in London attended by avid collectors.
“A vintage champagne by definition is a ‘representation of a single year’ interpreted by the chef de cave/winemaker. And one of the reasons vertical tastings exist is to highlight the vintage characteristics,” he stated.
Vertical tastings can also be used to showcase the “magnum effect” — how champagne in a magnum is subtly more complex and ages more slowly. The effect is so sublime that Nick recommends buying magnums from select outstanding years — such as 1996, 2002 and 2008 — as they are the perfectly-sized bottle suited to age vintage champagne.
Rare and precious, truly exceptional vintage champagnes are fetching exceedingly high prices at auction. One of the highlights of Sotheby’s 2012 sale of Krug — a champagne known for its astonishing purity and precision — was a six-magnum vertical of Krug Clos du Mesnil. It sold for $42,875 — more than twice its highest estimate.
“Usually collectors are champagne lovers,” stated Stephen Mould, Sotheby’s Head of Wine, Europe. “They tend to be quite wealthy. They might be entrepreneurs; they might even be in the wine business themselves. Buyers come from throughout the world and are attracted to things that they can’t get easily elsewhere. Champagne is made in quite large quantities, but some vintages are not readily available, even from the 80s, 70s and 60s. When you get older than that they can be quite rare.”
These extraordinary wines — the result of an exquisite fusion of nature and science — are the ultimate in luxury. Each sip is a transcendental experience for the senses. Inspired by this world of rarefied indulgence, La Prairie has produced a limited edition of Skin Caviar Luxe Cream Millésime, infused with a special blend of caviar in celebration of the 30th anniversary of Skin Caviar Collection.
vintage champagne, Krug, Sotheby’s, La Prairie, Millésime
Mastering the Art of Caviar
Celebrate 30 years of magical caviar with audacious La Prairie.
Rare and sumptuous, caviar has been the ultimate in decadence since the time of the Tsars, evoking an elite world of fine living, nobility and opulence. The epitome of pleasure and tasteful indulgence, the sophisticated luxury is endlessly coveted. In a poetic reflection of its refined status, the delicacy’s luminescent beads glimmer like precious pearls that could never be replaced.
Caviar hails from the mysterious depths of cobalt blue seas. Deep within these pristine waters lies an enchanted place where nature performs miracles. Thirty years ago, La Prairie discovered one of them — caviar is the key to a world of beauty with no temporal limits.
The luxury skincare brand broke the codes of luxury and became the first to use the unparalleled potency of caviar as a privileged indulgence for the skin. Elevating science to an art, in 1987 La Prairie launched its Skin Caviar Collection, a paragon of refinement infused with the restorative powers of caviar, a magical source of rich nutrients.
The innovation was as audacious as it was masterful, showcasing La Prairie’s devotion to sourcing rare and precious ingredients to hold back time.
The Skin Caviar Collection transcended all expectations and quickly became an iconic elixir of longevity. “Since the launch of La Prairie Skin Caviar, the level of luxury beauty products was raised to the highest point,” stated the Luxury Activist website.
With a truly unique combination of Swiss precision, scientific innovation and daring, La Prairie has constantly expanded the celebrated collection.
Harnessing the unparalleled firming and lifting benefits of caviar, the brand has produced ever more artful interpretations, such as Skin Caviar Eye Complex and Skin Caviar Liquid Lift.
The brand’s latest innovation, Skin Caviar Absolute Filler, captures the most elusive ingredients in caviar and combines them to enhance their potency. Harper's Bazaar is more than impressed. “All things considered, it's one of the most luxurious and effective moisturizers I've ever slathered on my skin,” the publication affirmed.
The entire collection includes La Prairie’s legendary Exclusive Cellular Complex, which utilises cutting-edge science to enliven the very cells where beauty is born.
Since its miracle inception, the Skin Caviar Collection has remained the luxury of choice, revered as the quintessence of effectiveness fused with indulgence. Each product — from silky serums to lavish creams — transports its owner to a place of exquisite extravagance simply by gracing the skin.
Now is the time to join La Prairie as it celebrates 30 glorious years of artful indulgence, and honour the extraordinary wonder that is caviar — a rarefied gift of timeless beauty.
Caviar, La Prairie, skincare, luxury, Skin Caviar Collection
Swiss Science: A Passion for Knowledge
How a Swiss scientist is unlocking the secrets of the universe.
Deep within one of the world's biggest and most respected centres for scientific research, particle physicist Alison Lister is on a quest to unlock the secrets of the universe.
Her audacious endeavours take place at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, near Geneva. The legendary Swiss laboratory is home to the world's largest and most complex scientific instruments used to study the basic constituents of matter — the fundamental particles of life.
It was at CERN that the World Wide Web was invented in 1989, and the long-sought Higgs boson subatomic particle was discovered in 2012, hailed as one of the greatest triumphs of science.
“We were all part of the discovery,” asserted Alison. “I think the actual triumph was a combination of the great physicists who thought of the idea of the Higgs mechanism and the cumulative efforts over many years to find it.”
Alison believes that Switzerland’s fortuitous location at the crossroads of Europe, along with its exceptional quality of life, are behind the country’s long and noble tradition of being at the forefront of science and innovation. CERN has always explored the world not only through science but through art — a vision shared with La Prairie.
Arts at CERN, its leading art and science programme, promotes an inspired dialogue between artists and particle physicists, both of whom examine existence and what it is to be human.
“Art has always mattered and always will,” Alison stated. “It’s a way of expressing life, emotions — even science — in ways which transcend words.”
Born in Switzerland to two CERN physicists, Alison works on the 7,000-tonne ATLAS detector which probes the fundamental particles.
The detector is at the awe-inspiring Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator, which forms a 27 kilometre-long underground ring.
Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies. The beams are made to collide with each other, or stationary targets, while detectors observe and record the results of these collisions.
“There’s still 95 percent of the universe yet to be discovered,” Alison declared. “Dark matter, for example, is something we know is out there, but until we can produce it in the lab, or detect it somehow on earth, we won’t know what it’s made of. It’s a really amazing time to be alive.”
As a poetic balance to her groundbreaking scientific research, Alison spends much of her down time immersed in the timeless beauty of the magnificent Swiss Alps. While hiking or skiing these natural wonders, she enters a rarified world where time stands still. These quiet moments, encased in pristine Swissness, nurture her soul, giving her the inspiration to continue solving the enigmas of the universe.
CERN, Higgs boson, Large Hadron Collider, Science, Alison Lister
La Prairie Invites: Audemars Piguet
For its first edition of La Prairie Invites, the premier luxury skincare brand talks to Audemars Piguet about the beauty of timelessness.
Just like La Prairie, Audemars Piguet has been inextricably linked to art from its very beginnings. With a shared vision for audacity, unparalleled aesthetics and timelessness, both luxury Swiss brands have a partnership with Art Basel — the world's premier modern and contemporary art fair — which has shows in Basel, Hong Kong and Miami.
Audemars Piguet, one of the world's most celebrated luxury watch manufacturers, has mastered the art of perfection with rule-breaking innovation.
In 1972 — 97 years after its birth — the Swiss brand dared to do the unthinkable. As part of an eternal quest to combine artistic excellence and technical expertise, Audemars Piguet launched a watch that rocked the tranquil waters of horology. It transcended the inelegant confines of the average sports watch to produce a masterpiece of opulence and engineering.
The Royal Oak was both sporty and infinitely beautiful. Treated with the reverence of gold, its steel case had an astonishing lustre. The bezel was a groundbreaking octagonal shape and the dial’s tapisserie pattern captivated with its ability to reflect light. With its audacious design and breathtaking craftsmanship, the Royal Oak entered the elite club of timeless classics.
Based in the Vallée de Joux, known as the cradle of fine watchmaking, the brand continues to be revered for its innovation and sophistication. It still inspires the Royal Oak’s devoted followers with regular updates and produces a limited 40,000 watches per year to ensure exclusivity across all its collections.
“I believe that luxury products have almost become a philosophical refuge from the pace of today’s world,” asserted Chadi Gruber, Audemars Piguet’s head of product development. “Luxury means taking your time in a world where everything is too fast. We are proposing a slow perfection.”
Luxuries not only make time appear to stand still — they can also produce a poetic resonance.
“The creativity of our designs and movements, and the painstaking precision and rarity of our materials, provide an escape from pure vital needs,” stated Chadi.
“We create objects that allow you to travel internally, like art does. We’re here to create emotions and make people travel outside the purely material and technological world. You can see the artist’s soul in its work and for me it’s the same thing for our watches. They include a part of the artisan’s soul. I often make the analogy between our watches and art because, for me, a watch is a painting that you wear on your wrist.”
The birthplace of the brand, Switzerland has become synonymous with luxury, elegance and precision because of its centuries-old culture of embracing seriousness, refusing to compromise on quality and valuing hard work, Chadi stated.
The industrious character of the Swiss, along with the harsh weather, helped them to become world leaders in horology, as farmers with a penchant for precision turned to watchmaking during the long winters.
Today, Audemars Piguet continues to create timeless elegance by never forgetting its rich past and having a vision for the future.
How does it manage to keep ahead of time?
“I would say we’re perfectly on time. We just know it before others,” declared Chadi.
Audemars Piguet, Time, Luxury, Swiss Watches, Art Basel, Royal Oak
Majestic Matterhorn: Behind the Lens
A symbol of eternity and audacious beauty, the Matterhorn is the iconic image of Switzerland — one that represents La Prairie.
Such is the mountain’s breathtaking allure, it has been an inspiration to countless artists for centuries. John Ruskin, the great Victorian art critic and social commentator, declared it “the most noble cliff in Europe”. He not only painted the Matterhorn, he also took the first photograph of it in 1849.
The majestic mountain continues to captivate artists and audiences today.
Nenad Saljic’s haunting black-and-white photographs of the mountain have earned him two National Geographic Awards, and resulted in the honour of being named Professional Landscape Photographer of the Year at the 2013 Sony World Photography Awards.
Nenad, who was born in Croatia, became enraptured with mountaineering on a school hiking trip when he was only 12 years old. Seven years later, he climbed Mont Blanc. But it wasn’t until his 40s that Nenad first set eyes on the bewitching Matterhorn Mountain.
“That was love at first sight,” admitted Nenad, who now lives in Zermatt, which boasts arresting views of the mountain. In 2009, he first began photographing the Matterhorn, a project that lasted several years until 2015.
The fulfilling endeavour resulted in several thousand portraits and his book "Matterhorn: Portrait of a Mountain." It features 43 black-and-white duotone photographs accompanied by a timeline of the most significant events in the Matterhorn’s history.
Photo credit: Nenad Saljic
“There are several aspects of the Matterhorn that have attracted me,” Nenad pronounced. “Artistically, it is one of the world’s most magnificent mountains – with its pyramidal shape and solitary position it could be considered an ideal mountain. The Matterhorn even produces its own banner clouds due to the special atmospheric conditions.”
Nenad is also attracted to its rich history. The Matterhorn had long been deemed inaccessible, and it remained unclimbed long after most of the other great Alpine peaks had been reached. Edward Whymper finally conquered the mountain in 1865, marking the end of the golden age of Alpinism.
“The triumph and tragedy of this feat marks the epitome of our human desire to explore and venture beyond our limitations, simultaneously reminding us of how great and how small we are,” asserted Nenad. “The Matterhorn is a product of geological processes that transcend human beings and our concept of time.”
Photo credit: Nenad Saljic
A trained mountaineer and caver, he has never climbed a mountain that has had such a pull on him. “I think there is a Buddhist saying that the best view of a mountain is not from the top, because once you are on the summit you cannot see the mountain itself. This is a nice philosophical excuse, at least,” he stated.
Eternally captivated, Nenad finds that time gradually slows down when he is working, and eventually seems to stop entirely.
Matterhorn, Switzerland, Photography, Artist, Nenad Saljic, Art, Portrait of a Mountain
The Art of Caviar
Caviar has long been a symbol of decadence. Glinting like black pearls, it belongs to a rarified world of luxury and indulgence.
La Prairie turned to this precious ingredient for its unique restorative powers to launch its celebrated Skin Caviar Collection 30 years ago. It was an audacious move for the brand, which was the first to use the rare potency of caviar in skincare products.
To mark the 30th anniversary of the iconic Skin Caviar, La Prairie has collaborated with a group of equally audacious contemporary artists to produce an exhibition that masterfully evokes the world of caviar.
Paul Coudamy’s Living Cells, which was unveiled at Art Basel this year, is a geometric structure of lacquered steel and magnets, defined through the mathematical formula known as Weaire-Phelan. Shiny black magnetised marbles – reminiscent of caviar – colonise the structure in clusters. The volume of the piece is in constant flux as the marbles can be moved, creating new, unique forms.
Solid Frequencies, a second work by Mr Coudamy, takes its cue from the Kundt Tube, a scientific device that displays sound waves in an air-filled, transparent tube. It features a large black form pierced by a glass tube filled with small marbles, inspired by the beads of La Prairie’s Skin Caviar. When the piece is touched, the marbles move, generating three-dimensional shapes that flow back and forth through the tube following the hand’s movement.
Moving Pixel, an installation by Bonjour Lab, was inspired by the spectacular lifting effect of La Prairie’s Skin Caviar Liquid Lift. The golden beads form a silhouette frozen in time and space for a brief moment, resisting both time and gravity.
Cinq Fruits celebrates La Prairie’s eternal quest for indulgence and timeless beauty with photographs evoking the iconic Skin Caviar Luxe Cream and Luxe Cream Sheer while showcasing the brand’s artistic sensibilities.
And finally, an audiovisual installation by TremensS echoes the way La Prairie uses steam distillation to capture Caviar Water, which is used in Skin Caviar Essence-in-Lotion. The artwork is housed in a pitch-black room where a laser hits a vertical monolith. Four video-projectors cast abstract visuals that interact with the laser, while sound heightens the immersive experience.
The five valiant art installations will travel to Paris, New York, Hong Kong and Shanghai where visitors will witness art and science coming together in an inspiring and daring union.
Paul Coudamy, Bonjour Lab, Cinq Fruits, TremensS, Paris, Art, Exhibition, Art of Caviar, Contemporary Art