Although French, born and bred, Gwenäel Nicolas has been living in Japan, Tokyo, since 1998. In Tokyo, he founded along with producer Reiko Miyamoto the design studio Curiosity that became over the years a ‘must’ studio for product design, interior and architecture.  

Curiosity has been creating and inventing new design stores from the likes of…Issey Miyake, Uniqlo, Fendi, Moncler, Graff, Moynat, Tod’s, Versace, Tiffany, Dolce & Gabbana, Louis Vuitton, Berlutti…and incredible hotels, spa’s, product designs and many other incredible inventions.

Based on Japanese traditional aesthetics, SENSAI, the Japanese high prestige cosmetics brand keeps fascinating the world.

Who could better embrace the unique spirituality of this Japanese beauty brand and excel on the creation of the SENSAI 1st flagship store with a spa in the world, in Shanghai? 

Curiosity did it. 

The main feature of the shopping area is the chandelier with delicate strings reminiscent of the iconic ingredient of SENSAI cosmetics, “Koishimaru Silk”. The beautiful curve covering over the circular consultation counter naturally attracts customers ‘eyes into the products. The dynamic curve guides the customers to the different areas in the room. Deep matte black on the wall highlights the immaculate silky object, creating an atmosphere of tranquility. Mirror reflection creates two floating large circles on the ceiling, which brings the generous depth to the space.

Omotenashi BAR, offering the customers special wrapping services inspired by four seasons in Japan, is created by terrazzo tile, upcycled material being saved from waste. 

The counter is surrounded by the original chairs created by Curiosity. At the salon space: even in the minimalist color palette, the space offers an exquisite balance between gravity and floating., created by the unique shape of the artwork on the wall. 

The spa area is warmly lit to create a relaxing atmosphere.

The entrance welcomes the guests in the warm lighting with wooden slats, and the glass art created by Shohei Yokoyama Accentuates the space. The dynamic feeling created by delicate fibers with the unique texture is reminiscent of soft silk, yet looks like one-stroke brush paint, raising guests expectations.

After the entrance, the majestic spa is dramatically revealed with two monumental cocoons that alternately illuminate the space in exquisite gradations, like an installation that expresses the extraordinary world of SENSAI.

Guests begin their journey on the welcoming garden walkway and then encounter warm hospitality in the waiting room, which is reminiscent of a traditional tea ceremony. At the waiting room guests can choose from five different fragrances to suit their conditions and moods. At the immersive corridor guests are encouraged to cleanse themselves before the exceptional experience in the treatment rooms. 

The destination is the luxurious treatment rooms, offering the guests the exclusive experience in the warm and comfortable atmosphere. The same icon art creates the comfortable sequence continued from the salon space of the store.

It is designed as an “experience-based concept store.”

Despite being adjacent to the shopping area the spa has a separate entrance to make the spa experience even more special.

By: Mário de Castro

Photo courtesy of KANEBO