The Superset for Sephora’s Shanghai flagship store uses the retail environment as a hub to connect a broad audience of brand enthusiasts with the in-store population and activities. Self-design and the increasing rate at which images of the body circulate in social media have redirected the space of the industry’s advertising to chat groups, YouTube, niche online fora, and social threads. The Superset operates at the geographic centre of the store. It alternates between selfie photo-booth and live show platform. Pivoting screens, illuminating ring lighting, and reconfigurable satellite furniture comprise an arsenal of ajustable design technologies for an encounter with Sephora that resonates beyond the physical adjacency of West Nanjing Road.
“The cosmetic is the new cosmic,” said Rem Koolhaas in his 2002 essay Junkspace. Fifteen years later, that statement has taken on new, greater dimension, and certainly, the order that has radically expanded that firmament and its economic volume is, arguably, most robust than ever. The cosmetic industry has grown at such a pace that brick and mortar stores struggle to keep pace with the changes in taste, trend, and the demands of displaying product that swaps out several times within the space of a season.