While advertising campaigns would have us believe cosmetics products are exotic blends of pixie tears and the juice of Elizabeth Hurley, magically formulated by white-coated yet artistic lab alchemists, the truth is likely to be found in a factory akin to the one opposite platform 2 at Warrington Bank Quay train station. Modern life is tough going on our skin. The sad truth is that many mainstream cosmetics leave complexions looking more Aunt Sally than the future Mrs Shane Warne. Allergies are on the rise, city living takes its toll; it all adds up to a big blotch on the facial landscape.
That’s where Helicosm comes in. Clément Sauvet, the company creator, “wanted to create a brand that banishes the chemical ingredients of conventional cosmetics and respects both the consumer and their environment.” His company invites cosmetic creation by the public themselves, offering a bespoke solution to your skincare chin-scratching. But when your workshop is in Paris’s 1st arrondissement (the bit with the Louvre in), you need a space that is more laboratoire than lab.
FREAKS freearchitechture is a collaboration of three architects (Guillaume Aubry, Cyril Gauthier, and Yves Pasquet) who have pooled their collective experiences of design projects across multiple continents and are now focusing their expertise on Paris, a city which knows a little bit about style. Working on a relatively small budget for the size of the space to be reworked, the trio set about concentrating the workshop experience on a central unit, at which patrons work to create their own naturally-sourced cosmetic products. (Careless chemists can relax – specially-trained staff are on hand to ensure there are no unwanted acid-peels produced.)
Perhaps the most striking element to the cool-mint hued workshop space is the steel print scene located at one end of the main area, transporting visitors from urban Paris to the “dislocated reality” of a mountain scene. The effect is striking, and much safer than LSD. There’s also a pleasant relaxation space for when you can no longer tell your exfoliating scrub from your elbow.
So if your boyfriend fails to propose on your next trip to Paris, or worse, if he tries to choke you by hiding an engagement ring in your souffle, you know how he can make it up to you. With make-up.