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Not just skin-deep

A travelling exhibition evokes our epidermal selves

Paul Coudamy's Living Cells and Solid Frequencies. Photo: MICHAEL HUARD

Reimagining book shelves with curved angles and protrusions, Paul Coudamy designed Volume Serie under the volume-furniture concept. The French architect's new work serves another industry, translating La Prairie's caviar-infused formula into a towering sculpture titled Living Cells.

Three other contemporary artists are involved in creating works for "The Art Of Caviar" exhibition, which marks the 30th anniversary of the Swiss brand's Skin Caviar collection.

The exhibition's centrepiece, Coudamy's Living Cells, was unveiled at this year's Art Basel, then displayed in Paris and New York before coming to Hong Kong's IFC Mall (where it will be from Sept 29 until Oct 1).

The large geometric steel structure is an interpretation of the new Skin Caviar Absolute Filler -- its clusters of rolling black magnetised marbles reminiscent of the delicacy harvested from sturgeon.

"The idea was to create an invasion of small beads, like caviar has so many beads," Coudamy said of the spiral structure based on the mathematical Weaire-Phelan equation representing foam bubbles.

Its framework lends a large volume of space through a reduced amount of material.

An aesthetic element in beauty as in art, volume contributes to a youthful-looking appearance. The plumping cream features a new skincare technology, caviar absolute obtained through pressing and centrifugation.

Skin Caviar Absolute Filler. La Prairie

Nevertheless, caviar extract remains a key ingredient for the lifting/firming skincare range, first encapsulated in the original Skin Caviar beads introduced in 1987.

These beads are represented by small white marbles in Coudamy's second creation, Solid Frequencies, which takes its cue from the Kundt Tube. The acoustic installation comprises a massive black form pierced by a glass tube filled with the small white marbles making waves through the tube.

"You can see the beads dance and come to life and it's the same when the caviar touches the skin -- it just creates life," he said of how the piece relates to the precious ingredient.

Golden skincare pearls are revealed through a window on the bottle of Skin Caviar Liquid Lift, whose effects have been evoked by the Bonjour Interactive Lab in a digital work called Moving Pixel.

"As a person comes closer to the screen, particles go around his or her silhouette. The particles and caviar beads kind of have the same goal -- they make you feel more bright, more beautiful and more alive," explained a member of the Paris-based creative studio.

Artist/engineer TremensS created an audiovisual installation housed in a pitch-black room, where a powerful laser cuts from corner to corner to hit a massive vertical monolith. Video projectors cast abstract visuals that interact with the laser while sound heightens the experience.

His work echoes La Prairie's steam distillation process to obtain caviar water featured in an essence-in-lotion launched last year.

Formulated in two textures, Skin Caviar Luxe Cream is reflected in a series of photographs by Cinq Fruits, a studio dedicated to art direction, photography and design.

After Hong Kong, the exhibition will travel to Shanghai from Nov 10-12 to round off the 30th anniversary celebration.

Skin Caviar. La Prairie

Skin Caviar Liquid Lift. La Prairie

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