Episode 03

La Prairie’s Intrinsic Link with Art

By Whitewall
Whitewall Presents, November 30, 2018
Chapter 1

A Mix of Swissness, Audacity, and Luxury

La Prairie

This week in Miami for Art Basel, La Prairie will debut a new commission by architect Mario Botta. The special project marks the Swiss luxury skincare brand’s second year partnering with the leading contemporary art fair.

In Basel, Hong Kong, and Miami over the years, La Prairie has debuted unique, site-specific works by artists like Paul Coudamy, Julian Charrière, and Manon Wertenbroek. Botta’s interactive Archisculpture may be the most ambitious installation to date, timed with the release of La Prairie’s new Platinum Rare Cellular Life-Lotion.

La PrairieManon Wertenbroek in the studio.
La PrairiePaul Coudamy

La Prairie has long held a connection to the worlds of art and design. Its Swiss heritage creates an obvious reference point to architecture icons like Le Corbusier, Herzog & de Meuron, and now Botta, as well—seen in La Prairie’s sleek packaging and minimalist retail spaces. Even artists like Niki de Saint Phalle, and her use of cobalt blue, have inspired the immediately recognizable bright blue of the brand’s Caviar Collection.

CEO Patrick Rasquinet spoke with Whitewall about La Prairie’s commitment to contemporary art and design.

WHITEWALL: Art Basel in Miami Beach marks La Prairie’s second year partnering with the international fair. How has the partnership strengthened the brand’s link to the art world?

PATRICK RASQUINET: La Prairie has always had an organic link to the world of arts. Our partnership with Art Basel is based on the common values of luxury, Swissness, and audacity. La Prairie offers a new perspective on skincare and this partnership has given us an opportunity to embrace the art world’s values while paying tribute to our Swiss origins. This particular approach to aesthetics and luxury resonates with our clients and elevates the approach to skincare.

Through the global partnership and our presence at all three fairs, we now have the opportunity to develop more collaborations with artists and institutions. This helps us create an emotional and authentic link with our audience and express our approach to timeless beauty in a unique way.

La PrairiePatrick Rasquinet

WW: La Prairie has now commissioned artists like Paul Coudamy, Julian Charrière, and Manon Wertenbroek. How have these collaborations enriched La Prairie?

PR: The artists are our new ambassadors. Each artistic collaboration is for us an opportunity to reveal a story about our brand and our collections. It is an organic encounter between the artist and our brand that celebrates our values and heritage. Each collection has a story: light for White Caviar, indulgence for Skin Caviar and time for Platinum—that is a rich territory for artists.

Last year in Art Basel in Basel, the collaboration with Paul Coudamy was the occasion to celebrate the 30th anniversary of our icon: Skin Caviar.  His piece, fusing science and technology, was one of the five art installations that formed our exhibition celebrating caviar in different forms, “The Art of Caviar,” which traveled to Paris, New York, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Zürich.

This year, as a celebration of our Swiss heritage, we commissioned Swiss artists to unveil their artistic interpretation of our brand. First, Julian Charrière revealed the power of light in a mesmerizing video installation Light Upon an Imaginary Space at Art Basel in Hong Kong. Later, in Basel, Manon Wertenbroek created three photographic pieces paying tribute to the cobalt blue of our Skin Caviar icon in an artistic dialogue with Niki de Saint Phalle.

These collaborations are a great way for our brand to promote young emerging artists that share our brand’s values and aesthetics. Each collaboration has brought to the brand a unique expression that enhances our philosophy of fusing art and science.

La PrairieJulian Charrière's "Light Upon an Imaginary Space."
La PrairieInstallation view of Manon Wertenbroek within the La Prairie Pavilion at Art Basel 2018.

Chapter 1 — Noteworthy

La Prairie

This is the second year of La Prairie's partnership with Art Basel.

La Prairie

"Our partnership with Art Basel is based on the common values of luxury, Swissness, and audacity," said CEO Patrick Rasquinet.

La Prairie

La Prairie has debuted unique, site-specific works by artists like Paul Coudamy, Julian Charrière, and Manon Wertenbroek.

Chapter 2

Mario Botta’s Immersive Archisculpture

La Prairie

For La Prairie, architect Mario Botta created an immersive structure within the brand’s pavilion for Art Basel’s Collector’s Lounge. The full-scale installation is comprised of wooden slates that curve form what he calls, an Archisculpture, meant to be admired from both outside and within. At the heart of the piece is the ultimate pursuit—the search for the origin of life.

WHITEWALL: Can you tell us about how the collaboration with Mario Botta began?

PATRICK RASQUINET: For Art Basel in Miami Beach, La Prairie pursues its series of collaborations with Swiss artists using different art mediums. For this edition, we explore architecture for the first time.

Mario Botta’s close affinity with the School of Bauhaus—also the guiding aesthetic of La Prairie—means the collaboration was a natural fit for us. Platinum’s latest creation explores the origin of life to celebrate Haute-Rejuvenation. We sought to isolate and capture the power at the heart of the rejuvenation process. It is this life force that inspired us to enter into this very special artistic collaboration with Mario Botta.

La PrairieMario Botta
Photo by Nicola Gnesi, courtesy of Fondazione Henraux

WW: What we can expect from Botta’s Archisculpture?

PR: The Archisculpture—at once a sculpture and a structure—captures the essence of where life begins. The full-scale sculptural installation is not only meant to be observed and admired from the exterior, but also to be entered into and experienced from its core. It represents a moment to experience the return to the origin, enhanced further by a pulsating audio composition. The space sets a particular condition, a moment frozen in time. It offers a completely uncommon, enveloping experience that underscores the origins of life.

WW How does his exploration of the origins of life through design, do you think, relate to La Prairie’s mission?

PR: Mario Botta’s work represents a unique symbiosis of rationalism, modernism, an awareness of history, an homage to the surrounding landscape and an emphasis on the poetic nature of the construction. Just as La Prairie emphasises the beauty of design and potent efficacy in each of its creations, Mr Botta’s work is the quintessence of form and function.

Mario BottaMario Botta sketches Archisculpture

WW: Can you tell us about La Prairie’s involvement with Botta’s newly designed Fondazione Teatro dell’Architettura? 

PR: The new Theatre of Architecture is an innovative cultural center designed by Mr Botta: a laboratory of ideas, a place of experimentation. In honour of Mr Botta’s continued dedication to the importance of the shared experience of art, La Prairie has made a donation to the Fondazione Teatro dell’Architettura. This contribution to a cultural institution is the natural progression of La Prairie’s continued engagement and presence in the world of Contemporary art.

WW: The installation in Miami also marks the impending release of the Platinum Rare Cellular Life-Lotion. Can you tell us about this new product from the Platinum Collection?

PR: For the Platinum Rare Collection, we draw inspiration from our heritage: the original Clinique La Prairie and its famous cellular rejuvenation therapies. By using only the best ingredients, raw and precious components, audacious innovations, we are applying the same principles as other luxury maisons. We therefore created the new philosophy of Haute-Rejuvenation, unique to the Platinum Rare Collection that transmits pure craftsmanship. It is the high art of reigniting a youthful appearance.

We decided to launch the Platinum Rare Cellular Life-Lotion to optimise the Haute-Rejuvenation skincare ritual with a pre-serum lotion that offers the first step for skin’s total rejuvenation. The Platinum Rare Cellular Life-Lotion elevates the skincare ritual to another level.

WW: Outside of La Prairie’s activation at Art Basel, what else are you looking forward to during Miami Art Week?

PR: Being myself an art aficionado, I am very much looking forward to discovering new artists and to rediscovering some of my favorites, surrounded by the dazzling energy of Miami Beach.

La Prairie
La Prairie's Platinum Rare Cellular Life-Lotion

Chapter 2 — Noteworthy

La Prairie

This week in Miami for Art Basel, La Prairie will debut a new commission by architect Mario Botta.

La Prairie 18-10-24 Mario Botta16782

At the heart of the piece is the ultimate pursuit—the search for the origin of life.

La Prairie

The installation in Miami also marks the impending release of the Platinum Rare Cellular Life-Lotion.

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