A stunning colour-changing canopy of 182 LED light boxes deemed the ‘jewel in the crown’ of a global beauty brand’s Paris flagship store is being hailed a triumph by the two UK companies that developed and manufactured it and brought it to life.
It was revealed when Sephora re-opened its prestigious store on the Champs-Elysees following a multi-million Euro renovation project; the culmination of an 15-month collaboration between the beauty brand and Unibox, the UK’s biggest manufacturer of aluminium and LED-based solutions for retail spaces, exhibitions and commercial interiors, and Intecho, a leading provider of SMART building technology solutions.
The project began when Unibox was contacted by Reda Slaoui, Sephora’s Director of Architecture and Design, regarding the renovation programme for the listed building, to ask if the firm could make the vision of a thematic canopy a reality after seeing a bespoke Unibox design manufactured for a development in London.
While Unibox adopted and developed the concept for manufacturing, Intecho’s brief was to devise and implement a comprehensive arrangement of lighting controls, featuring its DALI DIMMING system for precise and dynamic lighting management, for both the canopy and the lighting throughout the rest of the store.
The 82m canopy is capable of multiple thematic animations, such as mesmerising black and white Sephora stripes that chime with its brand image, as well as a rainbow LGBT Pride and red, white and blue Bastille Day-themed displays among others. New animations can be designed remotely and uploaded to the Paris store from the UK.
Paul Murphy, Intecho director and co-founder, who was in Paris for store re-opening, says: “The end result is stunning. The first thing everybody did when they walked into the store was to look up at the canopy. It breathes life into the space, creating a perfect ambiance for everyone who enters.
“We were thrilled to collaborate with Unibox and Sephora, leaving an indelible mark on their flagship store. The vision for this project was to elevate the visitor experience through innovative technology solutions. This project has set a new global standard for luxury shopping.”
Representatives from Unibox, which is based in Middleton, Greater Manchester, and Intecho, based in Knutsford, Cheshire, now plan to display a smaller scale working replica of the canopy when they exhibit at the LiGHT23 trade show in London later this month.
Unibox Director Nick Wraith says: “We pride ourselves on our ability to create things others can’t, and the Sephora project is a case in point.
“From the initial enquiry until the store opening, it took an immense amount of ingenuity and innovation to make the idea into a working reality.
“We had to create solutions to some complex and specific requests, such as lux level and efficacy, the need to make the lightboxes RGBW, include access hatches for maintenance and take the store’s air extraction and fire suppression systems into account in the design. There was also a glass firewall we had to meet and then continue the canopy on the other side. These were all problems that we were able to solve.”
With Sephora planning to open more stores in the UK in 2024, the Unibox sales team who worked on the Paris project, are now in talks with the beauty brand’s parent company to supply more bespoke lighting solutions.
Nick Wraith adds: “Specialist projects like this are a major part of what we do, but for every bespoke solution we create, we look at the potential to adapt it for other mainstream solutions. So, by displaying replicas of what we’ve achieved in Paris, and for other projects, at LiGHT23, visitors can speak to our design team so they can show other potential clients how our expertise and collaborations with companies like Intecho can help them. We are totally unique in that respect.”
LiGHT23 takes place on 21st and 22nd November at the Business Design Centre, Islington, London. Unibox and Intecho will be exhibiting on stands U28 & U29.
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Intecho is a leading provider of SMART technology solutions, working with architects, M&E and building services consultants, and developers to help design, deliver and optimise highly efficient buildings that generate occupier demand, reduce energy consumption, and achieve industry recognition for standards such as BREEAM and NABERS UK.
Unibox’s mission is to deliver a range of standard, customisable and bespoke visual communication and LED lighting solutions, all of which are designed to make an impact and engineered to achieve results. We have been working alongside a network of UK and international clients, partners and suppliers to develop aluminium-based solutions for retail environments, exhibition spaces and commercial interiors for more than 30 years.
Sephora is a French multinational retailer of personal care and beauty products with nearly 340 brands, along with its own private label, Sephora Collection, and includes beauty products such as cosmetics, skincare, fragrance, nail colour, beauty tools, body lotions and skincare. Its Champs-Elysees store regularly welcomes in excess of 10,000 visitors a day.