Imagine being abducted by aliens in the middle of the night, beaming into the eerie monochrome interiors of a colossal spaceship. You are placed on a bench in a spherical capsule, fearing the worst – but there is no probe. Here there is only premium skin care. You’re wrapped in a warm towel, a pleasant-smelling ointment smeared on your face. Wait a minute. This is not an alien spaceship at all! You are actually in a new spa called Formoral in Hangzhou, China, designed by lialawlab.
Although technically located on Earth, these interiors are truly out of this world. If they remind you of ’70s sci-fi movies like the original Star wars trilogy, that’s because the designers took inspiration from pop culture retro-futurism for the concept, updating the aesthetic for the 21st century. Specifically, the lialawlab team envisioned the space as a ‘series of space scenes’ that set the tone for customers entering Formoral, the flagship location of an independent skincare brand with an emphasis. on medical science and the fusion of nature and technology.
The space is designed to give visitors the impression of exploring a laboratory on a pristine “desert planet”. Instead of showcasing their products in an ordinary retail setting, Formoral wanted the store to be more of an experience that tells the story of their brand. Sculptural elements overlap, such as ceiling slices inlaid with LED lighting, diagonal planes that break up the vertical space and arched doors leading to the treatment rooms. To create this effect, the designers used a combination of smooth surfaces and textured gray paintwork evoking a meeting of organic and man-made materials.
The arc shape seen throughout the space is a unifying design element that repeats in different shapes and sizes. The largest, with a radius of almost 100 feet, constitutes the entire roof. Delineating different functional areas with these rounded, undulating shapes makes the 1,300 square foot space appear much larger than it actually is.
The lialawlab team explains that: âA rising “planet”, a futuristic tunnel covered in matte silver foil and aluminum plates, and two cabin doors along the tunnel connect the eight functions, including brand display, skin testing and product sales, rest and communication, events and demonstration, self care and laundry, offices, product storage and a break room for employees, all helping to designate ‘the interior âandâ exterior âand to define the public and private domains.
“To trigger people’s desire to explore space, [we] dug a space 200 millimeters wide at the height of 1.25 meters of the massive sphere and tunnel. The space is complemented by mirrored material, allowing guests to stay, marvel, watch and rest. It also provides visual continuity so that staff can better serve customers.
The skin care center is located in a shopping mall, which makes it even more of a marvel. Who doesn’t wish they could sometimes escape to another planet? Lialawlab’s design has been so well received so far, it has even been nominated for a 2021 World Interiors News Award in the “Independent Stores or Small Chains” category.