At The Dia Foundation’s Dutchess County, New York, museum, Dia:Beacon, a space inhabited by monumental light-based artworks, Swiss beauty company La Prairie hosted an intimate gathering in celebration of two radiant additions to their ultra-luxe skincare line: White Caviar Illuminating Pearl Infusion, and White Caviar Crème Extraordinaire. Five years of scientific research yielded the pair of elixirs which, when used together, endeavor to effectively promote skin’s luminescence.
It was a day dedicated to light—the ‘it’ factor that makes both skin and art glow. Flanked by Dan Flavin’s emanating sequence of red and blue fluorescent cells from 1970, La Prairie’s head of innovation and research and development, Daniel Stangl, explained the basic science behind the resplendence of healthy skin, and the various biological and environmental factors that impede its brilliance over time.
“What’s the secret behind luminous skin? The answer to this question is expressed in what we call the ‘science of light,’” Stangl explained. “It’s the perception of skin’s luminosity, which depends on the amount of light reflected on the skin.”
Fine lines and wrinkles absorb light rather than reflect it, resulting in lackluster skin devoid of vitality. Likewise, the spectrum of pigmentations that exist naturally throughout the epidermis become bolder and more apparent with time, lending the face an uneven composition. Having isolated light and color as the two principal factors that affect luminosity, Stangl and his team endeavored to effectively “decode” light. They resurfaced with the invention of Lumidose, a mighty, melanin-blocking molecule unlike any other known to skincare researchers, and an equation that defines “light” as “reflection plus color.”
La Prairie’s scientists also identified a quartet of “chromatic disturbances,” or problematic epidermal hues that impede light’s reflection: grey, which emerges on the skin’s top layer due to pollution; yellow, the outcome of protein degradation from overexposure to free radicals; red, the result of broken capillaries due to stress and environmental irritants; and brown, an excess of melanin augmented by the sun’s UV and infrared rays, as well as the blue light emitted from cell phones and computers. By quelling these natural tints and promoting reflection, both White Caviar Illuminating Pearl Infusion and White Caviar Crème Extraordinaire (the latter fortified with Lumidose, the so-called “extraordinary molecule of light”) work to conjure bright, even complexions.
It’s the reflection and the emission of light that fosters beauty by La Prairie’s calculations, and thus Dia:Beacon—which features an extensive collection of light-based works by pivotal artists including Dan Flavin, Mary Corse, and Bruce Nauman—facilitates the brand’s sentiments with congruence. Housed within a former Nabisco box-printing factory, Dia:Beacon relies only on the building’s plentiful sources of natural light to illuminate its vast gallery spaces, each dedicated to a modern master. The museum focuses on major minimalist and conceptualist artists such as Sol LeWitt, Walter De Maria, Robert Smithson, and Michael Heizer, and showcases contemporary artworks created from the 1960s to the present day.
Art has been an integral component of the La Prairie ethos since the brand’s genesis. From the German Bauhaus school of art and architecture to the French-American sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle, artists across disciplines have significantly influenced the brand’s iconic visuals. In 2017, La Prairie announced a new partnership with Art Basel, the world’s leading art fair also founded in Switzerland, and have since then collaborated with photographers, sculptors, painters, and installation artists whose work complements the La Prairie spirit. Most recently, the beauty brand commissioned new work by Korean light and space artist Chul Hyun Ahn for Art Basel Hong Kong in 2019. Ahn forged three light-based installations entitled Transparency, 4 Dots, and Light Drawing, all of which respond to different aspects of La Prairie’s latest research into luminosity.
“Light is a prerequisite for life,” Stangl reminded his audience at Dia:Beacon. “Light [is what] reveals beauty.”
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