In Customer Experiences with Soul Maria and I interview Cris Dios, the Brazilian cosmetologist and entrepreneur who for thirty years has been championing natural hair care and the concept of slow beauty in Brazil, first in 1987 with the opening of the first Laces and Hair beauty salon, and then more recently with the launch of Cris Dios Organics, her line of natural hair care products.
Today sees the opening of Laces and Hair’s new hair spa, Bioma Laces, which has been constructed inside the Villa Lobos shopping centre, situated next to Villa Lobos park, one of the major recreational parks in São Paulo.
Bioma is Portuguese for ‘biome’, a term defined by biologist Neil Allison Campbell as “the world’s major communities, classified according to the predominant vegetation and characterized by adaptations of organisms to that particular environment”. The name was chosen to reflect the way in which Cris sees their new spa as an extension of Villa Lobos park inside the shopping centre, describing it as a “visual extension of the DNA of the park”. It has been really interesting to speak with Cris in recent weeks, following the development of Bioma Laces, for whom it is not simply the next Laces and Hair unit. Far from it, the name was chosen to help explain to clients the fact that Bioma Laces represented the most complete vision and expression of the soul and essence of Laces and Hair.
One of the outstanding features and achievements of Laces and Hair has been their ability to create extraordinary experiences for their clients, providing them with the sensation of being in an oasis, inside the hustle and bustle of a city. So for example the spa features 1200 plants, which architect and landscaper Caroline Elkis brought in to represent the treetops of the park. And engineer Carlos Raiza was tasked with the challenge of bringing natural light into a shopping centre, a technological feat rarely achieved.
Art specialist Adriana Bianchi curated what is possibly the the largest collection of Brazilian furniture in a beauty salon, which includes works by Sérgio Rodrigues, Jorge Zalszupin, Michel Arnoult, Jean Gillo, Florence Knoll and Nadezhda Mendes da Rocha. In addition, artist Armarinhos Teixeira, who already had some of his works exhibited in other units of Laces, has a number of his paintings on display.
The specialist architectural elements would not have been possible without the contributions of architects Marcelo Bicudo, whose signature designs are in two other Laces projects, and Juliemy Machado. The design approach to Bioma Laces perfectly encapsulates the notion of the relationship between the whole and the parts which we write about in Customer Experiences with Soul. Cris expressed this sense of wholeness by explaining that “The plurality of those involved in the project assured me that the Laces experience would be perfectly delivered”.
As I mentioned, it has been amazing to be able to accompany the construction of Bioma Laces from its conception. It is a phenomenal achievement to be able to create such an environment with such a focus not just on the architecture, or the layout, furniture and fixtures, but also to have managed to implement such a sustainable hair spa with sustainable technologies inside a shopping centre which has natural design limitations. Bioma Laces has really pushed the envelope in terms of showing just exactly what can be achieved with entrepreneurial vision and ecological consciousness.
In future articles Maria and I will show how the social and ecological dimensions of Laces and Hair connect systemically with their purpose, values and the design of their customer experience, as well as also documenting the technical aspects of their sustainable technologies, such as water capture and recycling, and renewable energy. But for now we would really like to congratulate the entire Laces team and family, as this is a huge achievement which provides Shopping Villa Lobos with a showcase for sustainable and socially-aware business.
And finally, in this video above, released today, you will hear from all of those involved in the conception, design and launch of Bioma Laces, including Maria and myself who share a few inspirational words and thoughts relating to this new space and experience.