From Nature to City: Ruining Zhang's Design Vision on Le Labo Perfumes

Le Labo

In a world where luxury and fashion often seem at odds with sustainability, Le Labo stands out as an example of harmony and peace. It infuses the delicate fragrances of the natural world with a commitment to environmental responsibility.

Ruining Zhang, a professional graphic designer, drew inspiration from Le Labo's commitment to nature as she embarked on a mission to infuse the brand's essence into the architectural realm by conceptualizing a city-based boutique hotel. Her innovative vision earned her recognition in several categories at the MUSE Awards, notably in Typography - Use of Typography, Personal Work, and Environmental categories.

Zhang named the conceptualized hotel "ODE." In French, "O" signifies praise, embodying the spirit behind Zhang's endeavor. The incorporation of "D" and "E" in the name, derived from the reverse of "O," reflects Zhang's adherence to the wabi-sabi imperfection theory throughout the entire design system. The hotel is situated in Tokyo, chosen not only to align with its wabi-sabi spirit but also to convey traditional Japanese culture.

Each room in the ODE hotel offers a unique olfactory experience, allowing guests to select their room based on scent preferences. This concept is captured in the welcome box provided to guests, which includes small cards featuring different perfume scents. Additionally, the box contains perfume formulas, encouraging guests to engage in DIY perfume-making. This concept reflects the essence of slow living and is further enhanced by a city guide that combines the art of perfume-making with exploration. Guests also have the opportunity to create their own personalized fragrances, embodying the unique essence of the ODE experience.

Another design that makes her project unique and won the MUSE Awards is the lookbook. She used Japanese handmade paper to create a physical output experience for ODE customers. The book introduces the experience at ODE and the background story of Le Labo. She designed the grid system based on the ODE logotype, with one column on the right side and two columns on the left. 'It's akin to carrying an immersive guide in your pocket; this brochure becomes your passport to delving into the unique experiences that the city and Le Labo have woven together. With it in hand, you're not just a traveler or guest; you're an explorer poised to uncover the hidden delights that await, blending urban charm with natural allure.

"I don't just want to design a hotel; I don't want this building to serve solely as living functionality. My aim is to convey a lifestyle where life slows down, transforming it into more than just accommodations. I envision it as a cultural hub, a boutique that allows individuals to find tranquility and savor the present moment amidst nature," Ruining Zhang passionately articulated. She aims to immerse guests in an unforgettable sensory journey, where every detail reflects the hotel's ethos of embracing imperfection and celebrating the beauty of simplicity.

Navigating the ODE world of wabi-sabi that Ruining Zhang creates, we encounter the beauty of imperfection and natural design. The harmonization with the colors of the trees and the raw, unprocessed aesthetic offers our contemporary society a profound space to immerse ourselves in.