Rajeunir Black Caviar develops high-end skin-care product collections that harness the reviving properties of its namesake ingredient to offer customers the promise of youthful, glowing skin. Sold in sculptural, Brâncuși-esque black-and-gold vessels, the products were only available for purchase online until 2014, when the Los Angeles–headquartered company built its first brick-and-mortar location in Houston’s Galleria Mall.
Its brand established through an online presence and eye-catching packaging, Rajeunir tasked Los Angeles–based Studio Jantzen and associate designer Chandler Ahrens of Open Source Architecture (O-S-A) with translating this identity into the design of its physical stores. “Rajeunir wanted the brand to be reflected in the architecture of the interior, which required a different approach than the typical retail project,” says Christof Jantzen, FAIA, principal of Studio Jantzen.
Sculptural and engaging displays
With a dual emphasis on technology and luxury, the design team conceived a prototype for the 700-square-foot Houston store, wrapping the walls with a sinuous system of custom millwork developed through parametric design and digitally fabricated using a CNC mill. They adapted this concept for Rajeunir’s second location (shown here)—a 1,200-square-foot outpost in The Gardens on El Paseo, an upscale outdoor shopping center in Palm Desert, California, approximately 120 miles east of Los Angeles in the Coachella Valley.
Customers enter Rajeunir’s Palm Desert store through a standard glazed storefront, stepping into a sales area that feels decidedly bespoke. The designers thickened and bowed the parallel walls that run the depth of the space to accommodate the millwork system. These thin horizontal layers of MDF plywood, which are alternately painted matte gold and white, have strategically placed oval voids that read as the absence of embedded objects. Some of the cutouts reveal shelving to display products, while others extend deeper to boast black quartz countertops that serve as demo stations where customers can try samples and receive treatments. The millwork system stretches across to the rear wall and encompasses a custom black quartz cash wrap, beyond which is a private treatment room.
“The smooth and continuous surfaces create an analogy to the curvature and tension seen in human skin,” says Jantzen. Julius Tauberg, CEO of Rajeunir, likens the sculpted look of the interior to the rejuvenating effects of the brand’s skin-care collections: “The store is filled with many dimensions, just like your skin as it goes through a transformation from utilizing these luxury products.”
To maintain focus on the goods and the act of pampering, the designers rendered the remaining surfaces in white. Walls transition seamlessly to the ceiling plane with subtle coves, and additional storage is concealed beneath the millwork. Recessed bases cast light shadows along the white porcelain tile floor. Spotlights placed within millwork highlight displays, and additional fixtures recessed into the ceiling create a pattern that evokes stars in the night sky.
While the design concept that Studio Jantzen and O-S-A created for the Houston store had to be adapted to fit the new context in Palm Desert, one constant remains true for both: “The Rajeunir store is not like any other store in the mall,” maintains Tauberg. “And that is exactly what we want.”
who Architect: Studio Jantzen. Associate designer: Open Source Architecture (O-S-A). Project team: Christof Jantzen (Studio Jantzen); Chandler Ahrens (O-S-A). Contractor: Global Design and Construction. Consultant: Jam Hezar. Lighting/graphics: Studio Jantzen; O-S-A. Engineering: Peter Erdelyi & Associates (structural); AW HVAC Engineering (MEP). what Paint: Sherwin-Williams. Hard flooring: Arizona Tile. Recessed lighting: HALO. Task lighting: Cooper Lighting. Fluorescent/industrial: Foscarini. Sconces: Bruck Lighting. Doors: Blumcraft. Countertops: Caesarstone. Architectural/custom woodworking: Eric J. Arnold; LDI Studio. Plumbing fixtures/ fittings: Duravit; Kohler.