Thierry de Baschmakoff, designer, artistic director—and also strategy consultant for innovation—has innovation “under his skin.” He recently expressed himself on the subject at the Packaging Première trade show in Milan. It was an outstanding performance that projected the audience into an unexpected world, yet one full of promises. de Baschmakoff is known for having a perfect knowledge of luxury brands and of their universe, an excellent mastery of modern creation tools and a proficiency in technologies covering all luxury sectors. He also has a true international vision of the creative processes adapted to regional constraints and a good knowledge of Asian markets.
Jean-Yves Bourgeois: To what is innovation dedicated today? A novel design? A new gesture? New materials? New technologies? Or all of them at the same time?
Thierry de Baschmakoff: In any case, the shortest way to innovation is to combine creativity and design. A designer with no technology is like an artist without a gallery; a beautiful idea in a 3D rendering. And this is even more of a challenge with the 3D printing revolution. Limits no longer exist regarding shapes or concepts, but this technology is limited to small production runs. Let me share with you some innovative concepts or prospective projects where answers are still pending. A concept is innovative when all technologies are identified and it is prospective when it’s not yet feasible and new processes are needed. Because when you look at it, today, materials are no longer a limit to the creative process. Will objects with noble materials last longer? Glass and ceramic? Marble? Cork? Wood? : For example, working with a material such as Surlyn directly with the DuPont teams has helped explore new avenues. Surlyn is now very popular in the beauty industry after having made a name for itself in food packaging, but it could also be very promising for lighting systems, or any type of high-tech project.
JYB: Do you have any concrete achievements of this approach?
TdB: Yes, of course! I worked on the Roll-On concept adapting it to makeup products in general, and more particularly to foundation and lip gloss applicators. It is also possible to design new, not to say ‘revolutionary,’ lip applicators (lipstick, etc.).
Here, we need to bring together a manufacturer of roll-ons—capable of developing balls made of elastomer or of any soft-touch raw material—and a formulation manufacturer that knows how to make lipstick, gloss or any other light texture for the lips. The roll-on offers a potential application that has an impact on the gesture, the comfort and the design, because it frees the user from traditional lip applicator constraints. They lead to objects with a stronger personality and a new consumer experience in terms of sensations.
JYB: Can new digital technologies come into play?
TdB: Undeniably! And I’m sure that a concept around ‘connected makeup’ will see the light of day. Technologies already exist, combining and implementing them together would be enough. Imagine your Smartphone connected to a 3D printer containing color pigments. Simply connecting your applicator directly to the printer, the information sent by your smartphone would infuse your applicator with the desired color. Again, it would just take bringing together the various know-how that potentially exists and which together would result in creating a connected and really effective makeup. And on top of it, this would be a way for brands to have an almost daily contact with consumers.
Innovation will only emerge and succeed in this sector if players see this approach as a genuine source of value-added market development. Why not create an incubator that would support the most original ideas with the ambition of really bringing to life projects in the form of patents or of a ready-to-be-produced concept?
About the Author
Jean-Yves Bourgeois is the principal of JYB Conseils, Paris, and is Beauty Packaging’s European correspondent.