At Shanghai’s Power Station of Art, guests travel through a responsive, interactive seascape, into the heart of the La Mer brand.

For La Mer China, a luxury cosmetics brand and subsidiary of Estée Lauder, Patten Studio used a range of media to synthesize an immersive seascape in five installations. Projection mapping, kinetic sculpture, sound, and light came together to form a multi-sensory, interactive experience that introduced millennial Chinese consumers to La Mer’s brand narrative. Located in Shanghai’s Power Station of Art, Edge of the Sea thought beyond the usual parameters of a brand activation, and created a delightful, interactive experience that transfixed the brand’s target audience.

Edge of the Sea told the story of La Mer’s signature Creme de la Mer and the 6,000 experiments that physicist Max Huber conducted to produce the Miracle Broth at the heart of the cream’s formula. Guests to Edge of the Sea were also invited inside a cinematographic collaboration between father-daughter photographers Mario and Gray Sorrenti that shared the exhibition’s name. Creative branding agency School House reached out to Patten Studio to develop a series of interactive installations that would help to achieve this storytelling—and ultimately, make Edge of the Sea responsive to the “current” generated by guests passing through the exhibition.

Patten Studio’s team of multidisciplinary artists and technologists created the visuals, hardware, and software that brought Edge of the Sea to life. Fans, depth cameras, and custom motor controllers created a reactive, floating sculpture made of silk that undulated like an ocean wave. Custom motion tracking software and projection mapping allowed guests to wander a shoreline that rippled and foamed underfoot, and to relax in a garden of kelp stirred by human movement. A panorama of glass bottles filled with kinetic tinctures were activated by magnetic stirrers, foggers, and air bubblers to evoke the 6,000 experiments that led to Max Huber’s Miracle Broth. Finally, an immersive video chamber invited guests into the collaboration between Mario Sorrenti and his daughter Gray.

Edge of the Sea bridged guests’ online and offline experience by allowing them to “check-in” to the exhibition through WeChat by scanning a QR code. In just 10 days, the activation attracted 20,000 visitors and generated in excess of 1 billion social media impressions for La Mer. According to La Mer’s parent company Estée Lauder, strong sales and earnings in China have primarily been driven by marketing and promotional events like this one. Patten Studio won the Communication Arts 2021 Interactive Annual Award for outstanding work in interaction design for the Edge of the Sea installations.


Patten Studio
Interactive Design, Visual Design, Content, Software, Electronics, Mechatronics, Fabrication, Installation
  • La Mer
  • School House
    Interior Design, Concept, Creative Direction
  • Luciforma
    Lighting Design
  • APAX
    Contractor, Production, Fabrication, Installation
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