Clarins Urban Oasis

The Big Idea

A world-first beauty experience

To launch Clarins’ new Multi-Active Day and Night creams, we created the Clarins Urban Oasis – a unique and sensory pop-up that stopped busy women in their tracks. With our ground-breaking combination of innovative technology, including 3D projection mapping and real time face tracking, we created a fully immersive consumer journey so powerful, it generated one new product sale a minute.

Scroll to take the consumer journey…

The Exterior

We redefined the pop‑up

To attract our target audience we knew we had to step out of the retail environment and create something truly spectacular. Our ultra-premium glass cube pop-up, the largest ever created of its kind, came to life in style. True to Clarins’ aspirational look and feel, our space was also warm, friendly and inviting – a place that even the busiest of women couldn’t resist.

The Interior

An immersive haven

Inside, we created a physical-digital experience like no other – where beauty met technology – with a connected consumer journey that took women on an exploration of their senses. This included interactive product zones; creatively-styled natural ingredients to encourage ‘touch and play’; and complimentary samples along the way.

The Projection Pod

We turned thousands of faces into canvases

To dramatically reveal the effects women’s busy city lives have on their skin – and demonstrate why Multi-Active should be embraced into their skincare regime – we created a world-first in a consumer experience. At the heart of the Urban Oasis, we brought our skincare story to life, as we projected it onto women’s faces – all in real-time, with no special markers, and with animations that reacted to their movement.

This unique ‘live CGI’ effect was achieved through a combination of pioneering technology, including infra-red depth sensors, custom calibrated projectors, ultrasonic audio and adaptive face-tracking. And the end result was a totally unique experience that brought the science and beauty worlds together in harmony.

The Finale

Inherently social

Our innovative physical experience translated effortlessly into the social sphere, so the brand could live on away from the pod – with a seamless digital takeaway of a personalised animated gif captured from the core projection-mapping experience.

Consumers were directed online to find a personalised email that led them to their unique – and more importantly, shareable – content. In fact, 1 in 5 consumers shared their content, with an OTS of over 100,000, and there were 3.3 million views across Clarins’ channels. Through this personalised interaction online we created lasting connections, with women choosing to spread the Clarins message, organically, with their friends, followers and beyond.

The Technology

Face detection and controlling a mesh

We utilised a face-tracking library and modified it to fit our needs, in terms of the inputs and outputs we received. With a Kinect infra-red camera, we created a simple ‘mesh’ that mapped the individual features of the face, without getting confused by the projections, and all in pitch black. The detection also allowed us to track rotation, yaw and pitch of the user’s face, as well as facial expressions, including the opening and closing of their mouth and the raising and lowering of their eyebrows. With all this detailed tracking data, we could then align it to a more complex and detailed 3D mesh of the face – making it as clever as it sounds.

Texture mapping video

With our detailed mesh now tracking the user's facial size, features and expression, we could then loosely UV map our beautiful textured animations directly onto the face. This mapping meant that the video was ‘fitted’ to the face (as opposed to simply projecting a rectangular plane that would stretch and spoil the final effect). This also allowed us to use the user's facial features as a part of the video. For instance, in one beautiful scene a vine grows around the participant’s eye. The mapping enabled us to mask the user's eyes, dramatically reducing the amount of projected light shining into them as they moved or tilted their head. And that’s what separated our projection-mapping experience from anything before it.

Mapping IR -> 3D -> Real life

Any project of this scale and complexity faces challenges – and our greatest one was aligning the physical world to our 3D world, and vice versa. Our cutting-edge technique made use of the initial calibration and then effectively rendered the scene, twice, in different worlds on the graphics card – making it run at superfast speed. The depth of the Kinect camera was used to provide an additional level of finer detail, and the app also controlled a projector behind the user – so consumers were unaware of the level of technology behind their experience, which allowed them to become completely immersed in their beautiful surroundings.

DSLR Camera

During the session, the app communicated with a manager application responsible for: controlling the state; providing our Clarins Angels with personalised feedback on each experience; and controlling the DSLR camera. This was placed behind a one-way sheet of glass, which meant the user could see both their face and rear projections, while we were able to hide the camera and still take perfect shots of the face during the experience. The communication sent between the projection app and manager allowed the system to make ‘smart’ decisions on when to take the photo. This included assessing several regions of time and checking the user was in frame and looking straight into the camera. After all, the target consumer will only share top-notch selfies, so we had to get the final results spot on.

QR/NFC & Short URL Cards

Once the user completed the face-projection session, they were invited by a Clarins Angel to view their photos on a tablet. Once data was captured from the participant, their images were uploaded to a gallery to search and share. Utilising the NFC abilities of the tablet, a Clarins card was assigned to their unique experience. This served as a way of accessing their content online, and included an embedded NFC, a printed QR and a short URL. The card also allowed the user to visit the ‘print station’ and access their photos to be viewed, printed and treasured.


The personal gallery showing a user's photos included a video that was stitched together with the images that were uploaded. It also allowed them to share the content with their friends, family and followers online. Back at the experience itself, recent users’ photos were added to a ‘welcome screen’ at the front of the experience, enticing passers-by into the cube.
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The Results

We changed how women felt about their skin

30 day UK tour
6000+ participants
1 new sale per minute
Drove 42% in store
1 in 5 participants shared
to social media
3.3 million opportunities to see