Shanghai theatre inspiration tour for L’Oréal

DATE26 June 2024

As part of a week-long workshop led by renowned French set designer Gilles Taschet, a team of L’Oréal designers working under various L’Oréal brands from China, South Korea and Japan made visits to several theatre spaces in Shanghai in the afternoon of June 26 to draw inspirations from the theories and techniques of theatre set design.

Through the resources and support of Doors in Shanghai, the L’Oréal team had a closed-door encounter with the critically claimed playwright Stan Lai (赖声川) at Theatre Above and observed the rehearsal of a play. The team also visited two different theatre halls at the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre and gained knowledge of the technical aspect of a theatre production.

L'Oréal team in front of the poster of the play The Age of Awakening at Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre.

The workshop, which took place during the week of June 24th, 2024, is initiated by L’Oréal University for Retail and aimed at drawing inspirations for product and experience design from the principles and techniques of theatre set design. The content of this week-long exercise is developed by renowned French set designer Gilles Taschet, who, throughout a career spanning several decades, has collaborated with some of the most esteemed directors and theater companies, such as Jean-Louis Martinelli during his tenture at the Théâtre des Amandiers in Nanterre, the Théâtre National de Belgique and the Comédie Française as well as professionals including Françoise Gillard, Alain Fromager and Claus Peymann.

Theatre Above

During the first stop of the visit at Theatre Above, the L’Oréal team met with renowned playwright and director Stan Lai, who, since having co-founded the Performance Workshop in Taiwan in 1984, has been a pioneering figure in the realm of Chinese-language theater. He is best known for his play “Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land (暗恋桃花源)” which has achieved classic status and is celebrated for its innovative blend of comedy and drama. Other notable works include “That Evening, We Performed Crosstalk (那一夜,我们说相声)”, “The Village (宝岛一村)” and “A Dream Like a Dream (如梦之梦)”. 

At Theatre Above, Mr. Lai and Mr. Taschet engaged in an hour-long dialogue over their respective careers in theatre, compared notes on various aspects of theatre productions in Europe, Asia and the US, and specifically discussed in what ways effective set design could contribute to the production value of a play. 

Mr. Gilles Taschet and Mr. Stan Lai in dialogue at the rehearsal room of Theatre Above in front of the L’Oréal design team.
Mr. Stan Lai giving directions during the rehearsal of the play One One Zero Eight.

The team was also able to observe the live rehearsal of one scene of the play ONE ONE ZERO EIGHT under the direction of Mr. Lai himself and experience first-hand the transporting magic of theatre. 

Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre

The L’Oréal team also visited Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre, a storied place dedicated to the full value chain of theatrical production, from conception to set creation to marketing and distribution. 

With the accompaniment of an experienced stage technician and the expertise from Mr. Taschet, the team stepped onto the stage and toured the backstage of two theatre halls, where they observed up-close the workings behind the scenes and gained in-depth knowledge of how sound, light and mechanical devices work together to create unique and coherent theatrical experiences. 

Technician Mr. Cai Siqi explaining the use of lighting on stage at the Drama Salon of Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center.
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