Science-based Beauté Pacifique uses Nordic superfruits for innovative serum

For the premium Danish skincare brand, science, effect, and documentation are three indispensable principles, both in their daily operations and the skincare products they create.

— They’re made to fulfill near-medical claims and the claimed benefits can be demonstrated objectively at the sales outlets by our advanced Medical Ultrasound DermaScan. We use a unique delivery system in our formulation of our products, so the active ingredients work in the deepest layers of the skin. We’re offering free scans of people’s skin and thorough guidance and recommendation from the results. When they come back for a new scan after two or three months using the tailored skincare products, we can show them the effect in the deepest layers of the skin as well as what they can see in the mirror already, tells Mette Schulhauser Nilsen, Export Manager.

The new Superfruit Moisture Enforcement Serum features a bunch of the best ingredients Scandinavian nature can offer.

— It has many preventative and also maintenance benefits and contains extracts and juice from the Nordic superfruits sea buckthorn, cloudberry, lingonberry, sugar beet, and birch. It prevents impurities and redness in young skin while making the skin more even. Two different kinds of extremely water-binding hyaluronic acid provide the skin with a thorough, long-lasting moisture boost, keeping the skin supple. It also contains the B vitamins niacinamide and panthenol, which enhance the ability of the skin’s outermost barrier to protect it from potential everyday impacts and dehydration. All in all, it leaves the skin well moisturised and invests it with a natural glow, preparing it well for day cream and makeup.

It also has a really nice texture. What’s the secret?

— This serum is water-based, and it has this moisturising gel texture from the effective and specially chosen ingredients. Many of the ingredients have a moisture-binding effect and when they all come together they create this soft and delicate texture, says Schulhauser Nilsen.


”We bring the natural light indoors, and ­trigger the hormonal effects.”

Why is light so important? 

— Daylight is important for our health, wellbeing, and sleep. You need about six to eight hours of natural light per day, and most people get less. 

And you wanna help with that?

— We are solving a very simple problem. Humankind is not designed to spend all of its time indoors. There is a clear correlation between our time indoors, which basically started with the industrial revolution, and illnesses like diabetes, obesity, cancer, and cardiovascular deceases. And all projections point to the fact that we will spend even more time indoors. The core of our technology is to bring the natural light indoors, and trigger the natural hormonal effects. 

Ok, so how does it work? 

— Studies have shown that we humans are spread into different chronotypes, which basically is a description of our sleep-wake rhythm, called the circadian rhythm. Some people are alert in the morning, some at night. Nine per cent of us are actually extremely early or extremely late and would either feel best going to bed at 19:00 or after 01:00. 


— Yes. The uniqueness of our technology is that it detects what kind of chronotype you are, and it adjusts the light accordingly. We have a light system that’s based on two things. One is the luminar, the lamp, which produces an unprecedented quality of Biocentric lighting. Then we have an AI-based control system that integrates with sensors in the room and on your body, and adapts the light recipes. 

How is life improved with this technology?

— Light is the biggest impact factor on our biological performance. And the easiest marker to measure if we’re living a healthy life or not is the quality of our sleep. Thats when our brain is defragmenting, when we process memories, and execute analytical problems. High quality light makes us sleep better.

— Most people say that they sleep so well during vacation because they feel so relaxed. The truth is its probably because they spend more time outdoors. They golf, go skiing, hiking, hang out at the beach. 

Why aren’t we talking more about this? 

—  The science around the light impact on us humans is fairly new. In 2017, U.S. scientists won the Nobel Prize in Physiology for their work uncovering the mechanisms behind the circadian rhythm. In 2014, the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to a group of Japanese scientists for their findings on how to make pure white light with blue LEDs. It wasn’t until 2002, that scientist discovered the ipRGC cells in the eye. Many architects and light consultants were educated before this, which means we’re basing our environments on old science.

What other practical benefits are there? 

— Since our light is close to natural sunlight in the way it projects colours, it can have huge benefits in fashion and entertainment. A majority of all the returns in fashion retail is because people feel that the colour was wrong, for example. We recently retrofitted the SOS Alarm office, which is located 32 metres below ground in Stockholm. That’s extreme but most work places actually have lighting as if they were situated below ground.

Tell us about the new product, BrainLit Alven?

— We saw the need to make the Biocentric lighting more mobile. It’s a freestanding solution where we compressed the technology and sensors into a floor lamp. We see huge potential in places where you need to perform, like the office, home office, or in health care facilities. We think it’s going to be a game-changer. 

The Alven.

Unique features of quinoa starch helped scientists create successful beauty tech business

The four researchers Marilyn Rayner, Petr Dejmek, Anna Timgren, and Malin Sjöö from the Department of Food Technology Engineering and Nutrition at Lund University in Sweden were initially working on an encapsulation system for functional food. What they found turned out to be so much better.

— We used an emulsion system of oil and water, components that don’t mix without use of emulsifiers or surfactant molecules. But we had the idea of using natural particles instead of molecules, tells Sjöö. When testing quinoa starch particles, a natural food component, we could create systems that were very unique, and we patented the technology. We had been involved in different commercialisation projects before, but we all felt that this was better than anything we had done before. When starting to look into different application areas to commercialize the patent, we realized that the personal care market would be the most suitable for introducing a new ingredient and technology, especially since we found the ingredient also provides a very positive on-skin feel.

Since 2012, their company Speximo runs a novel technology platform, using quinoa starch to create stabilization and encapsulation for sustainable formulations in personal care and cosmetics. But, as Sjöö tells, with potential use in other commercial areas.

— The main application areas we see are on skin and for ingestion, such as creams, powders and, sprays, but also to protect active ingredients in personal care, food and nutrition, and pharmaceuticals. The step from food to cosmetics is not as far as you may believe.

Speximo was recently acquired by IFF-Lucas Meyer Cosmetics, global leading innovator of scent, taste, and nutrition.

— We feel very welcome to the family, says Sjöö. Our team in Lund works very close with Lucas Meyer Cosmetics and it feels positive to be part of a larger organization sharing our values.


New electronic skin can react to pain like human skin

Scientists have recently developed an electronic skin that can react to pain just like real skin. The prototype skin was birthed by researches at RMIT University (earlier known as Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) in Australia and is capable of electronically replicating the way our human skin senses pain. The device, which resembles a post stamp, mimics our body’s near-instant feedback response and reacts with lightning speed to any painful sensations.

— Our artificial skin reacts instantly when pressure, heat, or cold reach a painful threshold. We’re sensing things all the time through the skin but our pain response only kicks in at a certain point, like when we touch something too hot or too sharp, explains Lead researcher Professor Madhu Bhaskaran.

The artificial skin is stretchable and as thin as a sticker but can still measure pressure and temperature. It also has a brain-mimicking memory that is stored in electronic cells to recall and retain previous information. The electronic skin can not only improve intelligence in robotics but also help producers, and users, of smart prosthetics.

— These new devices can react to real mechanical pressure, temperature and pain, and deliver the right electronic response. It means our artificial skin knows the difference between gently touching a pin with your finger or accidentally stabbing yourself with it – a critical distinction that has never been achieved before electronically, concludes Madhu Bhaskaran.


”To be really innovative you must encourage the pursuit of imperfection”

Here are some reflections on impermanence and imperfection in business. Because, the way I see it, not being perfect, will be one of the key assets humans can bring to work-life.

A machine, or computer, operate according to very specific given tasks and commands, leaving no room for error or imperfection, unless the system is broken. When humans operate, there are a lot of different factors influencing the outcome; be it emotional state, physical wellbeing, mental capacity, social influences, expected financial results or to put it simply — just having a bad day.

We all know how unsettling it is to not being able to solve a task just because things did not feel right. However — more often than not — true radical creativity comes from the unplanned interconnection of various events, emotions, insights, discussions, reflections, and try-outs. That is the beauty of the human brain — it is just completely random and unpredictable sometimes, just like anything else that is part of nature.

Both machines and humans wear down and break after a while. Machines can, in theory, last forever if we have the right replacement parts, and humans last somewhere around 80+ years. In some ways, the notion of death actually pushes us to be even more creative since we have a final stop one day whether we want it or not. (And as someone said about living forever — it would be very dull at the end.)

As business leaders increasingly are pressured by shareholder expectations and competition, they look for finding ways of optimizing operations. In many ways, businesses are still run as they were in the 19th century at the height of the industrial revolution, with some business leaders viewing the workforce as some kind of human machine.

So what is perfection? The notion of perfection has existed for millennia and more, but it wasn’t until Newton and the aforementioned industrial revolution its modern incarnation was born. There is a clear difference between a product coming out of the factory and something constructed in our heads. In the digital domain, we can see that innovations and services are developed somewhere in-between on this scale. Digital solutions are usually relatively free-floating, ever-changing entities.

The agile approach that has been so popular in the last couple of years, developing something in endless iterations, testing, learning, and striving for stripping away the bugs as much as possible, works well in the software industry or in developing services. This way-of-working is very much aligned to never accepting the status quo, constantly pushing for new solutions, and learn along the way. Lean and other management systems from the East has contributed to spreading this way of viewing the world.

I’m a big fan of the Japanese philosophy on impermanence — Wabi-Sabi. It’s a world view centered on the acceptance of transcience and imperfection. The concepts derived from the Buddhist teaching of the three marks of existence; impermanence, suffering, and emptiness, or absence of self-nature. Wabi-Sabi is about asymmetry, roughness, simplicity, austerity, modesty, intimacy, and just the love of the natural and organic.

”The process and learning along the way is more important than the end product.”

So as managers, business leaders, innovators, and creative workers — what can we learn from this? Primarily that in order to be really innovative you must encourage the pursuit of imperfection. The process and learning along the way is more important than the end product. Especially in the age of data-driven business, where all corporations gradually turn into as-a-service software-based companies, we also need to remember how to accept what we cannot control (counter-intuitive in the age of industrialized perfection-seeking).

And coming back to the initial line of thought, what is truly an important asset to us humans? Well, being human! The only way to beat the machines is by becoming more human. Excel in creative thinking, asymmetrical problem solving, aiming for non-perfect solutions, trying and testing just for the sake of the learning process, admitting that failure is ok — just get up and do it again.

The employers of the future will have endless automation opportunities, especially for the mundane tasks that machines can do faster, better and smarter. But they will also need an empathatic and humane workforce that understands that nothing lasts, nothing is finished, nothing is perfect. Truly understanding this notion, paradoxically drives humanity towards perfection, constantly searching for improvements and problem solving. Although, as someone smart said — fall in love with the problem, not the solution. But that is another topic for another day.


Jan Klingler’s Bacteria lamp is a crossover between science, art, and industrial design

Originally trained as an industrial designer, Klingler received his bachelor’s degree at the HAWK University in Hildesheim, Germany. While having a great time learning the basic toolset that is needed to work in the field, he explains how he also became more and more conflicted in his practice. 

— I felt that I was solely creating items based on my personal pleasure to design. I started to ask myself if the world really needed yet another designer to create objects that have a shorter and shorter lifespan in our society of fast consumption. So, I pursued my master’s degree at Konstfack in Stockholm, to find purpose and meaning in my creative work by finding a way to create strong and long-lasting relationships between my creations and their new owners, he says.

The starting point for creating the Bacteria lamp was to look at his own personal belongings. Having moved across borders 5 times during his studies, they had been reduced to an all-time minimum. Next to the core necessities of things like clothing there were also quite a few oddities.

— For example, a wooden chess set that had no apparent purpose as I did not play chess and did not have a strong urge to learn it. Or an aftershave that I was not able to use as it made my skin itch in an allergic reaction. Yet, I chose to take these things with me wherever I went. But why? It is the story behind these objects that made them so important to me. Both of them were inherited and carried memories of very special persons who are no longer with us. When I looked at the chess set, I thought of my great-grandmother, a strong, opinionated woman with a big heart. When I smelled the aftershave, I immediately had flashbacks to happy moments with my grandfather during my childhood.

The Bacteria lamp, he tells, is the result of his research on how to give new objects the opportunity to be vessels of past memories and give them a deeper relationship with their owner. 

— We all consist of 10 times more bacteria than human cells. Every living being and place has its own unique and personal microbiological fingerprint. In a crossover between science, art, and industrial design, I created the bacteria lamp, which uses this fact to create stand out conversational pieces.

How do you create it?

— Samples are taken from people, places, or things that hold a position of importance, and are grown into a unique piece in the form of commissioned work. May it be the location of a first date, a personal souvenir from a memorable journey, or the reminder of loved one far away — the possibilities are as individual as each one of us. After a growth period of twenty-four to forty-eight hours the microorganisms are fully sealed to stop the growth and they are captured in stasis.

What’s been your greatest challenge?

— As I am a designer and not an expert in microbiology, I obviously wanted to work safely. I was guided and helped by a specialist in the field, Volkan Özenci M.D., Ph.D. from Karolinska University in Stockholm. In a world where we think we have seen everything, this collaboration really proves the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration. Thanks to patience and diligence, we were both able to develop a common language between the world of design and science, which allowed us to obtain a greater understanding of the different fields and workflows in a safe and effective manner. 

How’s the feedback been?

— People are absolutely intrigued by the abstract patterns and colours of the microbes and often won’t believe that bacteria can be this beautiful. The pieces with well-known origins from places in Stockholm, such as the Royal Palace, have started many questions and conversations.

The works, Klingler tells, inspire people to immediately think and talk about the places or people they would like to immortalize in a commissioned bacteria lamp. 

— Being ”fossilized” and hence nonviable they are static and non-changing, serving as the ideal captured memory.

With the COVID-19 outbreak and recent conversations, it also became quite clear that the vast majority of the population does not know the difference between bacteria and a virus. 

— That’s the reason I am planning to dedicate some of my work to use the power of art and design to educate and inform.

As mentioned, the bacteria lamp is not a mass-produced object, but available in the form of commissioned work. This way it can be personalized by sending a sterile sampling kit to the customer. 

— After swabbing the skin of a person, place, or object that is important to them the kit is sent back to me to grow a truly individual piece — both in color and pattern, says Klingler. He continues:

— As a personal example, I have taken a sample from a column in Östermalmstorg in Stockholm, which is the place where I first met my fiancé. As an abstract reminder of the start of our relationship, it was very interesting to see how my partner bonded strongly with this lamp like I envisioned it to happen.

While Klingler already has new projects coming up which use the material of bacteria, he’s just presented his newest work at Bukowski’s auction house in Stockholm. Named Crucible of Light, it’s highlighting the proud Swedish glassblowing history.

— The crucible is an essential part of the modern glass history of Sweden, used by world-renowned artisans to heat glass at a constant temperature of 1120 Celsius. After months of tireless work, the ceramic melting pot is rendered unusable, and the glass remains within. Difficult to dispose of, most crucibles find an unremarkable life in the garden behind the hot shop. These beautiful, strong objects deserve more. By turning the melting pot into a utilitarian object in the form of a lit coffee table, it becomes a centerpiece in the home environment, he tells.  

What better way to highlight the visual appearance of the intricate, cracked glass than by lighting it from below? Now, the melting pot is reborn as a Crucible of Light.

— Inspired by the reduction of waste through design, the crucible is now the basis of a circular economy that includes well-known glass workshops in Sweden, such as The Glass Factory in Boda and Glasbolaget in Bro. Rather than disposing of the old melting pots, I arrange the transportation to my studio, and in return, help to provide the hot shops with a brand new one. The repurposed Crucible of Light is then sold privately or through galleries, and new revenue allows us to repeat the process when the next crucible retires. With the intention to widen the circle of participating glass workshops, I hope to create value in what was once considered waste, thereby contributing to the continued success of the historical craft of glassblowing, says Klingler. He adds:

— Design can be so many things to so many people — utilitarian, effective, artistic. I just hope that I am able to bring a sense of personalization to design, by finding connections that bridge disciplines like art, design, and science together to create objects that create a sense of emotion. I love doing what I do, and I am grateful for the recognition. I hope to continue to keep surprising you. •