Skene Catling de la Pena

Agent Provocateur (International, 2002-9)

Skene Catling de la Peña is responsible for the architectural and design element of the Agent Provocateur brand, and has created a complete modular and adaptable system for both the interiors (display, storage, wallpaper, carpets, textiles, lighting and packaging) and architectural spaces that contain them. The practice was involved since the launching of the brand, and has completed over fifty sites around the world including London, New York, San Francisco, Paris, Dublin, Berlin, Moscow, Zurich, Dubai, Hong Kong and Istanbul. It has also developed a complete language and range of units for the display of Agent Provocateur cosmetics and perfumes worldwide.

These retail projects have to be delivered to extremely tight deadlines and budgets, but still allow a great deal of experimentation with materials and narrative. The most literal narrative was developed for Selfridges London, where the brief was to create a compelling, theatrical, freestanding pavilion. An urban landscape is created through the abstracted use of architectural elements: a street light, neon sign, doors/ windows opening and closing to reveal a secret world within. These elements are presented on a lenticular wall, which allows a ‘low-tech’ animation (up to twenty individual frames per image) simply depending on the viewer’s position in relation to the images. The lenticular walls also make ironic references to ‘pin-up’ postcards that wink or blow kisses at the viewer.

The perceptual effect is intriguing, with the whole architectural façade shifting and coming to life as the visitor circumnavigates the pavilion or moves past the space on neighbouring escalators. The branding is subtly incorporated within the narrative itself as a figure spray paints the company logo onto a wall. The images sustain individual readings, which at times relate to the various merchandise within (changing rooms, shoes, jewellery, stockings) or can be seen as linked by this story.

Skene Catling de la Pena project team: Charlotte Skene Catling, Jaime de la Pena, Jose Duran, Cecilia Grazia Susca, Henry Kleine, Markus Bergstrom, Tania Moreira David, Tatiana Vela Jara

Consultants / Manufacturers: Preferred Contracts Ltd, Paul Longpré Furniture, Flux Metal, Nero Designs