French perfume house Diptyque has partnered with Chinese artist Wang Chunyi to present a pop-up exhibition named “Narratives of Material” in Zhangyuan (张园) — a newly opened commercial and cultural district in downtown Shanghai. Drawing inspiration from four materials typically used by the brand, the show walks visitors through wax, clay, glass, and fabric. The space will open to the public between December 2 and February 25; consumers can make appointments via the brand’s dedicated WeChat Mini Program.
Many netizens have shared their visiting experiences and snapshots on social media platforms like Xiaohongshu. According to a post by Xiaohongshu user Asteroid, the space showcases the production process of Diptyque’s scented candles and allows visitors to test the perfumes. She shared that “though the overall scale is compact, the exhibition is quite immersive through well curated visual and olfactory elements.”
The parent company of Diptyque, Manzanita Capital, is a U.K.-based private equity firm with a strong portfolio of beauty brands that includes Malin+Goetz and Byredo (which was acquired by Puig in a deal reportedly worth €1 billion in June). Compared to traditional retail outlets, brand stores under Manzanita Capital focus more on physical experiences and services, which suits the branding of niche fragrance names. This approach has been revealed in Diptyque’s footprints in China.
The selection of the pop-up exhibition venue is highly shrewd. Zhangyuan is a community of hundreds of shikumen (a style featuring Western and Chinese elements) houses in downtown Shanghai’s Jing’an district, which reopened to the public in late November after four years of protective renovation. Luxury houses including Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Vacheron Constantin have landed in the commercial and cultural district. As such, the exhibition will not only help Diptyque build brand awareness with local consumers but also drive online-to-offline transactions as they flock to the new cultural landmark.