Haeckles Pop up at Beast
Despite being hijacked by the big boys some pop ups are good – Haeckels current Seven Dials one very much so….
Article by Nicolas Payne-Baader
Pop ups are an odd phenomenon; when they first came around they were a cracking way for landlords to make a shop front look occupied when it was not and a great way for small brands and designers to get their offering out into the world. They certainly sometimes still do that but they have also rather been swallowed up by every brand and their mother, Gillette did a pop up, Topshop have done pop ups – believe it or not even Pret A Manger have done a pop up. In an era of fast fashion, zero hour contracts and the global shirking of responsibility perhaps the pop up has come to define the epoch. A shop that can come and go, no strings attached, no responsibility.
Having said that pop ups can still be good, well thought out, from the sort of companies that actually have a good aesthetic and wouldn’t be able to afford a standalone shop. Sometimes you miss them when they’re gone but sometimes they’re like a good one night stand: enjoyable, satisfying and in no way regrettable.
Fortunately for everyone involved Haeckels pop up is of the latter variety, they have taken their Margate aesthetics of bare wood, low lighting and vaguely scientific looking tools and recreated it very effectively in the basement of Beast in Covent Garden.
For those who haven’t come across it, Haeckels is a curious company that’s been bubbling around in the periphery of the men’s grooming world for the last few years. The company has found itself riding a nice off Broadway trend in perfumes, summed up by the success of ‘small batch’ perfumers like Le Labo, that create a product that feels artisan and individual in an industry where the majority of the market is hugely mass produced. Their perfumes are very impressive, although I will admit that I find the labelling (each one is named after the coordinates and weather on the day it was distilled) a tad confusing. Unusually as well, seaweed is at the base of every product they create; Haeckels holds one of only two licenses to harvest seaweed in the UK and does so on the jurassic chalk coast of Kent, distilling their products in their cliff top lab, which is apparently less Bond villain than it sounds.
One of the most interesting things being showcased at the pop up is Haeckels new range of skin care, although putting seaweed near your face may not sound the most appealing, unless it’s wrapped around a piece of sushi, the products are suitably impressive. A fairly tight edit of products takes in face cream, cleanser, hand balm, soap, lip balm and the obligatory beard oil (it is 2017 after all). All the products are as beautifully packaged and presented as you would hope for, brass and glass and wood abound. The lip balm especially looks like it should contain a tiny bit of religious relic.
The pop up is also doing lovely Thessalonatherapy sessions – try saying that after a couple glasses of wine – which is the use of seaweed and seawater as therapy. They’ve got seaweed wraps (again not of the sushi variety) and aromatherapy massages. A pop up which we may just be sad isn’t going to hang around.
Open until the 3rdof May at Beast Covent Garden, 19 Earlham Street, Seven Dials WC2H 9LL