Meeting the needs of a forever shifting digital world, L’Oréal has opened a new Melbourne Academy space that merges the digital with the design detail of physical for a completely new standard of high-level industry engagement, writes Cameron Pine.

Merging virtual integration with high-end design, L’Oréal’s new aesthetically advanced space at the heartbeat of the brand’s HQ at 564 St Kilda Road merges the most advanced technology in resilient materials. Think natural stones, wood detailing, curvature and lighting to illuminate everything you’d expect from an architecturally designed space but with completely integrated technology and state of the art fixtures for the ultimate experience.

On Sunday March 20 the Academy welcomed some of the L’Oréal groups most valued partners and guests with a celebration kicked off by none other than Managing Director of L’Oréal PPD for Australia and New Zealand, David Higgins. David spoke of the pipe dream the company had for the space which began in 2019. Delayed by the pandemic, the facility started to be re designed in 2021, to be transformed to what it is today and finally celebrated as a community.

“There are five state of the art training rooms, a lounge area, a digital content studio, as well as a colour lab and lounge facilities all of which is here for you to use at any point in time. You are most welcome to come and use this facility as if it is yours,” David said.

“This is not just a facility for L’Oréal it’s a facility for you as well. We’ve put a lot of thought into this space and the design process – engaging with everyone from across the team to help come up with the concepts. Sylvia Stewart from education, Olga Zanetti from a commercial perspective, Cara Riley Head of brands and our architects were all involved in pulling this together,” David said. As a result, this globally leading space will see content created and streamed not just in Australia but across the world.

David Higgins

When entering the full floor space on level six you’re greeted with travertine plinths and a custom design travertine hangout table, which comes with a hefty price tag, and you know you’re in for a true design discovery. Constantly ensuring they stay at the forefront of innovation, the space is a solid representation of the portfolio of brands, which are also at the forefront of the industry, from innovation to luxury.

The entire new floor services the Division’s portfolio of leading salon brands: L’Oréal Professionnel, Kérastase, Redken, Matrix, Biolage and Pureology. From the materials used to a fully stocked tone kitchen featuring a 5-metre-long island bench, the new Academy space flirts with the latest design trends around resilience and practicality and marries it with the world of technology. Large square light pads used throughout ensure there’s no shadowing on the hair work, which is perfect for social media sharing and showcasing the true results of the creative collaborators in-house. There’s even a digital content room set up for product photography, live webinars and interviews in a dedicated space outside of training rooms.

There are five Microsoft Teams enabled training rooms, whereby cameras descend on the entire room for complete engagement – akin to what we once considered was just a phenomenon of a Jetsons-like future. Some of the coolest most aesthetically unique rooms include the colour lab, which is an extensive branded colour room, as well as an animated basin room and a spacious entertainment lounge.

Modern but with a touch of creative whimsy at every turn, the flexible space masters a true multitude of uses, including running hands-on training sessions for emerging hair artists, streaming digital courses through ACCESS (PPD’s online learning platform for hair stylists), creating digital content, and hosting events, or ultimately just acting as an elegant space for the industry to meet and come together.

“It truly does open up a world of opportunities to educators, artists, and up-and-coming hairdressers alike, providing them with a creative oasis, equipped with state-of-the-art amenities, to teach, learn, thrive and nurture the development of the Pro community,” David said.

“Building their Online + Offline learning path and living extraordinary moments they will never forget is at the heart of this extraordinary new space,” David added. “This [academy] has been a long time in the making, and I am so proud of the entire L’Oréal team that has brought this together.”

To discover more of the L’Oréal Professional brands education visit L’Oréal ACCESS. It is home to all of all the brands’ education and inspirational content. You can stay up to date with all product launches, trends, techniques, business and digital upskilling available in your state. Sign up to L’Oréal Access to create your education pathway for free today. 

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