I love it when designers relook at things taken for granted. For example, the shape of a soap. It doesn’t need to be brick-shaped or kidney-bean shaped, but somewhere down the line, people just settled for a form that ‘worked’.
Studio Ohk is looking at things differently, trying to turn soap into something of a canvas and a cultural awareness product that captures architectural elements from traditional and urban landscapes of Seoul, and converts them into forms that look simply stunning! The Urban Soap collection is a form-exercise done right. With shapes that are great to look at, wonderful to hold, and easy on the skin, the Urban Soap project is both visually and literally refreshing!
The soaps combine floral elements, structural elements, patterns, joinery details, etc. to create forms that look good, regardless of their application. Turning those forms into molds and then into soaps helps you interact with them in a way that’s not just visual but tactile too. The shapes are great to hold, and come with some beautifully soothing colors. Made in arguably the cosmetic capital of the world, Seoul, the Urban Soap also upholds the highest cosmetic standards, being a soap that’s easy on the eyes and easy on the skin too!
Soap design (if that’s a thing) seems to be stuck in a rut, with the soap form very rarely being expressive, unlike other cosmetic products. The Urban Soap takes inspiration from an unlikely place, architecture… but perhaps it’s the most apt place to look at for uniquely beautiful form inspirations!
Designers: Seung Tae Oh, Meeso Kim & Won Joon Lee
Urban Soap is a set of 4 sculptural soaps inspired by urban fragments of Seoul. Their soaps are multi-sensory objects with the intention to deliver urban fragments through sensibilities of sight, smell and touch.
Urban Soap is useful in the washroom, shower or kitchen.
Made with a blend of essential oils, their soaps are gentle and effective tool for everyday use.
Because their soaps smell amazing, we also recommend using them as air fresheners. Urban Soap will provide a gentle natural fragrance in your home. Like all air fresheners, the aroma dwindles with time. The evaporation of fragrance cannot be entirely prevented but it can be slowed by placing them somewhere cool and dry.
Design – The shape is inspired by a famous Seoul landmark, the Royal Palace. We loved the uneven stone pavements of the main hall and how they reflected sunlight. The slanted design of this soap accentuates the characteristics of the irregular surface of stone grounds.
Fragrance – Made with transparent base, #01 is fragranced with a blend of bergamot and sandalwood offering a fresh and sweet scent of ground after a spring rain.
Design – The inspiration comes from different architectural structures of the city. #02 is composed of two soap bases – transparent and opaque. The different components help accentuate the complexity and construction of city’s structures.
Fragrance – #02 contains natural indigo for soothing qualities. The musky-earthy aroma of patchouli and cedar highlights the firmness of the structures.
Design – The shape was inspired by the iconic painted patterns of the Royal Palace and the bright colour alludes to the neon signs in the city. We blended opaque and transparent bases to highlight the vivid colour and the softness of the floral shape.
Fragrance – Its peppery, woody notes blended with warm florals will take you to a walk in the palace at sunset.
Design – The shape was inspired by the construction of roof tiles of the Royal Palace. The symmetry and continuity of the tiles encouraged us to create this unique design that emphasises the distinctive features of the palace. The colour is inspired by the glaring and reflection of the glass buildings and how light traveled through them.
Fragrance – #04 is made with transparent soap base blended with natural indigo for soothing qualities. The fresh scent of flower bouquet and a touch of cucumber gives the impression of light and airy clouds in blue sky.
It all started with the insight of how they perceive the urban landscape that surrounds them. They wanted to take a closer look at the city and collect fragments to define a new product that conveys stories and experiences.
Their designs are inspired by Seoul’s distinctive combination of traditional and modern buildings. The shape and colours come from both elements of the region.
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