Imposing. Impressive. Inspiring.
These are some words to describe the works of Jinggoy Buensuceso as these artworks are unlike most pieces anyone has ever seen.
Adding to its mystique, Buensuceso's art is located in a manufacturing plant in the middle of Laguna. An unlikely location as companies do not usually put artworks in their factories, but this beauty brand decided to dedicate its massive lobby as a space for art.
As guests enter the lobby, they will be greeted by a giant but gentle constellation of brilliant red and black aluminum pieces thoughtfully and purposefully crumpled in different sizes. The art piece is carefully placed across the white marble lobby wall. On a perpendicular wall, a red moon sits alone, illuminated by warm light from behind. Together, the two works create a contemporary metal feast for the eyes.
Art aficionados may instantly recognize the signature style, the magical metal touch of Filipino visual artist and sculptor Jinggoy Buensuceso, who molds and plays with difficult materials to create dreamlike shapes.
One does not need to be an art fan to be drawn to his sculptures - there is something that creates a reaction of appeal, attraction, curiosity, and something more to these sculptures.
But why is it that these seemingly random set of sculptures was chosen to welcome guests at a manufacturing plant? The allure and the mystery of the Buensuceso masterpiece are actually inspired by a beauty brand that is celebrating its 15th anniversary – Kojie.san.
The Kojie.san brand started its product offering with the kojic acid powered soap. 15 years later, it has grown to become one of the beauty giants in the country, offering a full collection of personal and face care products that encourage women to take their beauty in their own hands.
However, there is more to the last 15 years than your typical success story. When the brand was founded in 2006, it arrived quietly but with a clear goal to challenge the bath soap market with its game-changing product and proposition.
Kojie.san was one of the first to introduce commercial use of kojic acid in the Philippine market. It is a by-product in the fermentation process of making Japanese sake that inhibits the production of melanin (which causes darkening).
Introducing a completely unheard-of beauty ingredient did not make things easy for the brand, and many stores refused to carry them at first. Until one by one, consumers tried the product adorned with a subtle, winking geisha. As women started to discover the product, they began sharing what it did to their skin. Soon, even retailers and rival brands grew curious about the mysterious and seemingly unknown soap that was quickly gaining a large, loyal fan base.
The soap found itself in the minds, hearts, and bathrooms of Filipinas who were drawn to the audacity and originality of a brand that was unafraid to go against the status quo.
More than a decade later, despite skeptics, the unmistakable geisha on its brand logo continues to wink from the box, subtly holding on to the brand's secret recipe to success.
The brand's past 15 years have not been a smooth road, a little more jagged and uneven, but still a beautiful one. Perhaps that is why despite the sharp fragments and uneven twists of Buensuceso's art piece, one is still inexplicably drawn to it. The "Okurimono" or "The Gift" in Japanese, is the larger-than-life piece that brilliantly represents Kojie.san's unique beauty and silent but successful impact.
"I feel it is the best representation of Kojie.san," affirms founder Jazz Burila. "There is no standard on creating an art piece – same with Kojie.san. There is no single way of appreciating art—the same way the brand believes that there is no single definition of beauty. Just like art, you define beauty based on your own understanding, inhibitions and experiences."
As opposed to the collection of assorted aluminum shards on the opposite wall, "Red Moon" is a single red round piece, an intriguing element but a significant one. It calls to mind the silent, omnipresent power of the brand's inspiration: its consumers. In everything that Kojie.san does, the consumers are considered first and foremost, and perhaps that is why they have continued to grow.
Together, "Okurimono" and "Red Moon" are striking, rebellious, and yet completely enamoring—truly evocative of Kojie.san. Even after 15 years in the business, its expansion and success continue to prove its commanding beauty and enduring strength.
To know more about the brand and its success story, visit Kojie.san's Facebook page or website.
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