Inside Parma Italy's New Davines Village

“Truth, and goodness, and beauty are but different faces of the same all” said Ralph Waldo Emerson, the famous Transcendentalist in love with nature. It would not be a surprise to see him, if he were alive, sitting beside the reflecting pool at the striking Davines building, enjoying all the sites. The Davines message is supposed to be whispered, shares CEO Paolo Braguzzi. Whispering means to be human, ethical and sustainable.

A New Approach to Sustainable Beauty

The Davines Village is a tangible realization of the brand’s core value: sustainable beauty and a greener future. Everything Davines seems to touch is purposeful and aware of its impact on humanity and nature. This space was designed to communicate a specific message of deep care for both people and the environment by its architects Matteo Thun and Luca Colombo’s Studio MTLC. A space where abundant vegetation is in constant dialogue with the architecture.

The Davines Village is built on almost 83,000 square feet and is surrounded by the “Green Kilometre,” a strip of trees and plants that protect the area from traveling emissions that come from the motorway close by.

About 20% of the Village houses the complex where the brand operates: Research and Development laboratory, offices and training spaces, production plant, warehouse and a large central greenhouse used as a restaurant and co-working area.

The other 80% is dedicated to green spaces including several types of gardens and an agricultural zone which will include an outdoor amphitheater. All which live and breathe the company’s focuses on sustainable energy, waste reduction, optimization of natural resources and saving non-renewable ones.

Davines Village

Creativity Meets Science

Walking through the Davines Village, time seems to slow down. Everything is clean and open. Everything is quiet. Every view out every window is something new—lavender plants, a new garden tended to by the brand’s chemists, the fields of Parma in the distance, the sun reflecting off the Village’s courtyard pool. The layout of the space compels you to take your time examining what you see, to consider why a design choice was made. 

For example, the Research and Development lab is deliberately near the product testing room, where hairdressers can immediately test new products. The lab is the place where everything is born; where creativity meets science. And it is a microcosm of the considered, slow approach Davines takes to ensure sustainable, high-quality products.

Working in the lab offers a view of the scientific vegetable garden below, where plant species will be used to inspire new cosmetic formulations. The lab has 1,000 active ingredients in its library, with about 75 percent of natural origin. The team of 35 scientific experts are encouraged to experiment and create—each year, the team develops more than 100 formulas in small batches. To bring a product to market can take up to three years after much careful testing and refinement. The company created its own research charter outlining its principles behind product development, focusing on materials obtained from renewable, eco-sustainable sources, with emphasis on biodiversity and a tie to Italian heritage. Every step, from supplier to production to marketing, sales and shipment, can be tracked and guaranteed to be as eco-sustainable as possible.

Davines Village

A Force For Good

The purposeful design choices apparent in the Davines Village not only reflect sustainability. They also embody the company’s Italian heritage and commitment to creating the best possible product—for hairdressers, for their clients, and for the planet—regardless of time and money. 

Quality is valued over quantity. In 2016, the company obtained a B Corporation certification meaning the Davines Group joins a network of companies that redefine success in business not as social and environmental problem-solvers and change-makers rather than just profit.

B Corp members seek to use business as a force for good, for true societal change. 

Accomplishing this certification motivates others in the industry, like suppliers, to do the same. 

Actions don’t speak louder than words—actions whisper their truth. The village is a tangible symbol of the Davines Group’s truth; their ethical ideals, their expression of every value the company has developed since it started in 1983.

“It makes so much sense,” Davide Bollati says, “Like the law of energy in the world. The more you give, the more you get back.”

 Source: Behind the Chair, 2018