Indulging ourselves in this fascinating, linen-bound book by Aesop has been a welcome distraction over the past few days. The brand has touched us on a personal level as we have created customised surface finishes for several of its stores.
The compelling written and visual narrative, documenting the company’s history and culture, has brought us a better understanding of Aesop’s design philosophy where the stores are as much an attraction as the skincare products inside.
Throughout the 334 page publication, a common theme emerges: the power of materials. Aesop’s respect for materials, in their products, and in their stores, is passionately communicated on every page through words and pictures. For an extraordinarily wide range of materials used in interior architecture, try brutalist concrete, velvet, 100-year-old pine stick and old newspapers and magazines.
‘The most enduring and successful spaces often rely on restraint, where the quietest materials have been worked and applied in original and provocative ways.’
This philosophy is no more evident than in Aesop Duke of York Square. The London store, designed by Snohetta and featuring Clayworks Clay Plasters on all wall and ceiling surfaces, demonstrates Aesop’s insistence upon all stores having intimate, sensual and stimulating ambience. Clay was chosen for its warmth and because it embodies the connection between the earth and its resources. Walking into an Aesop store is designed to be a sensory experience that must make you feel like you are partaking in something special and exclusive.
While creating emotional connections with customers through interior design can be difficult to master, aligning the exteriors can be even more tricky.
Every single Aesop store around the world is unique, designed for its local cultural and historical environment by different architects and designers.
‘Each space responds to its setting … The desire is always to integrate with the streetscape, not insult it: to create a space subtly tied to context, yet not manacled in history.’
The brand is known for weaving the city’s essence into the fabric of the store design. While each Aesop store is unique, each is seamlessly connected through unprecedented design sophistication.