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This week Aesop announced the opening of its first Korean signature store, in Garosu-Gil–a neighbourhood noted for a profusion of galleries, bookshops, restaurants, distinctive retailers, and the rich cultural life they have engendered.

Created in collaboration with local firm WISE Architecture, the design for the 40-square metre space is in keeping with other WISE projects lauded for their streamlined forms, and with Aesop’s preference for innovative use of simple, honest materials that draw on local history and tradition. Its subtlety is evident initially in the broad granite stepping stone at the entrance that marks a departure from the busy pavement beyond; and effected within by walls covered with pale-hued hanji – traditional handmade paper – which impart an enveloping softness of palette, texture and atmosphere.

A single piece of reclaimed Korean pine was used for the imposing five-metre bench that takes central place and houses the point of sale, cushioned by coir matting; product display shelves are also crafted from local timber. A Charles Pollock chair and Gaetano Sciolari pendant lamp provide understated points of contrast, complemented by discreet accents of blackened steel.

Visitors can explore and select from a complete range of skin, hair and body care products, distinguished by botanical and laboratory-generated ingredients of the highest quality. Trained consultants are able to offer advice about formulations best suited to individual needs.

Aesop was founded in Melbourne in 1987 and today offers its superlative formulations in signature stores and counters around the world, and online. As the company evolves, meticulously considered design remains paramount to the creation of each space.

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