Luxury fragrance boutique Arielle Shoshana, located in Fairfax, Virginia (near Washington, DC), was designed by architecture/design firm CORE. Arielle Shoshana is Washington DCʹs first niche fragrance boutique specializing in unique, artisan fragrances, body products, and home fragrances for women and men. CORE worked closely with owner/founder Arielle Weinberg to give the 880 SF retail space a minimalist aesthetic that would appeal to both men and women, and change the way customers shop for fragrance. Arielle Shoshana’s clean, uncluttered, and bright design lets the scents be the focal point for customers. The store philosophy is that customers shop by “note” or dominant scent in the fragrance, so CORE had to create orientation points for each note within the store and let the product stand forward.
The minimalist aesthetic plays well in the luxury boutique, which is meant to feel sleek and edited. The space acts as a jewelbox for the range of perfume bottle designs, from intricate to simplistic. Much of the design was inspired by elegant details found in Japanese millwork and the architecture is completely orthogonal, a composition of cubes and planes. Where wood cubes are cut away for display vitrines or lighting, they are lined with champagne, rose-gold or brass metal.
Customers looking into Arielle Shoshana from the street will immediately notice the four wood-clad light cubes suspended over the featured product table. Each one has a metal interior with concealed LED lighting to illuminate the metal lining. The dramatic light boxes are beautiful and functional because they glow elegantly to highlight product and create mass in the center of the space.
The store’s walls are lined with display shelving for product, organized by note. In keeping with the minimalist aesthetic, the millwork – with its cut-out reveals, horizontal wood grain and low bases – seems to float above the faux chalked pine resilient floor. CORE designed custom signage, of white oak, metal, and acrylic that contains note signage and a small box that holds the note’s key ingredient or botanical that customers can smell. The signage pieces attach to the floating shelving and can be slid along each shelf as product offerings change.
CORE incorporated some educational features about perfume to help customers learn about some of its complexities, and to give Ms. Weinberg an opportunity to engage with them. There is a lounge area when customers first enter the store that features a white oak end-grain wall, where projecting glass cubes showcase Francis Kurkdjian bottles containing different notes. The sleek indigo-colored custom sofa encourages guests to linger, test fragrances, and discuss their favorite scents.
The design had to appeal equally to both genders, so close attention was paid to the finish palette and material choices, so the space does not seem overtly feminine. CORE created a color palette that combined white, gray and natural oak wood tones with splashes of deep indigo (Arielle Shoshana’s brand color) and metal tones inspired by the colors of citrus, and found in some of the fragrances. A white and grey marble slab is also used on the cashwrap top.
Photography by Greg Powers