Aesop and London have proven to be a good fit as the cosmetics company recently added a thirteenth store. Situated in Chelsea, an affluent area of town and previously a blank spot for the brand, a signature boutique has opened at duke of York Square, a shopping complex in the former Army Territorial Barracks. Occupying a street level unit of 108 sqm., the store has been given a unique interior design by Snøhetta, an acclaimed Norwegian architecture practice which has previously collaborated with the brand on a number of boutiques. Interestingly, the aesthetic for this boutique takes cues both from exhilarating opening scenes of classic James Bond films and the immediate surrounds, taking full advantage of the location’s voluminous dimensions. Walls of earthen render in a soft pink hue are a nod to the masonry prevalent in this part of town.
An existing central column serves as a focal point, and anchors twelve silhouette-like arches that curve up and across to the store’s perimeter. These sweeping structures create zones of intimacy around a large circular demonstration sink that seemingly levitates in space. The sink is edged by a shallow reflective pool; during the night, light reflected off the water shimmers on the walls. Fine steel lines set into the concrete floor mirror the arches and subdivide the monolithic surface into smaller geometric components, fusing utilitarian metal and rough cement. The new Aesop boutique carries the brand’s full range of skin, body and hair care products.
Design and photography: Snøhetta