Aesop Uses Inspiration From Space Exploration

Aesop Uses Inspiration From Space Exploration

Aesop Uses Inspiration From Space Exploration 1440 428 Chute Gerdeman

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit a few retail stores while visiting Houston, Texas. Little did I know, this would be my last physical retail engagement for quite some time. Since then, given social distancing, I’ve had ample time to digest store photos, and my notes on the experiential aspects of our store visits. One experience that stands out is the Aesop Galleria store. Still fresh on my mind, I decided to dig into the history of the brand, and research how they approach unique designs for each of their locations.

Familiar With Unfamiliarity

Established in 1987, Aesop’s objective is to use the finest quality of plant-based, and laboratory-made ingredients for body care. They immerse themselves in the unfamiliar landscape, diving into local materials, and engaging with the local culture, and history.

One thing I really admire about Aesop, is their first consideration of working with what’s in place. This eco way of creating, and designing a space, is the utmost sustainable way to approach a design. It is important for the brand to add something of merit rather than impose a discordant presence.

“We tread lightly with respect for the past, present, and future.”
– Aesop Brand

Seamless Wonder

The Aesop Galleria store excelled in not only creating an intimate space, but differentiating itself from other retailers. This is executed by creating spaces that evoke a sense of wonder, while expressing a strong tie to the localization aspect of the design. All of the fixtures blend into the walls, and floors, becoming one with the architecture. The visual merchandising is beautifully orchestrated, and is a perfect contrast in pattern and color.

Aesop designs these stores themselves, as they have an in-house design team. For the Galleria store, the design team partnered with Mlkk Studio, and payed homage to Houston’s nickname as ‘Space City’. Its beautiful geometry, and muted palette are reminiscent of space exploration. The space emphasizes soft curves, which help create the vision of a terrain on an undiscovered planet.

Each store is unique and is part of the story of that particular region. The Santa Monica location is reflecting sun drenched LA, using the symbolism of the swimming pool and covering the store with curved pale blue ceramic tiles.

“Just as meticulous research is integral to the formulation of each product; our utilitarian containers are carefully considered to ensure they function with ease and bring delight to our eyes. We believe unequivocally that well-considered design improves our lives.”
– Aesop Brand

While it’s uncertain the next time we’ll be able to enjoy in-store retail experience at full capability, it’s safe to say that retail is dearly missed.

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