Spot on again . . .
At the Palais Royal end of the wonderfilled rue St-Honore shopping strip, Aesop has opened a second Paris store dispensing all their signature botanical skincare products. Established in Melbourne over 20 years ago, Aesop opened their first Paris space late in 2006 on the Left Bank, so are not new Francophiles to the Parisian shopping fixtures, but certainly welcome ones.
In true Aesop style, the Australian brand offers an experience that reaches beyond simply a retail outlet, providing a unique interior in every shop. The new Paris interior has been designed by Melbourne designer Rodney Eggleston from March Studio with Aesop founder Dennis Paphitis. The floor, walls and even the ceiling are made of wood, with cut wood shelving holding products. Parquetry floors, similar to those typical in many French boutiques, have been laid too.
Aesop is also intending to open a signature store in Tokyo later in the year.
wood, wood wonderfilled wood . . .
What makes each Aesop store unique is that it responds to the geographical location it’s situated in. In this case, the inspiration was from a Parisian parquetry floor. Parquetry is a geometric mosaic of wood pieces used for decorative effect. - Wikipedia
The mastermind behind this design is Australian-based architectural and design practice, March Studio. The wood they have used for the new store is Victorian ash (from the eucalyptus family), an Australian grown renewable timber, which was hand-cut into about 3500 pieces before being sealed, numbered to meticulous plans and then sent off in shipping creates to be built in Paris. - watoday.domain.com.au
The design of the store actually reminded me of M.C. Escher’s ‘Impossible Structures’, in the respect that it could make you question which way is up because the floor, walls and ceiling are all the same material.
My favourite aspect about the design are the walls. To some, the composition of the planks may appear random but the reality is, all the planks have been carefully orchestrated.
I like the way March Studio have looked at using the material in a different way. Parquetry is conventionally a flat wood inlay used for floors, here they have challenged the idea by utilizing it for the walls and the ceiling as well.
By exposing the sides of the wood, it displays the lovely detail of the grains that would normally be hidden. The intricate lines of the grain subtly breaks the strong linear forms created by the planks of wood and the packaging labels.
This design is quite similar to Aesop’s Flinders Lane store in Melbourne, which is made of cardboard boxes, also designed by March Studio. It displays a good level of understanding and respect towards the materials they have used and the application of it. Not to mention it reflects the ethos of the Aesop brand: simplicity, integrity and authenticity.
Photography by Louis Baquiast.