Aesop Duke of York Square store pays tribute to Oscar Niemeyer

The new Aesop Duke of York Square store in west London was designed as a tribute to Brazilian modernist Oscar Niemeyer.

While founded in Australia, skincare brand Aesop was recently bought by Brazilian retail group Natura and the new owner has been quick to add a touch of its own influence in store designs. Aesop is renowned for each of its shops being designed differently, eschewing the cookie-cutter approach of most global retail brands.

Aesop Duke of York Square store 2

Twelve rose-tinged clay arches fan out over a huge stainless-steel sink in the Snohetta-designed Aesop Chelsea store, reports architecture and design online publication Dezeen. It is located inside a luxury shopping area beside the Saatchi gallery in Duke of York Square off King’s Road.

Dezeen reports a large column set in the centre of the 108sqm shop dictated the starting point of the design for Snohetta’s Oslo office.

“The team placed 12 arching sections of wall – intentionally reminiscent of the concrete forms used by Oscar Niemeyer – around its edges. The arches splay out across the ceiling and touch the walls, to incorporate the column into the design.”

Aesop West London 1

A large disk-shaped sink with a polished stainless-steel top and fibre-glass base wraps around the centre of the column, cementing it as the centre point of the store.

“There is this column, very odd, very strange, and we decided we would surround this column to accentuate it even more,” senior architect Peter Girgis told Dezeen.

“Central to the space is this large disk sink, about four and a half metres in diameter, and from that we wanted this column of both light and emulating structure to come and loom,” added Girgis, who led the project with architect Gaute Simonsen.

Aesop Duke of York Square is Snohetta’s first permanent project in the UK, but its seventh store for the skincare brand. It designed a store for Aesop in Singapore, likened to “an upside-down forest”.

Read more about the store on Dezeen.

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