Pattersons design Aesop’s first New Zealand store
The Australian skincare brand Aesop has more than 60 signature stores around the world, and has just added a space in the Auckland suburb of Newmarket to this array of design marvels. This is no cookie-cutter global rollout, as the brand prides itself on embracing local context and local talent in its stores. “Aesop has always embraced design, difference and the richness of local context,” says Denise Neri, Aesop’s retail architectural manager. “Cultural engagement is central to our DNA and we always consider how our retail spaces can link to and support the communities we enter. We wanted our stores to grow in a thoughtful way without losing the essence of what the company is about.”
And so the Aesop store in Oslo, for example, is designed by the architecture firm Snøhetta (which also designed the city’s incredible opera house), while the company’s Sao Paulo outpost was designed by Pritzker Prizewinner Paulo Mendes da Rocha.
For its Auckland branch, Aesop selected Pattersons, the firm behind the Len Lye Centre, New Plymouth’s stainless-steel showstopper of an art gallery. In Aesop’s Newmarket store, “we quickly decided our aim was to celebrate the domestic rituals of washing, and the Aesop philosophy in a New Zealand way – utility, simplicity and egalitarianism,” says Pattersons director Andrew Patterson. “Aesop had chosen a beautiful brick corner building in Newmarket and asked us to design a neighbourhood store that felt like it really belonged there.”
To achieve this, the Pattersons team worked with native timber boards and weathered galvanised steel to create a space that hints at old colonial washrooms, and evokes “a nostalgia for the robust, uncomplicated Kiwi lifestyle”, Patterson says. 2/2-8 Osborne St, Newmarket, Auckland aesop.com