28 AESOP’S FABLES
As beauty brand Aesop celebrates its 30th anniversary, we take a closer look at its inspirational high street shops – every one a design destination
Not many brands have become as successful as Aesop without also becoming ubiquitous. That the Australian company has retained its allure is largely down to one thing: its approach to store design. Where others reproduce the same template over and over again, every Aesop store is different. Though the name is a familiar presence on London’s high streets – it will open its 19th UK branch, in Chelsea’s Duke of York Square, this September – it is never a predictable one.
Details such as the green Moroccan tiles in Aesop’s Covent Garden store ( below) offer inspiration for real-life homes
This year is Aesop’s 30th anniversary, but the brand was unconventional from the start. The first stand-alone store, opened in 2003 in St Kilda, Melbourne, was housed in a tunnel-like ramp leading to an underground car park. Later openings were similarly experimental: the ceiling of the Adelaide boutique (above right), for instance, is decorated with over 7,000 amber glass bottles – the same material used for Aesop’s products. ‘We have always acknowledged the effect good design has, and endeavour to bring something worthwhile to every space,’ says creative director Marsha Meredith.
Many stores, such as the one overseen by interior designer Ilse Crawford in Mayfair in 2008, take their cue from homes in an effort to make people feel at ease. Restful jade green walls and parquet floors featured in Crawford’s design (top left), while details such as the green Moroccan tiles in the Covent Garden store (right) and the red brick and copper sinks in the Ginza, Tokyo branch offer inspiration for real-life homes. It’s no surprise, then, that Aesop has a website dedicated to its retail projects – taxonomyofdesign.com. Here’s to many more years of stylish stores (aesop.com).