Walk past Aesop on Flinders Lane and you may do a double take. The flagship store has recently undergone a distinctive restoration, and the small retail space now features a bold, curved wall created from more than 1550 cardboard sheets. The impressive structure occupies the entire right-hand side of the tenancy.
“Aesop’s design philosophy is to seek inspiration from the specific history and character of the store, and this store carries a legacy of using cardboard,” says Kian Yam, Aesop’s lead architect for Asia Pacific.
The original design of the store was undertaken by Melbourne architect Rodney Eggleston from March Studio in 2007. Eggleston used industrial cardboard as a temporary shelving solution for the shop. But Aesop customers loved the design so much that it stayed. After so many years, though, a redesign was inevitable.
“While we were sure of the concept (the use of cardboard) from the start, the actual development of the sculpture took a bit of time,” says Yam.
“We went through ideas like embedding sound and light. In the end, we settled on an ergonomics-driven geometry, taking into account the optimal comfort for seating, standing and Aesop display needs.”
The result is a curved wall, which will guide visitors through the space and encourage exploration of the architecture and Aesop’s full range of products.