Aesop's second Kyoto signature store, on Kawaramachi dori, is the result of a new collaboration with Torafu Architects.
The history of this neighbourhood reaches back to the late 16th century, when Kyoto was subject to an extensive reconstruction; in the 19th century, it was central to the Meiji Restoration. Aesop Kawaramachi respects this heritage while also aligning comfortably with contemporary Kyoto.
The store’s elongated, narrow interior progresses from product display at the front to demonstration sinks midway, to point-of-sale counter and at the rear, where a leather-covered seating bench invites visitors to take repose, and a staircase leads to a first-floor gallery space. Continuity is effected by pendant lights used on squid fishing boats, which hang from the vaulted ceiling, and by green accents for the entrance, demonstration sinks and staircase.
A pale flexible board with a mortar-like texture is utilised for the façade and for protruding shelves that occupy the first segment of the space. Together with the porous Ōya stone used for flooring,it provides a soft, natural palette that lends a pervasive sense of calm from the moment of entry.