Aesop Kyoto was created in collaboration with the Simplicity team under the leadership of Shinichiro Ogata. The design draws inspiration from Jun’ichirō Tanizaki’s In Praise of Shadows, the aesthetics of 14th-century actor and playwright Zeami Motokiyo, Kyoto’s machiya townhouses, and the vertical alignment of Japanese text.
The store’s sizeable front window offers passers-by a glimpse of an antique water pump that signals the design’s traditional sensibilities. Inside, a palette of black and white effects a play of light and shade, articulated by a veil of blackened mesh that demarcates the entrance corridor from the retail area; Aesop bottles are sewn through the veil in calligraphic order.
An island fitted with copper plumbing houses the demonstration sink in the centre of the display space. Here, customers can explore and select from Aesop’s complete range of skin, hair and body care formulations, distinguished by botanical and laboratory-generated ingredients of the highest quality. The store’s trained consultants are able to offer advice about products best suited to individual clients’ needs.