Aesop Chinook Centre

Aesop Chinook Center Store Facade

Where the mountains meet the prairie

Before European settlement, the city we now call Calgary was known by a number of other names; among them, Moh-kíns-tsis, the Blackfoot word for ‘elbow’. Looking at a map of Alberta, it’s possible to trace the course of the Elbow River from the Rockies to Calgary, where it meets the Bow River at an abrupt angle which—indeed—suggests the bony joint.

Our inaugural Calgary signature store, situated within Chinook Centre, draws inspiration both from Alberta’s resplendent natural environment and its history of industrial might. Our in-house Design Department looked to the Lethbridge Viaduct, or High Level Bridge—a 1909 feat of engineering still operational today, which towers almost a hundred metres above the river.

The store’s dramatic glass-and-limestone façade signals a transition from the bustling retail corridor. Inside, the steel trestle is invoked through form and material, its verticality reiterated in slender brushed steel shelving. The earthen tones and irregular texture of green limestone, concrete and plaster, meanwhile, echo the landscape’s wild natural beauty. A sculptural limestone basin and counter provides a centrepiece for sensory encounters.

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‘Not of the buried yesterdays, but of the days to be / The glory and the gateway of the yellow West is she.’

Emily Pauline Johnson