Aesop Westmount store interior

A layered exploration of water and its symbolism

Our first signature store in Montreal, in the Westmount district, was created in collaboration with Quebecois architect Alain Carle, who used Ivan Illich’s essay ‘H2O & the Waters of Forgetfulness’ as a point of departure for examining the layered cultural and symbolic meanings of water, which has a prominent role in the local landscape and industry.

The space has a contemplative feel, using fluidity in materials and geometry to explore the multiformity of this essential element. An antique black glass mirror runs down one wall, giving the impression of a double volume and reflecting water’s winter metamorphosis from liquid to solid. Pure white Marmorino stucco walls appear to float against the black expanse, like crisp snow contrasted with black ice.

The floor is a platform of timber planks, seemingly suspended, recalling raftsmen of the past who spent entire days balanced on beams of lumber in the river to guide them towards southern industrial centres. An angular sink evokes the technological harnessing of water, gleaming plates of brass controlling and containing its flow.

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