Aesop Sendai Parco 2 interior

Textural depth and shadows bring calm to the interior.

Our first signature store to open in Japan’s Tōhoku region is located in Sendai’s Parco 2 retail centre. Once known as the City of Trees for gardens and forests established prior to the Meiji Restoration, Sendai is now noted for not only for verdant spaces and the castle built by its seventeenth-century feudal lord, but also the seven universities that have made it a centre of learning.

The store was created in partnership with Tokyo-based Torafu Architects; its design employs expressive texture, asymmetry and a natural palette to effect a subdued yet warm atmosphere. Walls to the left and right are assembled from Japanese Cedar slats, offering textural depth and shadows that bring calm to the interior; contrary to conventional architectural practice, the timber’s cross-grain faces outward.

Elegantly asymmetrical shelving lines the slats; to the left, streamlined grey steel shelves protrude from the wall, while tiers positioned opposite are recessed. Centrally positioned, a grey steel demonstration sink allows for individual consultations, and gently guides visitors’ explorations.

‘Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Seek what they sought.’

Matsuo Bashō