Situated in Chelsea, London, Aesop Duke of York Square was inspired in part by the exhilarating opening scenes of classic James Bond films. Designed in partnership with Snøhetta, it takes advantage of capacious dimensions to effect dramatic, clearly defined forms and material contrasts.
Walls of earthen render washed in pale rose gesture to the masonry prevalent in this part of the city, and provide a pleasingly earthy element, with texture and palette shifting from rough to smooth. An existing central column leads the spatial hierarchy, anchoring twelve silhouette-like arches that curve up and across to the store’s perimeter, to dramatic effect.
These sweeping structres create zones of intimacy around a large circular demonstration sink that appears to hover. The sink is edged by a shallow reflective pool; at night, light reflected from water shimmers on the walls. Fine steel lines set into the concrete floor mirror the arches and subdivide the surface into smaller components, marrying utilitarian metal and rough cement.
‘All meanings, we know, depend on the key of interpretation.’