Situated in Chelsea, London, Aesop Duke of York Square was inspired in part by the exhilarating opening scenes of classic James Bond films. Its design was created in partnership with our long-term collaborators Snøhetta, and 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 an earthy, textured element, with materiality and palette shifting from rough to smooth and light to dark respectively. 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 structures create zones of intimacy around a large circular demonstration sink, 4.2 metres in diameter, that seems to hover in space, inviting visitors to experience an Aesop product consultation. The sink is edged by a shallow reflective pool; during the night, light reflected off the water shimmers on the walls. Fine steel lines set into the concrete floor mirror the arches and subdivide the monolithic surface into smaller geometric components, marrying utilitarian metal and rough cement.