Aesop Mitsukoshi Taichung

Aesop Mitsukoshi Taichung, store interior

A muted cocoon within a bustling retail centre

To replace an open counter in a crisp white 1990s retail centre in Taichung, Aesop’s in-house Design Department inverted and solidified the form and radius detail of the city’s iconic window ‘cage’ verandahs to create a concaved zone of privacy, shadows, and focus.

Traces of Toyo Ito and Cecil Balmond’s nearby Opera House: grey-green aggregate extrudes as store aperture. The organic form punctuates the flat, monotonous mall elevation. Caper-green acoustic felt frames the entrance and crosses the threshold, drawing passers-by from a humming retail corridor into a space of welcoming quietude.

Natural brass descends into a monolithic aggregate form, revealing a shared basin for three. Recessed, slanted tester racks sustain the sunken spatial language. Felt-wrapped shelves protrude from the walls, extending, verandah-like, to seat three. A constellation of lights project from the ceiling, seamlessly, over the sink and counter, playing with positive and negative space.

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‘With the quiet serenity of a meditative mind, listen, absorb, transcribe, and transform.’

Pythagoras of Samos