Aesop Stanford, Palo Alto, sits within an open-air retail area on the historic university campus. The design, conceived in-house, is inspired by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s series of Show Cases, Show Windows, and Storefronts, where layers of luminous fibres dress windows from within and metallic corridors stretch out to nowhere. The rarely exhibited project began in Paris, 1963, but flourished once the duo emigrated to the United States in 1964.
From the street, a vibrated aluminium façade is interrupted by two panels of hovering fiberglass that partially reveal the store’s narrow interior. Poplar shelving units attach to, and enhance the natural tones of, the fiberglass, spanning the entire length of the space. A tall volume allows for visual pause: what appears to be a structural column folds out to become storage amenity. Wrapped around the cylindrical form, timber seating allows for physical respite. In the space beyond, an elongated basin and counter, tilted against the parallel walls, delineates the environment for promenade and sensory experience.
‘When time is spent, eternity begins.’