Aesop West Loop store interior

A design of shifting geometric planes, degrees of transparency, and raw architectural elements.

Our second Chicago signature store is situated in the evolving West Loop neighborhood. Created in partnership with Mexico-based architect Frida Escobedo, the location marks our sixth collaboration in the Americas with the architect. Escobedo’s first brief was for a temporary space in Brooklyn’s Invisible Dog Art Center in 2013; each subsequent collaboration has generated a fresh design proposition for Aesop, informed by a deep connection to the specifics of site, setting, and place.

The design for the 775-square foot West Loop store finds inspiration in the gridded metallic fencing and woven green tarps which veil construction sites in the area, and Chicago at large. Primarily, the aesthetic effect of the layered patterns: one of alternating opacity, translucency, diffusion, and occasional moiré.

A ubiquitous symbol of urban renewal, these barriers inform materiality, form, and color in the design, with Escobedo translating the industrial application into custom furniture, shelving, and screens fabricated from wire mesh and perforated steel in varying degrees of transparency. Uniformly powder-coated in Hartford Green, these elements mirror both the color of the construction barriers and the hue of an architectural ghost—a dark green silhouette of a former staircase inscribed on an existing wall, preserved and retained in the final design.

This tension between history and renovation is heightened through the use of a green-tinted mirror wall, which reflects the rawness of the facing original wall and duplicates the horizontal planes and clean geometry of the new mesh insertions.


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