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Aesop Bondi Beach captures the distinctive spirit of an iconic location; its weathered textures, abundant light and simple, practical materials recalling that most quintessential of Australian imaginaries – the beach house. Designed by Cibi, the sun-drenched space was inspired by the wholesome sense of relaxation that characterises childhood seaside holidays. Set back from the busy hub of Bondi proper, the store captures the sun’s rays and refracts them by means of two steel-framed windows demarcating the rear of the space, set at right angles – one extending out above the counter. Looming behind the vertical pane, three vintage Belgian metal pendant lamps painted a crisp, maritime mint-green throw subtle artificial light upwards. Exposed pipes reiterate the stripped-back aesthetic and spatial pragmatism.
Timber sourced from the Geelong wharves has been used to model shelves and benches along one wall, its heft and weathered grey tones complementing concrete walls and floors. The floors have been buffed to a polish, with dips deliberately left in place to elicit moments of discovery and surprise; an antique laundry sink in raw concrete sits against one of the walls. The sea nearby is referenced in the amorphous wave-like forms of the benches opposite, which are topped with cool grey Carrera marble.
Textures and tonality work in concert to achieve a casual ambiance that gains character from the change in surface and grain.
An intriguing window display greets visitors: a long, oxidised antique metal chain, rope, hook and bucket hang in the main window, filled with an array of products. Underneath, an inlaid section of the floor contains a small patch of raked sand, at once a space of meditation and an homage to the local area. A water mister next to the door extends the fresh feeling of sea air indoors. Aesop Bondi Beach is a temporal prism, a nostalgic voyage narrated by a selection of treasured objects and materials rendered unique by their reactions to the elements and the passage of time. It succinctly encapsulates the inimitable sense of freedom and fulfilment that comes from days spent in intimate acquaintance with surf, sand and the light of the sun.