Dividing the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn, the East River is a sliver of the primal between two dense urban landscapes. Since the city’s settlement, the river has played an ever-evolving role, its edges shaped and redrawn over time. Historically, the waterway accommodated trade vessels; later, it was the backdrop to the engineering feats of the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges.
It was this body of water—its steady, immutable presence—that inspired Aesop’s permanent Williamsburg signature store, located on North 3rd Street. Created by the Aesop in-house Design Department, the interior evokes the East River’s surface: the glint of sunlight on water, the impressionistic reflection of a cloudy sky, and the vivid dusks of the city skyline.
With its commanding brick archway framing generous glass panes, the storefront’s design privileges natural light. Inside, existing timber columns and beams nod to the building’s former industrial life, while original timber flooring bears the marks and irregularities of a bygone era.