Aesop Main Street is the company’s third signature store in Vancouver. Looking north from the site, rows of low-rise buildings frame the North Shore Mountains, which soar over and contrast with the built environment. The store’s design is inspired by the modernist works of the late, local architect Arthur Erickson. An understated, monochromatic façade gives way to an interior of strong curves and seductive tectonics.
Finely textured grey fabric wraps the perimeter of the store, culminating in a rounded partition that separates front and back of house. This curved plan is echoed by an intersecting arc that simultaneously defines and obscures the path of egress to the back of house. Recycled bullnose concrete blocks stack to the ceiling—an intriguing cylindrical volume. Inside, a seating plinth cast in-situ rises from the low-lustre polished concrete floor, providing an intimate retreat for customers.
A slender, steel wall system is offset from the fabric backdrop to support shelves and basins, which are staggered throughout the space. Each element is embedded into the skeleton, module by module, allowing for a beguiling discovery of sensations and spaces.
‘It is wonderful to feel the grandness of Canada in the raw.’