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The new Aesop fit-out in Sheung Wan is a heedful nod to the local vernacular.
Following on the heels of its Paris and Tokyo store openings late last year, cosmetics brand Aesop began 2011 with the launch of its Hong Kong store in the island’s western district of Sheung Wan.
Much deliberation goes into the brand’s choice of location and the Sheung Wan neighbourhood was selected for its compelling mix of old and new, where traditional businesses and buildings of historical relevance coexist with creative modern retailers.
Multidisciplinary studio Russell & George was chosen for the project, given their knack for incorporating local resources and design vernacular. Ryan Russell of Russell & George had previously designed other award-winning retail spaces for Aesop.
As in every one of Aesop’s stores, the aim has been to add to, rather than detract from, the existing built environment, taking into account the characteristics of the neighbourhood and the type of outlets which share the street.
The store’s most striking design element is the bamboo cladded facade, which continues inwards in the form of repeated rows of compressed bamboo shelving, juxtaposed against raw concrete floors.
“As the store sits adjacent to an open public garden we had an opportunity to directly relate the facade and subsequent interior of the store to the wider context,” says Russell. The choice of bamboo, he adds, also establishes “a dialogue about sustainability”.
Graphically, forms and compositions in the interior – be it lighting or custom built elements – are inspired by “abstractions of static images of light created by moving traffic, people and the Hong Kong night time cityscape” says Russell, which ultimately achieves “a sense of motion through stillness” within the space.
Aesop is set to open more stores in Australia, New York, Paris and London.