From the street, a dark metal monolith appears in an enigmatic way between two of the columns of the building in which the store is located. Familiar and alien at the same time, it is an element that gives continuity to what surrounds it but, at the same time, defines a singular moment in the whole, an entrance.
Upon crossing its threshold, the visitor discovers a space barely three and a half meters wide, twelve meters long, and five meters high. A rectangular space, simple, somewhat unexpected. Inside, three slender columns clad in burnished steel appear majestic. Their position is not perfect, and neither is the rhythm that orders them, but even so, they can define everything that happens around them, they have the strength of being the essence of the place.
They are arranged asymmetrically within the space, and this allows finding an order in it; in the widest part of the store, facing the columns, there is a counter. Suspended from the wall, it extends throughout the space, disappearing into its depths. Like the columns, it is also made of burnished steel, slightly shiny, and worked by hand. The material allows the counter to be perceived as an abstract, light, apparently simple element. On the other side, eight trays, also made of steel, seven meters long, organize the exhibition of the Aesop universe.
The columns, the trays, and the counter are placed inside the store looking for the visitor to be able to move freely, attracted by the way things happen. The three accompany the visitor throughout the store until discover that the counter turns on itself and forms a small semicircular room where everything changes. Inside it, the straight lines disappear, it’s an enveloping space, in which the height changes dramatically, and with it the light and the material that makes up the room. A sensual and intimate space where you can sit and have a close relationship with everything around you.
From the back of the store, the sequence repeats. Like a choreography, the play of the three elements that make up the store guides us toward the exit. The viewer discovers something different in the background. A curtain, like a large piece of cloth, unnoticed until this point, unfolds to its full height, wrapping and completing the small semicircular room. Suddenly, everything changes. Somehow, the rigor with which the store is organized is what also makes surprise, movement, and sensuality possible.
The project for the Aesop store on Consell de Cent Street has been a project of discovering and stripping the existing space to reveal its essence and the character of Aesop. The store is made up of a few elements, expressive and precise in their position, and with three materials: stucco on the walls and ceilings, terrazzo on the floor, and burnished steel on the columns, the counter, and the display case. It is a simple and complex space at the same time, which aspires to be sophisticated and close, and in a certain way intimate and monumental.
Private Commission. Built.
Images by Marina Desinova, Simone Marcolin