By the Engel & Völkers Team
Tucked away in the Le Marais neighborhood of Paris, you’ll find a unique store where blackened and polished steel caps typically used to seal the city’s sewer pipes adorn the walls and act as shelving units. Similarly, in Singapore, thousands of displaced coconut fibers hang from a store ceiling, simulating a meadow of dried grass flipped upside down. In New York City, a shop displays old New York Times papers that have been stacked, bound and put up against its every wall and counter. For Australian beauty product brand Aesop, all these architectural designs defy the norm against most other retail brands and uphold one tenant: total atmospheric emersion in each global location.
For Dennis Paphitis who founded Aesop in 1987, this is precisely how he envisions the shopping experience for all his shops to be: “I like to compare the different stores to old-style charm bracelets. There is one band that the individual pieces are all attached to.” This means emphasizing simplicity, integrity and authenticity across all Aesop storefronts, which are characterized by soft lines, natural colors and native hues.
With a strong leniency towards minimalism, this also translates to the brand’s skin, hair and body care products, which are rid of any superfluous ingredients and additives. Heavy scents, parabens, silicone and coloring agents are never used, while plant-based formulas and natural herb, flower and fruit aromas reign supreme.
The packaging is inspired by old apothecary aesthetics, largely featuring brown bottles, small droppers, minimalist tubes, glass jars and simple black-and-white labels. From a practical standpoint, Aesop’s packaging is also designed to protect its contents from light over time.
Deep respect for authenticity and simplicity runs through every vein of Aesop’s brand. Treating every one of its storefronts like an architectural jewel and each of its products with immense care—sometimes taking up to five years to launch a new item—Aesop has paid homage to naturalism across the globe in the greatest way possible.
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