Matte and polished steel, strong curves, and a monochromatic palette resemble the modernist works of local architect Arthur Erickson.
By Lauren Mang
No two Aesop stores are ever the same, says Stuart Millar, the Australian skincare brand’s general manager and president of the Americas. The retailer’s latest space, a 935-square-foot store that opened in March in Vancouver’s Mt. Pleasant neighborhood, certainly makes good on that statement. Its design is rooted in the modernist works of late Canadian architect Arthur Erickson—particularly his 1979 Hugo Eppich House in West Vancouver.
“The house was built with the intent to utilize the fabrication capabilities of the owner’s steel company,” Millar notes. “The materiality and experience of Aesop Main Street speaks to this: there is matte steel accented with polished steel throughout. This is defined by large curves along the space’s perimeter in finely textured fabric.” That neutral wall fabric echoes a rug found in Eppich House, and softens some of the heavier materials used throughout the store, including steel shelving and basins, a low-luster polished concrete floor, and a rounded column of recycled bullnose concrete blocks stacked to the ceiling. From that column extends a concrete plinth that affords shoppers an intimate seating retreat, and was inspired by the pool at Erickson’s 1974 Hilborn House in Cambridge, Ontario.
“Our stores exist to host our customers,” Millar says. “We provide calm environments, a considered marriage of function and form to nurture the senses and experience our skincare formulations.”