The U.K. is one of the markets where Aesop has truly taken root, featuring a sizeable network across London and a number of large cities nationwide. And yet, the Australian cosmetics brand still sees room for further growth. The latest Aesop retail space has recently opened its doors in the historic heart of Cambridge. The store is situated on the ground floor of a listed red brick building erected in 1861, and the interior design is the result of Aesop‘s renewed collaboration with architects James Russell and Hannah Plumb of London-based practice JAMESPLUMB. The chosen aesthetic spawns from a collective exploration of the historic location, a wealth of ideas and inspiration sources, most notably Felicity Irons‘ rush weaving which became the very cornerstone of the design. A lovely shop window, filled with carefully selected Pelargoniums, beckons from afar. Beyond the entrance, the shop is comprised of two very different personalities.
Shoppers navigate through the light-filled front shop section, dipped in a hue that’s aptly derived from the inside of the stalks of the English bulrush. They can settle in the back room, which by contrast is a dark enveloping colour, magnifying the brooding tones from the small flower of the rush. Using both ancient and pioneering techniques, local plant matter is the primary material. The oversized shelves are crafted from English freshwater bulrush harvested and woven locally. Mind you, the rush is hand-cut from long punts on the River Great Ouse in Cambridgeshire, then air-dried before being braided into furniture at the nearby workshop. Additionally, the close proximity to academic and archival collections provided further cues for the design, and the retail space is also is a place where to sit back and browse through books in quiet comfort while being enveloped in botanical textures and aromas. The new Aesop store carries the brand’s full range of skin, body and hair products, in addition to fragrances, kits, travel products and gifts.
Designed by JAMESPLUMB
Images © JAMESPLUMB
Photography: Oskar Proctor