Aesop Flagship Store images/981.jpg

Aesop Flagship Store

87 Collins Street has the feel of a gentleman’s private salon, somewhere between his study and bathroom/dressing room. Found objects, vintage furniture and lighting have been incorporated to create a sense of the inner sanctum of this worldly character. This masculine aesthetic is in response to the brief for this particular shop to relate to the other men’s retail in the area such as Harrolds. It is also in response to the location, a shop within the Athenaeum Club Building. Overall 87 Collins feels like being in someone’s private space and being given the opportunity to go through their personal things … so the testing station is like a gentleman’s vanity with his personal grooming effects on the bench.
So the store is imagined as a salon – a masculine space that is a hybrid in that it combines a study area with sitting and dressing room/vanity. The testing station is a mixture of desk and vanity. Sink meets typewriter.

As a salon is also a comfortable place to sit, and dream, perhaps in one of the windows, a resting place for those accompanying the shopper, somewhere with a reading lamp to read the paper – a copy of financial times – and peruse the objects on a side table. The point of sale and the testing unit are designed as freestanding pieces of furniture as are the display areas imagined as museum cabinets. These various elements are differentiated slightly in scale, proportion and materials. Some are wall mounted as bookshelf/cabinet of curios. The idea of the curiosity cabinet was influential in this regard.

A leather curtain between front and back of house creates a feeling of intimacy and hints at a secret world behind. Other materials that seem to fit within this scenario of gentleman’s salon include mirror for the vanity; glass and sheet metals including copper (relating to the beautiful existing copper shopfront) and black steel.

Aesop Flagship Store, Collins Street Melbourne

Completed 2012
Shortlisted: 2013 AIA Awards – Interior Design (Vic)
Shortlisted: 2012 IDEA Awards – Retail

Photography: Trevor Mein, Meinphoto