I have a bit of an obsession with Aesop stores. Not so much with the products — which I’ve only sampled as hotel amenities — but with the design of the stores themselves. This Australian company has made a name for itself for innovative retail design concepts, often working with architects and designers to construct unique experiences that resonate in the local context. Now a global brand with outposts in Paris, London, New York and Tokyo among many others, visiting a new Aesop store has become one of my favourite things to do when I travel. Aesthetically the stores vary wildly, yet they all reflect an interest in materiality and surface, using unconventional materials to construct display fixtures and wall treatments. Aesop has recently opened two new stores in Japan — in Tokyo and Yokohama — designed by torafu architects, and while these spaces may be more refined than some of their previous efforts, they perfectly capture the Japanese minimalist aesthetic. The spaces are light and airy and seem to encourage a sense of quiet and calm.
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