Aesop’s slick new São Paulo store is the first foray into the Latin American market for the cult Australian skincare brand, whose careful branding also extends to a made to measure approach to the design of each shop. The premise of this latest project was a desire to create a seamless transition between the store and its surroundings, free of partitioning where possible and providing uninterrupted views of the interior from the street by way of vast glass panes.
The project is a collaborative effort between Pritzker and Mies Van de Rohe prize winning Brazilian architect Paulo Mendes and Metro Associated Architects. Utilising the kind of locally sourced, everyday materials – such as concrete, glass and paint – usually employed in civil construction, the team’s sensitive and imaginative approach has created a functional elegance with meticulous detailing and finish, the hardy materials offset by artisanal patterned cement tiles more commonly associated with residential properties. The store has a dual frontage, with the main entrance located on Rua Oscar Freire, both providing great street-side visibility of the interiors.
One of the salient features is the impressive counter located in the sales area, a central cylinder fashioned out of exposed polished concrete which was cast in situ and cantilevered from a painted steel cylinder for support. Three squat pillars act as display plinths for the brand’s apothecary style bottles, each fashioned from raw concrete and peppered with air bubbles trapped during casting. Multi-shelved display units sit against mirrored walls to invoke an even greater sense of space.