New Aesop store in Rome opens, an ode to the Eternal City

At the new Aesop Via del Corso store in Rome, architect Jakob Sprenger hosted a celebratory event with Wallpaper*, including a panel discussion chaired by contributing editor Dal Chodha

Dal Chodha and Jakob Sprenger at Aesop Via del Corso Rome store
Wallpaper* contributing editor Dal Chodha and architect Jackob Sprenger at the celebratory event at Aesop’s new Rome store
(Image credit: Courtesy Aesop)

In partnership with Aesop

Aesop’s new Rome store, designed by long-standing collaborator Jakob Sprenger, sees the Swiss-based Austrian architect apply the same creative ethos that defines his previous projects with the Australian skincare brand. The earthy, warm and woody, welcoming aesthetic of the stores is driven by the German principle of Gesamtkunstwerk – the notion of the interior as a 'total artwork', an all-embracing project that makes use of all or many art forms, materials, skills and disciplines. 

Inside the Aesop Via del Corso store

Aesop Via del Corso Rome store opening event: beauty products on ice

(Image credit: Courtesy Aesop)

To celebrate the opening of Aesop Via del Corso and the launch of Wallpaper’s October 2023 Guest Editors’ issue, the two brands hosted a special event, including a panel discussion between Wallpaper* contributing editor Dal Chodha, Sprenger, and Jean-Philippe Bonnefoi, Head of Retail Design, Europe and Global Innovation at Aesop.

The discussion spanned Sprenger’s architectural vision for the store, the concept of ‘meaningful luxury’, and the future of physical retail space in an increasingly digital world. 

Aesop Via del Corso Rome store opening event with Dal Chodha, Jackob Sprenger and Jean Phillippe Bonnefoi

From left, Dal Chodha, Jackob Sprenger and Jean-Philippe Bonnefoi

(Image credit: Courtesy Aesop)

‘The notion of meaningful luxury adds charm, resonance, individuality and a real sense of place to the Aesop shopping experience,’ says the architect. ‘I approached the design of the Rome store with a fresh perspective on Italian architecture, always working with the narrative of the ever-present city and keeping its history alive.’

Aesop Via del Corso Rome store interior

(Image credit: Studio21)

Aesop’s collaboration with Sprenger – still only 28 years old – continues the brand’s tradition of working with young and emerging talent. His designs for Aesop’s global stores acknowledge the influence of local culture, architectural principles and geometric order, along with customers’ needs. At the brand’s Salzburg, Austria location on Getreidegasse, for instance, situated within the 14th-century Gritzenbergerhaus close to Mozart’s birthplace, Sprenger created an interior that took inspiration from the city’s opulent Baroque architecture and rich connection to classical music.

Party crowd from above at Aesop Via del Corso

(Image credit: Courtesy Aesop)

The new Rome store, Aesop’s second in the Italian capital, is an ode to the Eternal City. The store occupies a two-storey corner residence on Via del Corso, immersed among labyrinthine pathways and narrow cobbled streets, its handsome interior bathed in the hues and textures of pervading Roman history. 

woman gets hand treatment

(Image credit: Courtesy Aesop)

With its sequenced floor plan built around a majestic flight of stairs, the store is defined by its grand ceiling height, the ground floor divided into two enclaves that straddle the staircase. Sprenger has added shopfittings and compositions in walnut, brass, Travertino Romano, artisanal lime plaster, and burnt orange lacquer, the rooms exuding a nuanced sense of welcome. 

Soap bars lined up

(Image credit: Courtesy Aesop)

Felice Torelli’s 18th-century masterpiece Teseo Abbandona Arianna (‘Theseus Abandons Ariadne’) hangs at the heart of the store, reminding visitors of the heartaches of ancient mythology. Torelli’s brushwork is a lesson in tenderness, at home here in an environment where staff conduct their consultations with gentle care, guiding patrons through Aesop’s full range of formulations for skin, hair, body and home. 

Guests at party

From left, Wallpaper* contributor Caragh McKay, Wallpaper* Bespoke director Sarah-Jane Molony, Aesop global public relations manager Anna Jackson, and Wallpaper* contributing editor Dal Chodha

(Image credit: Courtesy Aesop)

Established in Melbourne in 1987, Aesop products put efficacy, vegan values and ethical sourcing to the fore, their complex, distinctive aromas a delightful, incidental treat. The story continues in Rome; a rhythm of nurture, olfactory pleasure and primary geometries playing out on the stair’s balustrade is an invitation to venture onward and upward. 

Leaves on white confectionary bases

(Image credit: Courtesy Aesop)

As visitors ascend, a chandelier inspired by fragments of antique columns found among the city’s archaeological sites illuminates the way to a landing transformed into an intimate suite dedicated to Aesop’s eaux de parfum. At the Fragrance Armoire, crafted from solid walnut timber, each aroma can be experienced and discerned or a chosen garment infused with a preferred scent, ready for a Roman passeggiata.

Person looks at magazine

An article on Aesop store design features in the October 2023 issue of Wallpaper*

(Image credit: Studio21)

Aesop Via del Corso store exterior

(Image credit: Courtesy Aesop)