Aesop renovates Georgian townhouse in Bath, unveiling hidden staircase and library
Aesop has brought its superlative skincare to the British spa town of Bath. Its the second store designed in collaboration with creative studio JamesPlumb, after the London Lamb’s Conduit location, and is the brand’s first foray into the West Country.
The brief was to reimagine and unite the five-storey listed site in central Bath – sensitively restoring it, paying homage to its Georgian sensibilities. On excavating the building (previously occupied by a generically-designed shoe shop), the designers discovered many lost features including a covered-over fireplace and hidden staircase, which now feature prominently.
The upstairs library space is used for private Aesop events
Stripped floorboards, plaster walls, and simple ironmongery lights evoke a bygone era, while an adjoining kitchen – quite unique for an Aesop store – has a distinct feeling of a Georgian scullery. Absent are the obvious Georgian traits of rococo patterning and rich colourings – neatly sidestepped to avoid cliche.
Throughout the store, Aesop was keen to celebrate what gives Bath its name – its storied Roman stone baths built on natural hot springs. Channelling this, the space incorporates Bath stone – as seen in the shelving, sinks and countertop. Large stone fragments found during the renovation and have been installed as artwork, and a floor of Pamment tiles have been reclaimed from a nearby chapel.
Even the smallest design details are locally-inspired. Plug holes in the main sink (used for Aesop’s signature basin consultations) are based on the ones found in No 1 Royal Crescent – a local museum of national, architectural and historic importance, which has been decorated and furnished just as it might have been during the period 1776-1796.
Mini-break central, Bath is a growing dot on the design map. There’s a Hay store round the corner from the new Aesop outpost, alongside a flurry of local boutiques (Grace & Ted on Kingsmead Square is a good place to start). The Aesop addition proves that this pretty spa town is worth its (bath) salt. §