The interior of the Flinders Lane Aesop store is constructed entirely from cardboard.

Great Architects have long a fascination with cardboard. Frank Gehry, and more recently Shigeru Ban have explored a number of ways to reveal the structural and material properties cardboard holds, an otherwise undesirable building material.

MarchStudio AFlinders Model Photo 01

In early 2008, Flinders Lane was an opportunity for us to explore the usage of cardboard in a retail environment. We were eager to prove that the material is hardwearing and fitting for the retail environment - an environment that is constantly changing as quickly as the lease renewal.

After experiencing some of our earlier cardboard projects and eager to benefit from a busy shopping period, the client approached us with a simple brief; to make it from cardboard and have it open in one fortnight....

After a week of design and documentation, the fit-out took just five days to construct. While the clock ticked, our staff folded, constructed and mounted 3000 cardboard boxes into counters and an adjustable shelving wall. The boxes sourced are the exact type used by Aesop to ship their product bottles around the world, a box which of course is 100% recycled and recyclable. In addition to that and inspired by site visits to the cardboard factory on previous projects, stacked industrial-grade cardboard is used to form the serving counter, display shelves and eastern wall of the store.

MarchStudio AFlinders Model Photo 02

Constructed initially as a temporary store, the interior at Aesop Flinders Lane has generated enormous positive public response, so Aesop are in no hurry to dismantle it. The cardboard has proven to be sturdy, practical, and visually compatible with the Aesop merchandise, as well as further expressing the company’s longstanding interest in innovative design. Should the store be deconstructed, the cardboard can be reused to package goods rather than becoming landfill. One of the boxes has a $50 note in it whilst another has a dirty sock. 

MarchStudio AFlinders Plan Section3