Situated in Fortitude Valley, James Street Aesop is March Studio’s 17th completed store. The challenges of the site included the fact that this is Aesop’s largest site to date, had dual entrances to which equal importance was given and a difficult change of ceiling height from double height void down to compressed single story. A solution that could unite the space into one fluid gesture while reducing the floor area was called for.
Fundamentally, the design was conceived as a freestanding structure which could be inserted into the space to create a focused product and testing area, while also dividing the floor into two back of house areas and a window display. The organic shapes of Anish Kapoor and upturned fibreglass swimming pools became images of inspiration for the articulation of the fluid form and for the material choice: fibreglass. Fibreglass was also chosen as the hero material due to its direct connection with water sports and leisure, (fibreglass surfboards, fibreglass above ground swimming pools, fibreglass kayaks) evoking childhood images of vacation in Queensland.
The resolution of the design was limited by one-way curving fibreglass sheet, not two way curving mouldings. Open at each end, the arching form connects wall and ceiling, moving through the undercroft space and then billowing out into the double height void. The fibreglass sheet, limited to only being able to curve in one direction, results in a shape that evokes the trumpeting horn of a phonograph. The soft acoustics amplify onto James Street as a result.
Photography by Peter Bennetts and Trevor Mein.