On Saturday, Dec. 13, Aesop opened their 100th store, designed by Norwegian firm Snøhetta, which is the first signature one in Norway for the Australia-based brand that specializes in high-end skincare products. Built within a narrow brick building dating back to the 1800s in Prinsensgate, a historical area in Oslo, the designers were challenged with creating a cohesive environment aimed at enhancing the sensory experience, while continuing Aesop’s founder’s belief in creating a distinct identity for each individual location. Given only 710 square feet to work with, Snøhetta looked where they had the most available space to create an innovative piece—the ceiling. Combining contemporary and traditional shapes, the designers created a ceiling plane with ten intersecting domes, reminiscent of Orthodox churches and monasteries. To accentuate the varying proportions and give it a modern feel, it was finished with matte gypsum plaster. The intersecting domes also allows for playful lighting and acoustics.
The sink is both the focal point and where activities are directed through the movement of the space’s forms. This area is where products can be tested, and demonstrations can be made. The base holding the sink replicates the ceiling but in reversal. By doing so, the customer’s attention is refocused towards the wash basin, but movement is still encouraged with the repeated shapes and singular color palette.