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Aesop’s New Pitt Street Store
23rd February 2020
In a land of blistering sunshine and frenzied nightlife, there exists a new haven for restorative recovery and a blissed-out beacon of beauty. Aesop, the Melbourne-founded skincare company, has opened their largest brand-store globally on Pitt Street in the heart of Sydney’s central business district (CBD).
Well known for their creams, lotions, tinctures, and potions, Aesop is stepping into a new direction, beyond that of slinging topical concoctions, and into the experiential realm. While those fragrant staples they peddle will be front and center in their signature brown bottles, the opening of the spacious Pitt Street location also brings an amphitheater to serve as an event and performance space and will also host a seasonal digital-art program curated by Guest Work Agency.
We love this. We can’t tell you how many inspiring exhibits we’ve seen in cold and sterile showrooms, or how many amazing bands we’ve seen in the rankest basements and pubs; I’ve had to throw away a denim jacket after a ripe night in a particularly funky club. By designing with every sense in mind, Aesop’s store may have just built the first event space to leave you smelling better than when you arrived. Not only has Aesop tapped into a sensory experience that few venues and galleries have, they are doing it with an authentically Aussie aesthetic from the literal ground up.
Built by international architecture firm Snøhetta, responsible for some majorly cool projects, from the world’s first underwater restaurant to the Shanghai Opera House, the inspiration for this stores’ design is based on the 1969 grand earthwork by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Wrapped Coast, which draped a rocky 2.4 km stretch of the Sydney coastline in billowy white fabric. From the outside, the muted grey sandstone and pops of yellow flowers allude to the serene coastal vibes contained within. Granite slabs throughout the interior mirror the CBD streets, and injections of colourful flora adorning the space, breathe life and tranquility into this deliberate sanctuary.
According to Aesop retail architectural manager Denise Neri, “We were inspired by the elemental work connected to landscape, nature and natural materials, which are often referenced by Aesop, as well as the rugged grandeur of the project.”
What may be an unexpected respite from an over-crowded to-do list for weary business folk, may also become a destination in and of itself for travellers and adventurers. While the financial district alone may not be the first destination for tourists visiting a legendary beach town and the most diverse metropolis on the continent, Aesop may have bumped the central business district up the list by opening a new cultural touchpoint where you can restock your dop case and absorb a performance or two.
It’s also a testament to the brand itself. What began as a non frivolous hole in the wall in Melbourne, Aesop has wafted itself around the globe over the last three decades with an iconic and steadfast vision, cementing itself as one of the most recognizable brands in beauty, and ironically planting itself like a flower in a concrete bed of capitalism. Scent and beauty products are especially personal, and love them or hate them, Aesop is a dominant force in the industry. And with power comes responsibility, which is why it’s refreshing to see them leveraging their position and influence to elevate other artists and creators.
If you find yourself in the bustling city center, drowning in chaos, or slipping into a midday fog, pop into the shop and hit the reset button. Do your senses a favor and dabble like a connoisseur, sample some soothing balms, share some conversations with the knowledgeable staff, and refocus your day with an immersive experience. Once you have your supply of salve, cruise a couple blocks to Hyde Park or the Royal Botanical Gardens, and make the most of your trip and newfound glow in the harbor city.
Shop 2047, 188 Pitt Street, Sydney
Mon to Wed 9am–7pm