You may be wondering why I am writing about Aesop. And yes, Aesop is an Australian brand. They carry skin, hair and body care products with plant-based and laboratory-made ingredients, but many of you probably are familiar with that already.
I have been a fan of their products for some time now, but what fascinates me about this brand is their mentality in store design. When designing a retail store, it is common practice to go by the corporate store design. Working for an international brand for many years, I have been educated that no matter where the location, a store must look and feel the same. However, Aesop takes a different view on that. Each and every store is unique. They do not go by one fixed store design, but instead create stores that blend in and set root in the local environment.
By studying the local culture, history and materials, and sometimes teaming up with local architects and designers, they create stores with passion and respect to the country and the area. You can learn about their stores and design concepts in their microsite, “Taxonomy of Design”.
My favorite Aesop store in Tokyo is the one in Nakameguro. For some reason, it is not on the microsite mentioned above, but here are some photos of the store.
This store opened in May 27th, 2016 as the 10th store in the Kanto region, in collaboration with Shinichiro Ogata who also designed Aesop Minamiaoyama and Aesop Kyoto. Ogata is the founder and designer of the interior and product design firm, SIMPLICITY. SIMPLICITY is a unique firm that works with both architecture and products. The teahouse Yakumo Saryo, the Japanese confectionery HIGASHIYA, and product brand S and Wasara are some of their creations. The backbone of Ogata’s works is the recreation of traditional Japanese crafts and culture to meet the modern lifestyle of today.
And that is what he has done for Aesop Tokyo as well. Today, Nakameguro is a very chic area with many stores and cafes alongside the Meguro river, and homes just a few blocks away. But it is not so long ago that the area has become what it is today. The Meguro river has always had an important role in the development of the city, and Ogata pays tribute to its history.
I learned from the sales staff there that the interior was inspired by Japanese homes in the 1950s, around the time when the Tokyo Olympics were held. The antique like display custom-made for the store uses teak, giving the space a natural and serene atmosphere. The sink, made from several materials like tile, mortar and copper also reflect the homes of that time.
Nakameguro continues to evolve and with it attracting many unique stores and people. If you have an eye for architecture and design, then Aesop Tokyo is the place to visit.
1-13-9 Kami-Meguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo