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Aesop Nolita

From newsprint walls to a city-based campaign, Aesop's holistic design in their new NYC store

by Ami Kealoha in Design on 14 September 2011

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Since its inception in 1987, Australian skincare line Aesop has gone to great lengths to ensure quality. Everything from manufacturing to distribution, including of course their all-natural, socially-conscious products, is the result of a thoughtful, detail-oriented approach. When it comes to opening retail locations, the brand focuses on meshing seamlessly into its surroundings, drawing on elements from the locale to incorporate them into the space. In the case of their 40th standalone location, which opened 7 September 2011 in the Nolita neighborhood of New York City and is one of three opening in the city over the next few months, they applied the concept quite literally.

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Designed by local architect Jeremy Barbour, he adopted the same solution as when he created Aesop's Grand Central Station kiosk, constructing the wall displays and counter out of re-purposed editions of the New York Times. The material, layered to form what look like large paper bricks, gives the space unprecedented texture, creating a warm, welcoming atmosphere. Beyond the visual component, the soft, weathered feel of it compliments the product line nicely, as well as grounding it within the city and community. In a nod to Aesop's appreciation of the arts, the store will screen Criterion Films on the paper walls, so customers can enjoy world-class cinema projected over years of the written word.

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The new boutique also introduces the latest in their 30-day-long store opening series, Thirty Views of New York, in which I was recently one of thirty participants from the arts, publishing, fashion, and music. Each day through the 11th of October, a contributor will reveal a favorite (and possibly secret) location in NYC, including galleries, museums, restaurants, stores and other hidden gems. As part of Aesop's ingenuity when entering a new space, the campaign allows consumers to learn about the hidden richness in a classic landscape.

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