When establishing a new outpost, Aesop likes to do the unexpected. Since its beginnings in '87, the Australian skincare brand has been coveted for its line of high quality natural products and, in recent years, it's become equally beloved by an international crowd of young, successful creatives who revere the holistic and forward-thinking way Aesop approaches expansion and marketing. In 2011, for example, the Aesop team opened up shop in NYC's Nolita neighborhood, and enlisted local architect Jeremy Barbour to create walls and a counter constructed from re-purposed editions of the New York Times. The brand always seamlessly integrates the store's interior concept and its outside environs, and we recently trekked to East Hampton to see how this newly-launched location would mirror a beachside artists' community.
We had the pleasure of accompanying Aesop's General Manager and President of the Americas Giovanni Lepori to Aesop's new retreat, where he gave us a little clarity on the brand's unique passion for the arts. "From our perspective, the Hamptons are an extension of New York," explains Lepori. "We chose East Hampton in particular because we were attracted to its long history as an artist community, especially for those individuals like Lee Krasner and Jackson Pollock who made this small town their studio and their home. So, despite the WASP-y reputation that seems to pervade elsewhere, East Hampton has always been a place for creatives and that's something that caught our attention."
Aesop East Hampton is a peaceful space that makes use of a natural marine palette. "We wanted to create something simple and casual that captured the relaxing nature of the Hamptons. It was a retreat for generations of artists and today it plays a similar role for the new generation of busy New York creatives and local talent," says Lepori.
Designed by the architects at the Boston-based firm NADAAA, Aesop East Hampton takes its cues from local, open-space artist studios like the one at the Pollock-Krasner house, and more contemporary spots such as the sleek, barn-like profile of the Parrish Museum. The shop is minimally decorated with digitally-fabricated peg board that wraps around the room and houses Aesop's entire range of products. A functional tool for the store's staff, the board also serves as an interactive installation with Morse code messages hidden among the holes, a clever nod to the Hamptons' marine heritage.
"We want to be purposeful in choosing our locations. Our products are not for everyone and neither are our stores," explains Lepori. "Because we don't have a long history, we have this kind of freedom to do the unexpected. We want to be in places that surprise our customers not necessarily where everyone else is. It's a brand that people discover over time and that's something we are trying to preserve by always offering our clients something a little different."
Images courtesy of Aesop