Aesop | Queen Street West

Toronto, Ontario

Aesop Queen Street West is the brand’s first Canadian store. A luxury skin and body care line from Australia, Aesop chose superkül to design their newest shop based on a shared commitment to highly detailed, site-specific and signature design.

All of the Aesop stores strive to capture the intrinsic qualities of their individual locations through the use and engagement of local materials, culture and history. Here on Queen West, the shop design was inspired by the historic juxtaposition of residential and manufacturing uses along the street, and the natural landscape of the former Garrison Creek ravine in adjacent Trinity Bellwoods Park.

Quintessentially Torontonian, the store is deep and narrow; emphasizing this linearity, the design draws the eye through to a small side courtyard, inviting scrutiny of old and new architecture along the way. The interior was stripped back to the original brick, forming a substrate for an installation comprised of layers of industrial felt and blackened steel. Crafted by artist Kathryn Walter, the felt alludes to Canada’s 17th-century commercial origins in the fur trade and the history of local textile manufacturing. Soft, warm and domestic, it provides a buffer against noise—and in its organic imperfection, an evocation of the greater Canadian landscape. In complement, the blackened steel elements reference local industrial history and the embedded streetcar tracks of the roadway just outside the door.

The shop is a sensory journey; bathed in honey-coloured light, the tactile qualities of the steel and felt draw visitors in—away from the noise and frenetic pace of the city—to engage and to touch, enveloped in the distinctive Aesop fragrance that fills the space.

photo: Ben Rahn/A-Frame Inc