Aesop | Rosedale

Toronto, Ontario

In its design for the second Aesop store in Toronto, superkül draws upon the historical and topographical significance of the surrounding Rosedale neighbourhood, a residential enclave with origins dating back to the early 1800s. The densely planted picturesque landscape with its winding streets and crescents, along with a lush, mysterious and vast ravine system, define this part of the city that lies just north of the dense downtown core.

For this 90-square-metre Aesop location, the designers have created, in essence, a secret garden, where architecture behaves as a substrate for natural growth. A carefully chosen material palette enhances the link not only to nature but to the organic and botanic qualities of the Aesop skin- and body-care products, and design gestures also subtly mimic this relationship.

Cleansing white tones define the space; matte whitewashed brick runs the length of the entire north wall of the store, providing an evocatively textured finish that complements the similarly hued pale, smooth concrete counters and porcelain-tiled floors. In contrast, a calming leaf green defines the back wall of the store, which houses additional product in its built-in display receptacles. The compelling colour represents freshness and renewal, providing a focal point to the minimalist space while signalling the point-of-purchase desk to customers.

An elaborately conceived but subtly layered shelving assembly extends along the south wall: referencing a garden trellis, slender powder-coated steel elements constitute the structural framework for the display system. Behind the shelves, a mirrored surface is overlaid with a finely perforated metal screen, creating a depth of field and a muted quality of reflection. As customers browse the product, they catch glimpses of themselves in the mirror through an impressionistic painterly lens. The effect is intensified by the randomly scattered lights in the ceiling above that evoke a constellation of stars; they softly reflect off this screen-and-mirror shelving assembly to create a dappled effect throughout the space, not unlike sunlight filtering through a latticed garden wall.

Aesop Rosedale offers a serene connection to the natural world, a welcome respite from a well trafficked stretch of Yonge Street.

photo: Shai Gil