Hong Kong based studio Cheungvogl has designed two new Hong Kong stores for Aesop. The two aren’t strangers to each other - Cheungvogl has created several store concepts for the Australian cosmetics brand before, including a temporary installation at I.T HYSAN ONE, one in a long series of collaborations. Aren't they bored with each other yet?
Aesop, Telford Plaza, Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong and Aesop Signature Store, Cityplaza, Tai Koo Shing, Hong Kong are your latest two stores for Aesop in Hong Kong. What are the differences between the two?
Cheungvogl: The Signature store for Aesop Cityplaza merges display with storage, which allows the costumers to engage with Aesop’s operation. The display follows the idea of an honest and practical storage system in a warehouse and at the same time it creates a sense of calmness by the choice of natural materials and simplification of design details.
The stacked timber shelving units are complimented by concrete walls and epoxy industrial floor finish, enabling light to reflect and enlighten the space in a dimmer, more theatrical context compare to the adjacent environment. The elongated configuration coupled with the visual projection on the back wall draw visitors’ attention into the store in an instance.
We were convinced of having met Aesop’s highest expectations, when Dennis [Paphitis, Founder and CEO of Aesop] asked us to carry through the design language and rationality of Aesop Cityplaza onto the new signature store at Telford Plaza.
In Telford, we use black metal as a contrast to the existing site, which is filled with natural light. The black metal walls and ceiling visually heightens the space, while the stacked timber shelves are slightly reduced in height to accentuate the volume of the space.
What inspired you to design these stores?
Cheungvogl: Our projects are engaged with how the brand functions and how materials are used to enhance these functions in their most honest and natural interpretations.
The stacked timber shelving unit follows the specifications and requirements of timber crates storage during production, shipping and delivery process.
The design process simulates the notion of laboratory tests in which we analysed, measured, documented and tested the perfect mixture of materials such as metal, timber, concrete within each space. Since both stores are inherently distinctive in their contextual environments, the different mixtures of ingredients are selected to enhance or contrast the expression of these contexts.
You designed stores for Aesop before, why do you keep collaborating with them?
Cheungvogl: The biggest reward for our dedication and passion towards our projects is a returning client. Aesop certainly values our design philosophy and project management skills by entrusting our studio to design a cycle of new concepts.
Within the Aesop aesthetic, how did you put your ideas into the designs of these stores?
Cheungvogl: Our studio does not necessarily have a static design aesthetic manifesto, but we work with a philosophy that aesthetics must follow a set of rigorous design discipline that is grounded in research and analysis. Aesop is a brand that values design as an integral and holistic process in which we are able to materialize the designs into a series of confident and coherent outcome.