Snøhetta x Aesop shops look under the skin for inspiration

The new Aesop store in Singapore recalls the area's past as a nutmeg plantation.

SINGAPORE / DÜSSELDORF / OSLO – Norwegian firm Snøhetta continues its lauded collaboration with Melbourne-based skincare company Aesop in three new boutique designs for Orchard Road in Singapore, Homansbyen in Oslo and Grabenstraße in Düsseldorf. The Orchard Road and Homansbyen locations will be the team’s second store for each city, and Grabenstraße the second for Germany, totaling six that now bear Snøhetta’s signature.

The Orchard Road shop draws on the materials of the team’s first Singapore location in nearby Raffles City, featuring sleek, retrofuturist brass fixtures that recall the city’s history as a major port and reflect the forces of hyperurbanisation. However, Snøhetta has looked to the area’s eponymous yet largely forgotten past as a nutmeg plantation for the surrounding elements. Pink walls invoke the mace spice harvested from the nutmeg fruit and complement the radiance of the brass. Thin, geometric timber shafts undulate rhythmically from the ceiling, at once an inverted forest and a stalactite formation, hence also responding to the store’s physical location underground.

Aesop Düsseldorf, on the other hand, resides above ground on a prominent plaza. In keeping with this highly public setting, the floor plan is delineated by a single, curved band of shelving that lends the effect of an amphitheatre, with an iconic, Henry Moore-esque concrete sink emulating an abstract fountain around which locals might gather. Bleached douglas fir set against off-white surfaces creates a light and inviting aura.

For its second Aesop store in Oslo, Snøhetta takes a more subdued approach compared to the flagship’s lunar surrealism. The store occupies the ground floor of a 1940s apartment building and alludes to its mid-century, Scandinavian functionalism. Taking a geometric motif from existing timber detailing as a starting point for the design, the firm used the inlaying technique intarsia to create three-dimensional oak panelling for the side walls that subtly projects outward.

Photos courtesy of Aesop / Christian Heesen / Wai Kay Photography / Stephen Citrone

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