After winning the competition to design Aesop’s flagship Collins Street store in Melbourne, Kerstin Thompson Architects went on to design stores in Chadstone, Victoria and Carindale in Queensland – so they came to the design of Aesop Burnside Village having a well-developed relationship with, and understanding of, the iconic Australian brand.
When first spying the new store with its massive perforated timber screens, it’s impossible to miss the signature material. “The choice of timber as the dominant element fits with the Artisan vision developed for this store,” Kerstin explains, “one that in subtle ways represents the craft and care that goes into the making of Aesop products and the spaces they’re housed within.”
As with all Aesop stores the design responds to the specific location and environmental factors. In Burnside Village – a semi-enclosed mall, with a 100-year-old River Red Gum feature – this meant creating the perforated timber screens, which dress the shop front and form the operable doors. “They filter the light and provide a shady retreat and a soothing interval within the conservatory aesthetic of the arcade, which is, by contrast, reflective and illuminated with abundant natural light,” Kerstin says.
During business hours the lower screens fold back to present an open front that invites customers into the space, while the main window in the shop front incorporates a tester and display unit.
Meanwhile, the interior of the store makes further use of Big River’s ArmourPanel Blackbutt, playing into key aspects of the design scheme. “We selected it because of its materiality and versatility. We sought a warm timber to background the distinctive amber packaging of the product and also feature in a multitude of uses: perforated screening, shelving, countertops, wall lining and flooring.”
“Our design features sustainably sourced timber to create an immersive space that is intimate and visually calm – simple forms enriched through the expression of the grain of blackbutt ply.”
The use of timber throughout the design reduces the materials palette, allowing the equally minimal aesthetic of Aesop’s products to shine through. “Every element which displays the product is framed with the blackbutt – with a natural tung oil finish, it provides a warm and rich background to highlight the Aesop products,” Kerstin says.
“The opportunity to explore the possibilities of using a single timber product throughout the store was the most enjoyable aspect of the project.”
Aesop Burnside is located in the Adelaide suburb of Glenside.
Kerstin Thompson Architects