Aesop Collins Street offers a resilient and opulent experience, providing a haven for customers to immerse themselves in the brand’s offerings. Clare Cousins Architects skillfully combines classical influences and meticulous craftsmanship to create a tranquil and enduring sanctuary.
Located near the State Library’s grand domed reading room, Aesop Collins St seamlessly blends the brand’s modern sensibilities with the timeless craftsmanship of the past. Rather than simply imitating the neoclassical surroundings, the design takes inspiration from them, resulting in a space that feels contemporary yet respectful.
The store’s sculpted ceiling not only adds drama to its street presence but also pays homage to the building’s facade. Inside, a continuous sequence of stained blackbutt joinery lines the perimeter, with products displayed on one side and treatments offered on the other.
This arrangement echoes the repetition of a library shelf, while the timber vanities resemble elegant writing desks. The joinery is beautifully finished with a sinuous dado line that also serves as a foundation for the softly lit curved ceiling above.
Sheer curtains provide privacy from the building’s internal commercial lobby, and two monolithic travertine benches create a social gathering point at the sinks and counter.
While the store’s design is carefully tailored to Aesop‘s retail needs, Aesop Collins St has also proven to be a versatile and dynamic space. During the Midsumma Festival in 2023, the shelves were cleared to transform the store into an open and inclusive Queer Library.
LGBTQIA+ literature was showcased, and the space hosted engaging talks and poetry readings. This adaptability reflects the store’s commitment to longevity and sustainability, moving away from the disposable nature of trend-focused consumerism often found in high-street retail.