Aesop, I.T Hysan One, Hong Kong
Main Use: Retail
Site Area: 40 sqm
Bldg. Area: 40 sqm
GFA: 100 sqm
created a cycle of concept case studies for the renowned Australian
brand Aesop, in which eleven installations, signature stores and concept
stores across Asia and Europe have evolved. Although each design
is unique in its approach, materiality and character, the design
rationale is consistently grounded in rigorous analysis of the brand’s
philosophy and customer engagements with the brand’s sophisticated
The case studies explicitly focus on the integration, interaction and
communication aspects between humans and objects. The spatial
organizations, operational characters and material palettes within the
spaces are all directly responding to the holistic design thinking and
adaptation of specific requirements within each given contextual
environment. Across the eleven case studies, the projects are
inter-linked with the intention to strengthen the synergies between the
architecture, the brand and the site context.
The outcome of rationalization and simplification of the design thinking
results in a series of timeless, functional and commercially successful
created an installation for Aesop in the I.T Hysan One flagship store in
Hong Kong that builds on the reputation for architecturally remarkable
Cheungvogl Architects have imbued the exhibition space with a similar
delicate luminosity. Breaking down the elements of ‘shelves’, eight
hundred resin boxes are arranged atop steel rods of varying lengths,
creating the sense that each box is ascending at its own pace, as if
being drawn upward by an invisible thread. Some boxes hold Aesop
formulations while others are designed to reward visitors' curiosity
through unexpected sound, scent and touch.
At the end of its two-week tenure the Aesop installation will be
deconstructed and re-formed as a permanent retail space.
permanent installation of Cheungvogl’s former temporary installation
at I.T, Hysan One settles in the probably most minimalistic way as the
products are categorized in resin boxes, which lose their materiality in
the surrounding light, leaving the products almost invisibly grouped and
collaborating with Aesop
“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?
Q: 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
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.
Q: 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
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.
Q: You designed stores for Aesop before, why do you keep collaborating
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.”
Cheungvogl, Collaborating with Aesop, Q&A by Anne-Wil Heijlaerts,
FRAME, January 2013
© Cheungvogl Ltd. All rights reserved.