Cheungvogl Architects Hong Kong Aesop Hysan Place

Aesop Concept Store, Hysan Place, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Year: 2012
Main Use: Retail
Site Area: 29 sqm
Bldg. Area: 29 sqm
GFA: 29 sqm
Storeys: 1

Cheungvogl 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 brandís philosophy and customer engagements with the brandís sophisticated product range. 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 spaces.

Aesop Concept store at Hysan Place, Hong Kong is situated in an L-shaped space with two curved walls marking the front and the back of the space. Given the site constrains; the design seeks every opportunity to maximize the store frontage while allowing visibility to penetrate deep into the store from the public space.

The store is located in a building where 100,000 visitors are expected to visit daily. With the anticipated traffic in mind, the design defines a clear vertical hierarchical structure that separates the various product ranges. It incorporates an archival system and created a series of movable archival storage units, which form the hybrid between the front of house and the back of house such that products can be replenished easily without physically transferring products from the back of house storage during busy hours.  The archival storage wall becomes an animated element, which constantly transforms the dimensions of space, allowing the customers to get a glimpse of how the architecture is used to enhance the daily operational needs. With the transparent quality of the design details, it increases the depth of the space both in its physical and visual sense.  Copper is selected to express not only for its quality of lightness, durability and flexibility, but also how copper is constantly transforming as a Ďliving materialí, which ages over time.

Cheungvogl Architects Hong Kong Aesop Hysan Place


Cheungvogl Architects Hong Kong Aesop Hysan Place

Cheungvogl Architects Hong Kong Aesop Hysan Place Cheungvogl Architects Hong Kong Aesop Hysan Place Cheungvogl Architects Hong Kong Aesop Hysan Place


Cheungvogl collaborating with Aesop

ďHong Kong based studio Cheungvogl has designed two new Hong Kong stores for Aesop. The two arenít 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 Aesopís 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 visitorsí attention into the store in an instance.
We were convinced of having met Aesopís 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.

Cheungvogl Architects Hong Kong Aesop Hysan Place

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 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.  

Q: 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.

Q: 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.Ē

Cheungvogl, Collaborating with Aesop, Q&A by Anne-Wil Heijlaerts, FRAME, January 2013

Cheungvogl Architects Hong Kong Aesop Hysan Place

Front of the archival storage wall with movable storage units (left); Backside of the storage wall (right).

Cheungvogl Architects Hong Kong Aesop Hysan Place

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