Naturehumaine designs "deconstructed" interior for Aesop store in Montreal
Canadian studio Naturehumaine has used a palette of raw materials to emphasise the "structural guts" of the building that accommodates this Aesop store in Montreal (+ slideshow).
The store is located in the city's Mile End neighbourhood – an area towards the known for its artistic and musical culture – filled with art galleries, designers' workshops, boutiques and cafes.
Naturehumaine's design for the Australian skincare brand aims to reflect the heritage of the neighbourhood, which has become largely gentrified over the past 20 years.
The studio credited a 1970s documentary by Montreal filmmaker Albert Kish as a major influence – in which he revisits the neighbourhood's St Lawrence Boulevard.
"From the 1880s to the 1980s, different waves of immigrants settled in this neighbourhood, which was shown in the documentary by Montreal filmmaker Albert Kish, 'Our Street was paved with gold'," said the designers.
"The design of this Aesop store presents itself as a common, but deconstructed, structure," they added. "The store appears to be stripped to the bare bones – showing its structural guts."
The individual interiors for each Aesop store are often influenced by their surroundings. Examples include a glossy teal-coloured outpost in Milan and a store on a historic street in London's Bloomsbury.
Dennis Paphitis, founder of the skincare brand, told Dezeen that "architecturally our criteria is always to try and work with what is already there and to weave ourselves into the core and fabric of the street, rather than to impose what we were doing".
To achieve this in Montreal, Naturehumaine used a palette of "raw" materials including plaster, plywood, limestone, brass and reclaimed wood.
A monolithic demonstration sink in the middle of the store is covered in locally sourced limestone panels, and topped with a sheet of brass.
"The sink stands as a visual anchor in the middle of the store compelling visitors to move around it in order to explore the nuances and elements of the walls," said the designers.
Products are displayed on brass shelves fixed to walls made from a series of plywood planks.
Each piece of plywood is coloured grey on one side, and green on the other – creating the illusion that the walls are changing colour.
Keen to create a minimal space, the only additional furniture within the store is a floor lamp by local lighting design studio Lambert & Fils.
Aesop was founded by Dennis Paphitis in Melbourne in 1987. Designers including Snøhetta, JamesPlumb and Torafu Architects have all contributed to the skincare brand's fast-growing portfolio of over 100 shops interiors.
Photography is by Adrien Williams.