The Australian skincare brand tasked 17 graduates from the Swiss university's Advanced Studies in Design for Luxury and Craftsmanship masters course with designing two accessories: an electric essential oil burner and a wash bag.
The brand specified that the products must be aesthetically pleasing, inventive and sustainable.
Before starting work on the project, the graduates attended an in-depth presentation by the brand and a visited three Aesop stores in Zurich.
Following the workshop, under the leadership of ÉCAL professor and designer Tomas Kral, the students created prototypes that were then presented to a jury made up of Aesop brand executives, including Melbourne-based head of product Mandy Cupper.
The jury selected 20 projects that used materials such as wood, cork, natural resins, ceramic, hand-blown glass and textile.
Students Julie Arnaud, Oubadah Nouktah, Omer Polak, Lucas Pouly, Amina Horozić, Takako Sonoda, Min Kim, Go Takahashi, Garance Krengel, Nanasari Tamura, Jérôme Laurendeau, Aleksandra Żeromska, Kai-Hsuan Liu, and Aleksandra Żeromska and Omer Polak working together, all created one product for the collection.
One of the standout designs was the glass Ventyl diffuser, by Oubadah Nouktah, which takes its design cues from utilitarian laboratory tools.
Its electronic components are housed in a glass vessel with a shape that's reminiscent of traditional Aesop bottles, while its magnetic power cable safely detaches from the diffuser in the event of a fall, without pulling the product along with it.
Three students – Laure Manhes, Clavier Margo and Georg Foster – each created two products for Aesop.
Foster created the Pillow wash bag, which nods to the cosy and protective feeling provided by down jackets. The padded bag protects the Aesop products within it but can also be easily compressed and folded for easy storage.
Two of Margo's products were selected by the Aesop jury, a brass and glass diffuser and a set of oil burners shaped like spinning tops.
Manhes' two designs were a cork globe-shaped diffuser that hangs from a black thread, and a grey foldable wash kit with dedicated pouches for health care products.
The students' protoypes were all displayed at an exhibtion held at Aesop's Oberdorfstrasse store in Zurich between 22 June and 15 July 2018.
The Aesop collaboration is not the first time that ÉCAL students have collaborated with a major brand. In 2016, product design students at Swiss university ÉCAL collaborated with technology brand Punkt to make basic household electronics, such as a radio and a power plug, more intuitive.