Aesop Store in Park Slope, New York by Frida Escobedo.
Set amongst the mid-century brownstones that are synonymous with the charm of Brooklyn’s Park Slope, Australian skincare brand Aesop has opened a new store. Mexican architect Frida Escobedo is behind the design, seemingly going from strength to strength after wrapping her prestigious Serpentine Pavilion commission in London. This is her seventh project with Aesop for their third Brooklyn store, a slight diversion from the brand’s usual preference for locally based architects.
Hundreds of rosy rammed-earth bricks sourced from Oaxaca are stacked in opposing diagonal rows, creating gridded walls that jut out into the store and divide the space into open sections, determining the public-facing store layout. The lot was previously home to a cat clinic, full of small rooms and treatment cubicles, with plumbing awkwardly located in the centre. The walls were the solution, creating negative space that serves as quiet corners of repose for staff.
A stylistic solution to the inconvenient plumbing, two trough-like sinks diverge on a diagonal, mimicking the walls. Their white, powder-coated metal finish is repeated on minimal open shelves displaying neat rows of product. The checkout counter is buried at the back of the store, encouraging customers to delve deeper and try the products on.
The bricks themselves were developed by Escobedo’s former student, Patricia Medivil, made by hand in a workshop in Mexico City. Natural pigment made from Mexican earth gives the bricks their unique blushed hue. In addition to drawing from her native Mexico, Escobedo uses the woven-looking bricks to reference the local masonry of the brownstone homes that surround Aesop’s corner site.
The tessellating rosy bricks reinterpret the building’s classic red brick façade, the differing yet harmonious materials clearly visible in tandem through three angled glass windows that look out to the street. The original brick walls inside have been painted white, while the original stamped tin ceiling remains.