'Why make something ugly when it can be interesting?'' asks Dennis Paphitis, founder of the Australian skin-care brand AESOP. Since its launch in 1987, the brand has held steadfastly to the belief that good design can improve lives. This overarching philosophy informs all of the brand touchpoints, from the all-natural socially-conscious products, through to the company’s carefully curated retail experiences.
With signature stores all over Australia, as well as key cities like Paris, London, Zurich and Hong Kong, retail is central to the Aesop experience. By adopting a thoughtful and detail-oriented approach, Aesop has become known for its ingenuity in retail space. Rather than follow a standard global theme and roll-out, each store is unique, challenging conventional retail layouts to offer visitors highly varied and individual experiences.
Seemingly effortless– although Paphitis is quick to point out that this is the result of meticulous planning and careful consideration! – the design aesthetic draws elements from the surroundings and cultural landscape, and is enhanced by collaboration with local design agencies. The company’s strict adherence to adding rather than detracting from the existing built environment further establishes Aesop as a socially conscious brand, a true hyper-local trendsetter.
As of 2012, Aesop’s global network has expanded to over 44 international stores.