Aesop Brighton

The new Aesop store in Brighton is a lesson in seaside bliss

BY CLAIRE BINGHAM

The trend for wellness in interior design is growing. The bolstering effect of a wisely chosen colour can be as soul-feeding as being outside in the open air. Imagine a yellow front door intended to energise and uplift, or a chalky deep purple in a hallway, the painterly equivalent of a warm and welcoming hug… Colour is key to luring buyers and going green is one of the most enticing tips when it comes to inducing calm.

Transporting the serenity of the seaside to home decor, minus any nautical tropes, luxury plant-based Australian skin and haircare brand Aesop has gone head-to-toe verdigris for the palette of its new Brighton store. In the North Laine quarter, it’s the first for the coastal resort and one of only a few UK boutiques outside London. Conjuring up wistful memories of childhood holidays and a simpler life, the blue-green interior echoes the oxidised railings of the city’s seashore with its idyllic Victoriana, backdropped by cloudy skies and an opaque sea.

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As with each of the distinctive global Aesop concept stores – often created in collaboration with outside designers, but here delivered by the in-house team – the decor is simple. In one room, a scrubbed farmhouse table has rush seating placed around it, while in another area, porcelain sinks for product sampling add to the domestic scene. Elsewhere, the space is kept empty, save for vintage botanical prints or artfully stacked decorative bookshelves.

At a time when maximalism is dominating many design stories, Aesop makes an eternal case for the beauty of minimal design. Inherently chic, this blissful interior proves that decorating simply is something to aspire to – as is having a display of Aesop products adorning your bathroom shelf!
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Aesop Brighton 104-105 Gloucester Road, Brighton, UK

Jardan Sydney

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Australian interiors brand Jardan's new Sydney store has put the seductive into staircases

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

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Sculptural. Seductive. Super-stylish. The staircase at Australian design brand Jardan's new Sydney flagship store has been drawing admiring glances, from its pale, pretty-in-pink pastel colour to its gorgeous curves. Linking the shop's three levels, it's a serious scene-stealer, with a sinuous wooden hand rail, sleek, gold-edged wooden stairs and grainy marble flooring.

ABOVE: Poised in pink: the sculptural staircase is a centrepiece at Jardan
ABOVE RIGHT: The inviting gold-meets-glass exterior of Jardan Sydney's flagship new store on a corner of Paddington's Oxford Street
BELOW: The softly geometric staircase runs from the lower ground floor up to the first storey, lit by a skylight, with tactile details including a sinuous wooden handrail, marble flooring and gold-tipped treads

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ABOVE: A seductive first-floor living area at Jardan, painted to pick up the greens and blues of the trees, sky and Sydney Harbour. Covetable ceramics make great take-home buys

By Melbourne's IF Architecture, the store on Paddington's Oxford Street takes its cue from Sydney's shifting seasons, spanning the blues of the harbour, the green canopy of the city's hilly streets, and the reds and yellows of the sun. 'Colour is expressive light, and Sydney has light like no other place in Australia,' says lead architect Iva Foschia, who designed the different levels of the space to transition between whites, blues, greens, pinks, greys and blacks. Foschia also took inspiration for the palette from the colour systems of iconic Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier, 'who used colour to enhance the emotions of people in his buildings', harnessing custom paints from Australian specialists Porter's Paints.

Sydney's creative families were another key influence for Foschia, including local interior designer Marion Hall Best (whose career from the mid-1930s celebrated bold colour, pattern and modernism), late artist Brett Whiteley (who famously painted the harbour in ultramarine hues), veteran artist John Olsen (known for his love of nature, greens and blues), and his daughter Louise Olsen and son-in-law Stephen Ormandy's homewares/jewellery brand Dinosaur Designs (beloved for its sleek forms and vibrant hues).

BELOW: Up on the first floor, Jardan's modernist-inspired, contemporary furniture is flanked by a fireplace and backdropped by airy views; Rugs and cushions are displayed on the lower ground floor, styled with a dark-grey sofa as a living zone

Melbourne-born, family firm Jardan sells Australian-designed and-made furniture and lighting, crafted using local materials to exemplary eco standards. Its own-label contemporary collections are displayed alongside a brilliant edit of art and accessories, from tableware to coffee-table books, rugs to vases. After closing its original Sydney showroom in Rosebery, Jardan launched a recent pop-up in Paddington, before finding a permanent home in Oxford Street's 1924-founded Alderstein House, an Art Deco building formerly occupied by Ariel Booksellers.

Styled like a home, the stunning flagship features dedicated zones for living, sleeping, dining and cooking – an alluring curved shelving area displays print titles, ceramics and plants, while upstairs there's an entertainer's kitchen – with lofty views over the harbour. Connecting the lower ground floor, ground floor and first floor is the eye-catching central staircase, flanked by sensual surface materials. Art is a highlight, especially Australian talent Kate Ballis' kooky-coloured 'Infra Realism' photos of America's palm-dotted landscape, pools and modernist architecture. You can even pick up a Maren surfboard. Only in Sydney...
www.jardan.com.au

BELOW: Blue-and-rust-grained marble etched with the Jardan logo forms the store's impressive entry wall (signage was created in collaboration with Seasaw studio); A sleek modern first-floor kitchen showcases tableware and vessels by local makers

Jardan Sydney is at 42 Oxford Street Paddington, Sydney. Click here for details of Jardan's Melbourne and Brisbane stores, also designed by IF Architecture

Pictures: Sean Fennessy

George Byrne – ‘Local Division’

For colour and architecture inspiration, we’re wowed by photographer George Byrne’s striking shots of Los Angeles…

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

Australian photographer George Byrne captures the graphic shapes and colours of Los Angeles’ streetscapes in his new exhibition ‘Local Division’, currently showing at Sydney gallery Olsen Irwin.

Born in Sydney in 1976, Byrne started out studying painting but discovered photography in his late teens. He graduated from the Sydney College of the Arts in 2001 before settling in LA in 2010, where he has concentrated on his photographic practice.

Architecture fans will love the clean-lined buildings, snapped both from a distance and in geometric detail, some flat, two-dimensional planes, others textural and almost painterly. Some images feel abstract and becalmed, with a sculptural still-life quality. Street furniture from posts to parking signs and lights adds to the static feel (imagine late Adelaide artist Jeffrey Smart’s vibrant urban paintings transformed to photos).

Byrne’s palette is beautiful, portraying a dreamy mix of soft pastels – minty greens, dusky pinks and baby blues – contrasted with primary yellows, reds and cooler cobalts. Colour pops up on painted roofs and pavement edging, stripy wall tiles and vibrant doors, strings of balloons and a doughnut-like inflatable ring bobbing in a turquoise hotel pool.

ABOVE: 'Temple St', 2015
ABOVE RIGHT: 'Motel Grand', 2014
BELOW FROM LEFT: 'Hotel Pool #1', 2015; 'Green and White #2', 2015; all archival pigment prints, editions of five

Byrne has a way with shadows too, incorporating their intrusive shapes, especially those of LA’s trademark palm trees, often cut-off in unexpected ways. Perhaps it’s his Australian roots, as the harsh light in his homeland is equally blinding. Bright modernist exteriors are backdropped by faded signs and retro typography, conveying a bitter-sweet sense of nostalgia.

ABOVE: 'Ace Hotel Sth Broadway', 2015

This being LA, hotels and motels get their hour in the sun too, including a vertiginous view looking down from the Ace Hotel Downtown on South Broadway. Yet it’s not the glamorous parts of the city that seem to interest Byrne, rather the run-down, neglected and unsung quarters of town. And in a city where everyone drives, shots of empty streets are animated by the rare pedestrians walking, lonesome in an Edward Hopper-esque way, including one sporting a cinematic cowboy hat (real life or film set?).

ABOVE FROM TOP: '99c Silverlake', 2015; 'Cowboy', 2015

‘Borrowing from the clean, vivid clarity of modernist painting, Byrne references the New Topographics photography movement via a subject matter firmly entrenched in the urban everyday,’ states Byrne’s CV. His work ‘spins LA’s most disposable architecture and redundant landscapes into seismic moments. He seeks the subliminal and sublime in the everyday.’ Early influences included artists Piet Mondrian, Richard Diebenkorn, David Hockney and Jeffrey Smart; photographers Walker Evans, William Eggleston, Stephen Shore and Andreas Gursky were also creative inspirations.

All the ‘Local Division’ shots are archival pigment prints, in editions of five with two artist’s proofs. Sizes are large, but smaller options are available on request. You can also follow Byrne’s gallery on Instagram (@george_byrne), which he uses as a visual scrapbook.
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George Byrne’s ‘Local Division’ series is on show at Olsen Irwin, 63 Jersey Road, Woollahra, Sydney until 28 February 2016; free entry.

Aesop – London and Melbourne

With a new beauty parlour at each end of the London to Melbourne route, Aesop has just ticked all our boxes...

BY AMY BRADFORD AND SOPHIE DAVIES

Bloomsbury is the setting for another London outpost of Australian skin care brand Aesop, in an elegant store by local design studio JamesPlumb. The duo took inspiration from the location on Lamb’s Conduit Street – the site of a 16th-century conduit to convey water to city dwellers from nearby springs – when creating the interior, which includes two water features. The first is a stream running through a wall of copper shelving; the second a sculptural installation in which water drops from a copper ‘quill’ pipe into a vessel below. The space also features a garden room and outdoor area, reclaimed Staffordshire quarry tiles on the floor and a moody colour scheme influenced by the paintings of Bloomsbury Group heroine Dora Carrington.

ABOVE: Thin pipes convey water between oxidised copper shelves at Aesop Lamb's Conduit Street
ABOVE RIGHT: Reclaimed tiles and plants create a garden feel
RIGHT: Bespoke copper taps and sinks contrast with a dark palette; water drips from a sculptural pipe 'quill' into a shiny reservoir below

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ABOVE FROM TOP: A bold feature wall of 1,550 cardboard sheets creates a curvy cocoon at Melbourne's Aesop Flinders Lane

Meanwhile in Melbourne, Aesop's in-house Design Department has reintroduced its iconic Flinders Lane store on one of the city's hippest strips. Designed in 2007 by Rodney Eggleston and Anne-Laure Cavigneaux of Melbourne's March Studio, the cardboard-clad space was originally created in just five days as a temporary installation. Rebooted after inevitable wear and tear, it now features a tactile, sinuous wall of reclaimed industrial cardboard on one side, reminiscent of a cave or Uluru's rocky outcrop. Intended to evolve with age, it's contrasted with a darker palette in the rest of the shop, with a restrained balance of concrete, lacquered oak and blackened steel. Continuing its habit of collaborating with local design studios, Aesop recently opened boutiques in Berlin, TorontoFrankfurtParisNottingham, Fukuoka, Hamburg and Los Angeles, as well as a new store on East London's Broadway Market. Inspired? Check out our earlier stories on Aesop's Richmond and Berlin Mitte branches.
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Aesop Lamb's Conduit Street, 50 Lamb’s Conduit Street, London WC1, UK
Aesop Flinders Lane, Shop 1C, 268 Flinders Lane, Melbourne 3000, Australia