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!
aesop.com

Aesop Brighton 104-105 Gloucester Road, Brighton, UK

Claus Porto Takes Manhattan

New Yorkers can snap up a little Portuguese style with the arrival of Claus Porto’s first standalone store outside Portugal. Olá Manhattan!

BY CLAIRE BINGHAM

Portuguese label Claus Porto is famed for its exquisitely packaged soaps and, more recently, its revamped ‘Agua de Colonia' fragrance collection (right) created in collaboration with leading British perfumer Lyn Harris. However, until now, the company has been very much under the radar – a secret Lisbon and Porto gem for beauty and graphics enthusiasts alike. This is about to change.

RIGHT: British perfumer Lyn Harris has been instrumental in the brand’s revamp, These five new fragrances are based on a modern interpretation of colognes. ‘Agua de Colonia’ collection, £85 each for 125ml

Claus Porto has just opened a store on Elizabeth Street in Manhattan’s Nolita, the beauty and fragrance label’s first retail space beyond their Portuguese home. Conceived by New York firm Tacklebox Architecture, under the direction of Jeremy Barbour, the scheme is eye-catching in every sense. 

Milled from Portuguese cork, 1,500 faceted white diamond tiles line the walls of the vaulted interior, incorporating carved display niches. A 42-foot-long archway has also been inserted into the ground floor of this early 1800s building. Both pay homage to Portuguese architecture and craftsmanship, with the arch and tiles referencing Porto’s Sao Bento train station, which was first proposed in 1887 – the same year that Claus Porto was founded.

BELOW: The 1,500 faceted diamond tiles were milled from Portuguese cork – a material characteristic to the country – and reference the decorative azulejo tiled façade of the historic Casa dos Bicos in Lisbon

The arch serves as a dramatic portal to welcome visitors into the beautifully patterned and scented world of Claus Porto. It’s an otherwise minimal space, with a monolithic marble wash basin at its heart, celebrating bathing rituals. Yes, the interior is cool and futuristic – but the product remains king. What can we say but obrigado!
clausporto.com

Claus Porto, 230 Elizabeth Street, New York, NY 10012. See Claus Porto’s website for details of their Portuguese stores in Lisbon and Porto.

Goop London Pop-Up

Goop brings its Californian-inspired beauty, fashion and homewares collection to the UK with its debut London pop-up store, a blend of British craftsmanship and West Coast chill

BY CLAIRE BINGHAM

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Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop has opened in its first UK pop-up store – in London’s Westbourne Grove – and we’re already feeling enriched.

Combining retail therapy with their open-minded and holistic approach to wellbeing as a lifestyle, it is far from wacky and a brilliant new destination for anyone interested in Californian-vibe beauty and style.

Expect a chic, curated collection of Goop’s own-line products, including luxurious, high-performance skincare drawing on organic ingredients, Italian-made limited edition clothing, and pretty plates and glassware by brands such as Mud Australia, Nude Glass and CB2. The understated homewares range features tempting cushions, throws, tableware and kitchen kit.

You’ll also fall for the light-filled, nature-inspired surrounds created by London-based interior designer Fran Hickman. Her vision for the store references the Zen-influenced monochrome paintings of Yves Klein and early physic gardens devoted to the study of restorative plants. Fran worked with local design talents to bring the space to life – Nikki Tibbles of Wild at Heart for planting, Pinch for furniture and beauty displays, Nest Design for the electric-blue curtains in the dressing area, and Vitsoe for its iconic shelving systems. Architectural salvage firm Retrouvius supplied a vintage museum cabinet.

ABOVE: The entrance to Goop’s London pop-up shop is filled with plant displays by Nikki Tibbles.
ABOVE RIGHT: Goop’s own-line detoxifying salt bath soak G.Tox. £30 for 680gm

ABOVE: A deep blue colour scheme channels the ocean on the basement fashion floor; industrial chipboard delivers an inexpensive yet effective display system in the homewares section, flanked by sunny gold paint; Pinch’s smart red ‘Joyce’ cabinet and ‘Clyde’ side table with stripped floorboards and tile details; the ‘Imo’ bench by Pinch in a restful foliage- and light-filled space at the front of the store

Goop celebrates its 10-year anniversary with this London outpost – slated to stay open until 27 January 2019 – setting the stage for further international boutiques. Goop fans in search of their simple yet elegant contemporary pieces can also shop online.
goop.com

Goop, 188 Westbourne Grove, London W11

Open House Melbourne

Open House Melbourne kicks off this weekend, offering you the keys to the city’s most intriguing places and spaces

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

Annual architecture weekender Open House Melbourne is on this Saturday 30 to Sunday 31 July, unlocking the doors of more than 140 unusual historic and contemporary buildings to the public. Many of these iconic Melbourne spots are normally off limits, so grab your chance to take a sneak peek inside.

The roll call of 2016 buildings open for inspection includes covetable private houses, creative studios and offices, sports facilities and synagogues, upscale shopping malls and electricity sub stations. State buildings, banks and court houses make the cut, and you can even check out a circus, a seafarers' mission and a meat market. A tram depot and Port of Melbourne boat tours will appeal to transport fiends.

Founded in 2008, this popular free festival attracts queues around town to check out the city’s best design and architecture, but you can track the least crowded times to swing by busy sites on Open House's FacebookInstagram and Twitter feeds. On average visitors take in four to five buildings a day, but plan your route first as not all spaces are open both days or for the same hours, and some require advance registration or even a $5 booking fee so may fill out fast. Most visits are self-guided, but there are some pre-reserved tours due to space limitations. If you're too late to book, you may be able to leave your name on select building door lists.

TOP: It looks like a monster took a bite out of the radical 41X high-rise. Picture: John Gollings
ABOVE: Eco features rule on the verdant roof of Council House 2 – CH2; Signal hosts a youth arts initiative in an old signal switching building; train carriages atop Easey Street's End to End Building in Collingwood

Our wish list this year includes Lyons' eco-conscious high-rise hub 41X at 41 Exhibition Street, developed by the Australian Institute of Architects and boasting a radical, colourful facade. Also on a green tip, we recommend Council House 2 – CH2's verdant rooftop, an office building for council staff packed with eco goodness. For edgier urban sites, head to youth arts centre Signal, which occupies Flinders Street Station's last surviving signal switching box, and ITN ArchitectsEnd to End Building in Collingwood, which houses old train carriages on the roof (one now home to Easey's lofty burger joint).

We also fancy checking out Bates, Smart & McCutcheon’s sleek Orica House, one of the country’s first fully glazed skyscrapers and once its highest; COX Architecture’s futuristic 2010 stadium AAMI Park; and Croxen Ramsay’s new event space Glasshouse in Olympic Park, with interiors by Hecker Guthrie.

ABOVE: The Mad Men guys would feel at home in 1958's modernist 20-storey Orica House (ex ICI House) in East Melbourne; AAMI Park stadium sports a geodesic dome and hosts sports and music events. Its roof design uses 50% less steel than a typical stadium of the same size

We’d also like to take a twirl through the studios of influential local architecture practices Woods Bagot, Six Degrees and John Wardle Architects (which shares its building with printed design and art studio Spacecraft).

On the residential front, there's a choice selection of cutting-edge contemporary homes, including the super-skinny Acute House by OOF! Architecture, although almost all are by pre-booked tour only, so get in quick sticks. For something more unusual, fitness fans should take a gander at the two-level Cycle Collective in Richmond, which sports a coffee cart and Pilates studio downstairs and inspiring spin cycle set-up above.

ABOVE: Events space Glasshouse occupies the 1956 Olympic swimming stadium site; Bates Smart's industrial-chic CBD studio; Six Degrees' Fitzroy studio features cliche-busting colour and stained-glass; Bricktastic Cycle Collective is a sociable retreat for spin classes, Pilates or coffee

Also on offer are events, exhibitions, workshops, screenings, talks and tours, with many extending throughout the year. This weekend you can 'Meet the Young Guns of Melbourne' to refuel over coffee, breakfast or a drink at cafes and bars designed by emerging talent, or join a quirky Rooftop and Landscape Tour. Don't miss new exhibition 'Occupied' at RMIT Design Hub (until 24 September 2016), which looks at housing pressures in our mushrooming metropolises. Access all areas!
openhousemelbourne.org

Open House Melbourne runs from 10am to 4pm Saturday 30 to Sunday 31 July 2016

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.
aesop.com

Aesop Lamb's Conduit Street, 50 Lamb’s Conduit Street, London WC1, UK
Aesop Flinders Lane, Shop 1C, 268 Flinders Lane, Melbourne 3000, Australia