Precast stone blocks coloured with red sandstone from Glamis Castle in Scotland form the walls of this refuge-style Aesop store that architecture studio Al-Jawad Pike has created in a west London shopping centre.
The studio designed the small store for skincare brand Aesop to be a retreat from the bustling aisles of Westfield shopping centre in Sheperd’s Bush.
“We wanted the store to be a refuge from the busy mall environment, it is a sort of building within a building – using genuine masonry construction rather than applied finishes or surfaces,” Al-Jawad Pike co-founder Jessam Al-Jawad told Dezeen.
Al-Jawad Pike chose to build the walls of the store from precast stone blocks, which enclose the space and create a feeling akin to a walled garden. The curved form of the walls is also meant to reference the undulating brickwork of Uruguayan engineer Eladio Dieste.
“The concept was to create a kind of walled garden within the mall,” said Al-Jawad.
“It was inspired by the ‘crinkle crankle’ wall of the English countryside as well as the structures of Eladio Dieste, which both use an undulating waveform to give rigidity to a single skin of masonry.”
Earthy tones have been applied throughout the store. Powder from the same red sandstone that was used to make the 17th-century Glamis Castle in Scotland has been used to colour the precast stone blocks.
The resulting red blockwork walls, which were built using two standard shapes of precast blocks, have been paired with red concrete-tile flooring and a clay plaster ceiling.
“We wanted to use a warm colour to provide a sense of natural earthiness that reflected the red bricks of typical masonry walled gardens, said Al-Jawad.
“The colour is called Glamis red named after the red sandstone of Glamis Castle in Scotland.”
Set against the earthy red backdrop, Aesop’s products are displayed on stainless steel shelves. While the main space is broken up by three cast resin sinks that were produced by Sabine Marcelis.
“We hope we created a calm ambience that enables customers to engage with the Aesop products,” Al-Jawad explained.
“The hand-washing sinks which are a big part of the customers’ interaction with the product and the sales people are also given centre stage – being made out of honey-coloured resin they also look a bit like big bars of sculpted soap.”
Aesop often allows its designers to create monotonal stores. For its Sydney store, architecture studio Snøhetta used granite to covers almost every surface, while Frida Escobedo used rammed-earth brickwork throughout its store in Brooklyn. Bernard Dubois also clad the walls of the brand’s Brussels store in distinctive yellow Belgian bricks.
London-based Al-Jawad Pike was established by Al-Jawad and Dean Pike in 2014. The studio has previously used pigmented concrete blockwork for the exterior and interior of a south London home extension and combined brick, concrete and timber for an extension to a home in Stoke Newington.
Photography is by Ståle Eriksen.
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