Aesop Shinsaibashi

Osaka / Japan / 2016

50
50 Love 4,254 Visits Published

Aesop Shinsaibashi uses materiality to explore the urban heritage of its locale. Created in collaboration with long-time partners SIMPLICITY under the leadership of Shinichiro Ogata, the store is situated in one of Osaka’s principal retail districts, formerly home to a timber yard and storehouses, which provided inspiration for its refined industrial aesthetic. Like many in the city, the district was named for the bridge (bashi) spanning the Nagahori-gawa canal, which joined the north and south sides of the Chūō-ku ward from the 17th century until the canal was reclaimed in 1964. The various incarnations of this bridge, originally of timber but rebuilt with the addition of iron and finally stone, are reflected in the application of materials throughout the vertically oriented design.


A double-height glass façade allows visitors to appreciate the interior’s lofty volumes, which are crowned by the weathered tones of exposed timber beams and rafters. A lattice of raw timber shelves climbs the side walls, anchored by structural supports that run to the ceiling. The timber also wraps around to create a small sink that juts out on the right-hand side. Floors are fashioned from unfinished concrete in pale grey, which scrapes up in a single gesture to create the sales counter.


The predominantly neutral tonal palette is accented by darker flourishes from the product range as well as horizontal blackened steel beams, rectangular black screens on the rear wall, and small black shelves and cabinets. Lighting offers further contrast: a system of pendant lamps hangs on black cords from pulleys attached to cross-beams, while wall-mounted lamps posed high on each side gleam from within shades of burnished metal.


A tribute to the industrial heritage of the neighbourhood, Aesop Shinsaibashi is a striking application of utilitarian materiality presented in a contemporary setting.

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    Aesop Shinsaibashi uses materiality to explore the urban heritage of its locale. Created in collaboration with long-time partners SIMPLICITY under the leadership of Shinichiro Ogata, the store is situated in one of Osaka’s principal retail districts, formerly home to a timber yard and storehouses, which provided inspiration for its refined industrial aesthetic. Like many in the city, the district was named for the bridge (bashi) spanning the Nagahori-gawa canal, which joined the north and...

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