Aesop San Lorenzo in Lucina

Historic inspirations, robust materiality and refined order Rome / Italy / 2018

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Aesop’s first collaboration with Studio Luca Guadagnino resulted from a chance Los Angeles encounter with the esteemed auteur—and Aesop’s admiration for the Studio’s design mastery. Some weeks later, the working relationship between the Studio and the Aesop design team was cemented during a visit to Rome. The group was greeted by heavy snowfall, which Guadagnino says ‘echoed the rare fall that blanketed the city as if a blessing when we shot the opening sequence of I Am Love. So, this seemed a sign from the gods to proceed as planned.’


The Studio’s first retail project, the store is located in Piazza di San Lorenzo in Lucina, close to the fifth-century church of San Lorenzo in Lucina, originally a domus ecclesiae—a household that was a place of worship and refuge alike. Throughout the design process, the tones and materiality of this historic site and other local architecture such as the Pantheon—just 600 metres away—held strong sway, along with a genius loci and some of Rome’s memorable personalities: Maria Callas, Pier Paolo Pasolini and Alberto Moravia.


Under these influences and the guidance of presiding architects from both parties, an austere language and elegance evolved. Imperfect and rudimental use of regionally sourced materials—straw, marble and travertine—effected a cohesive whole inside a modestly proportioned space, exuding a sense of monastic order and tranquillity. 


Three tones of travertine cover the floor in a rhomboidal pattern, in subtle homage to the interior of the church of San Lorenzo in Lucina. The internal furniture is construed as blocks inlaid with regionally sourced marble that plays a game of geometry and colour. Above, architectural straw sheaves articulate the ceiling, inspired by the thatched roofs of houses common during ancient times to the Agro Pontino (Pontine Marshlands) outside Rome. These elements are contrasted by cream lacquered wood used for product shelving; singular, black lacquer accents discreetly reference Pasolini’s distinguishing black-rimmed glasses, while a straw and fabric mat atop a custom-made seat alludes to fabrics used in his 1967 film EDIPO RE (Oedipus Rex).


Clients can explore and select from a complete range of skin, hair and body care products, distinguished by botanical and laboratory-generated ingredients of the highest quality. The store’s trained consultants are able to offer advice about products best suited to individual needs.


Aesop was founded in Melbourne in 1987 and today offers its superlative formulations in signature stores around the world. As the company evolves, meticulously considered design remains paramount to the creation of each project.

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    Aesop’s first collaboration with Studio Luca Guadagnino resulted from a chance Los Angeles encounter with the esteemed auteur—and Aesop’s admiration for the Studio’s design mastery. Some weeks later, the working relationship between the Studio and the Aesop design team was cemented during a visit to Rome. The group was greeted by heavy snowfall, which Guadagnino says ‘echoed the rare fall that blanketed the city as if a blessing when we shot the opening sequence of...

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