How To Be Different Image Credit: d+a
How To Be Different Image Credit: d+a

How To Be Different

Aesop has opened its first store in Penang, Malaysia. Its Retail Architectural Manager Denise Neri shares about its design inspiration and how the Australian brand conceptualises each one to be unique.

Low Shi Ping

What are your favourite parts of theAesop Gurney Plaza store?

The sense of surprise and contrast from the mall surrounds is refreshing. The geometric framework of the store is intriguing and different from its neighbours. The latticelike exoskeleton is graphically striking and reveals a deep green-blue interior, where the internal space is serene and maximised without interruptions.

What was the design inspiration forthis store?

The design was conceived as an exploration of the urban condition of the modern Penang outside the mall, with its vertically framed high-rise towers. Its antecedents can be seen in the gridding and reductionist ideas of Superstudio’s Non-Stop City concept of the 1960s, and Renzo Piano’s Pompidou Centre, which broke new ground with its expressed exoskeleton-framing, functional interiors. Such landmarks of architectural thinking were referenced in the Gurney Plaza store design.

Why is engagement with local cultureand history so important to Aesop?

Authenticity, relevance and individuality have always been important to Aesop. We strive to support local vitality and expression and engage with the neighbourhoods we enter – it makes for a more interesting life in our increasingly connected world.

The design of each of Aesop store isdifferent, and several architects havemoulded every store based on its localculture and history. Is it not easier

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