Aesop Store Opens in Gastown

Australian botanical skincare line plants its first Vancouver seed

July 9, 2015

By Amanda Ross / Photo: Aesop

When an international brand opens a flagship, fanfare inevitably ensues. Big opening-night events, ceremony and pomp, the usual movers and shakers flitting about. But when a brand’s m.o. is so low-key and has such stellar product to boot, there’s no need to say, “Hey, look at me!” If they launch it, people will just come.

That’s exactly what Aesop had in mind. After opening its first Canadian location in Toronto last month, the Australian skin-care brand turned to Vancouver with a stand-alone that opened ever so quietly last Friday. This tiny Gastown outpost is emblematic of the company’s ethos: authentic engagement with a community’s culture and history is just as key as what’s stocked on the shelves.

Smack in the middle Gastown, Aesop’s wee store (57 square metres) is clad entirely in locally sourced bisected Douglas fir tiles to honour the area’s historical reliance on the forest industry. Timber cross-sections reflect playful manipulation of proportions to create a distinct box-within-a-box feel. (Not unintentionally, they also reference the cobblestones and brick facades throughout the ’hood.)

On shelves: from hair care and skin care to fragrance, Aesop provides apothecary-like products—heavy on botanics that range from vegetable-based soaps to parsley seed antioxidant eye serum—all aimed at delivering scientifically proven results, with no fuss. Cult following ensues.

Aesop Gastown
19 Water St.

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