Retail architecture

Le Cube blanc
April 24, 2017
Europe Building, Amsterdam – DUS Architects
April 24, 2017

Retail architecture

Retail architecture
Focus on the last Apple Store opened in Brussels and on the Aesop boutiques network.

For its first shop in Belgium, the brand’s 425 th, Apple has chosen the exclusive ground floor of the “Toison d’Or” building, covered with glass to offer a maximum of natural light. Whilst Aesop, the Australian cosmetics brand created in 1987, has a worldwide network of about 100 shops well known for their integration in the local culture.

Apple Store Brussels

Designed by the practices UN Studio and Jaspers-Eyers, the “Toison d’Or” building is erected in the Quartier Louise and closely combines shopping spaces and high standing apartments. Its façade pays a tribute to the cultural heritage of the Belgian capital. “The floral lines, the space layout, the use made of the light and the sloping profile of the building are a modern interpretation of the Art Nouveau philosophy, underline the architects of Jaspers-Eyers.” The great curved panel windows and the special organic structure accommodate, from now onwards, the Apple Store, a particular retail concept already implemented in their first US Apple Store in 2001.
Centered on a consumer-designed environment, each one of the stores focuses on emotion, on users’ commitments by transmitting a clear brand message. The Brussels Store, the first one supervised by Jony Ive, has an angle façade on two levels. Inside, sober colors, a terrazzo floor, a 9 m high stretched ceiling, display tables, wooden benches and two rows of trees planted in giant pots. The light lines are housed on all the ceiling’s length, like those of the Apple Store of Foster + Partner in Hangzou (China). Next step: the renovation of the Regent Street Apple Store in London, a huge space of more than 1000 sqm, visited by about four million visitors each year.

Photos 1, 2 & 3

Aesop

The Australian brand boasts about its desire to propose an unique design for each one of its shops: in Stockholm, it’s a counter made of solid elm coming from one of the town’s parks, or in Singapore an important mass of coconut fibers hanging from the boutique’s ceiling. The founder Dennis Paphitis calls on numerous architects, the Japanese Torafu Architects, the French Ciguë, the Belgian Vincent Van Duysen, March Studio or the Brazilian Paulo Mendes da Rocha, who, with the cooperation of Associated Architects, has designed the interior of Aesop’s boutique in Sao Paulo. A concrete countertop undulates around a structural column in the boutique’s centre. Or even more, the Norwegian Snohetta who created in Oslo an intimate 66sqm space, playing with the contrasts of forms and materials and sitting on top, intertwined domes of different sizes. Discovered when the renovation took place, the floor tiles were treated with a light finish so as to correspond to the monochrome interior. The use of recycled materials is a common characteristic to all the stores. The San Francisco store has a double wall with boxes made of recovered wood. In Kyoto, Torafu Architects has recycled steel pipes and lamps, which were recuperated from fishing boats, to use them as the shop’s focal point. In each place, this original way of organizing the space enables to favour much closer relations with the customers.

4 Aesop Stockholm (In Praise of Shadows)
Photo courtesy of Aesop

5 Aesop Singapour (March Studio)
Photo courtesy of Aesop

6 Aesop Sao Paulo (Paulo Mendes da Rocha)
Photo courtesy of Aesop

7 Aesop Osaka (Torafu Architects)
Photo © Takumi Ota

8 Aesop Oslo (Snøhetta)
Photo courtesy of Snøhetta

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