Aesop Yorkville, Toronto

Odami, Toronto

Photography by John Alunan 

The Australian skin, hair and body-care company paid homage to the Yorkville neighbourhood’s history and architectural character in its new Toronto store to ensure an inviting, domestic atmosphere. Traditional spindly wooden balusters characteristic of the Victorian porches and staircases in nearby houses are used in an unfamiliar, surreal, tightly spaced configuration as wainscoting. This element, along with walls, ceiling and display shelves, is painted oxblood red to evoke the dusky warmth of a Victorian interior. Seating and counters coloured to match the walls blend into the background, while pale-beige units with sinks for testing skin and hair products stand out. The largest basin sits in the centre of the store and doubles as a tea station. Its shared wash basin reinterprets the geometry of Victorian pedestal sinks with their articulated corners, rounded edges and heavy top volume perched on a recessed base. In one wall segment, two tall revolving cylinders showcase Aesop’s expanded fragrance line; the clear-fronted third cylinder is an infusion chamber, the company’s first in Canada, where Aesop scents can waft onto small articles of customers’ clothing, such as a scarf.