Aesop has reunited with James Russell and Hannah Plumb’s creative studio, JAMESPLUMB, to design its Cambridge store. Emitting a sense of calm elegance, the new store marks the third time the two entities have worked together.
Created with longstanding collaborators James Russell and Hannah Plumb, Aesop Cambridge is an artefact of the surrounding water and land. Proximity to academic and archival collections provided further inspiration – the store is a place to leaf through books in quiet comfort, enveloped in botanical textures and aromas.
After spending time on-site and exploring the location’s context and feel, James and Hannah presented many insightful ideas, along with a wealth of poems, images and inspirations. Notably, they engaged with Felicity Irons and her bulrush practice, which became a core element of our Cambridge space. We then worked with JAMESPLUMB in constant dialogue to compose, juxtapose, and collage ideas. The result was what feels like the essence of the city and a special place for Aesop to host customers. Marianne Lardilleux, Aēsop’s global head of store design
Like the binding of an antique book, the shopfront is the hue of well-worn leather. Using ancient and pioneering techniques, local plant matter is the interior’s primary material.
What stands out about the new location’s style is that the South-London-based creative studio was able to keep the aged architectural elements while also casting the space in a modern light. At first glance, everyone will notice the exterior’s rich worn leather hue that is complimented by a collection of pelargoniums that sit pristinely in the store’s window beneath the subtle Aēsop branding. Once inside, the store offers up a relaxing atmosphere with natural shades inspired by Bulrush.
Oversized shelves are made from English freshwater bulrush harvested and woven by Felicity Irons and her team at Rush Matters, who have brought this archaic and yet renewable practice into the twenty-first century. The bulrush is hand-cut from long punts on the River Great Ouse in Cambridgeshire, then air-dried and sun-bleached before being braided into furniture at the nearby workshop.
Other shelves are formed from hemp – grown just twenty miles from Cambridge – pressed with resin. This warm, dense, tactile material is also inlaid into cabinetry, recalling the burnished surfaces of old writing desks. Underfoot, nineteenth-century floorboards are polished with two hundred years of footfall.
Amidst the serene shades and elevated rushes, is the array of Aēsop’s products, which stands tall on hemp shelving with its popular minimal yet enticing design style. Like some of Aēsop’s other locations, the new Cambridge store extends the brand’s cadence of crafting elevated yet tranquil shopping experiences. Come into the beautiful world of Aesop.
3535 Trinity Street