Located in the city’s center, Aesop’s second signature store in Lyon is not far from the first, which opened in 2017. Where that inaugural space is cosy and compact, Aesop Lyon Place de la République is airy and light-filled.

The design takes inspiration from the city and the site’s architectural shell. The historical surroundings and polished exterior presented an interesting contrast to the raw modernity within, where a light touch was applied. An inaugural collaboration with Belgian studio Nicolas Schuybroek Architects, the space retains elements of its past lives, over which only necessary layers of contemporary materials have been added, introducing unexpected textural variations.

The high ceiling is covered in untouched fire-resistant foam—a cloud-like mass rarely left visible in retail settings, but kept intact for both practicality and as a nod to past functions. Below, the room is lined with wool felt, whose softness and sound-absorbing qualities add warmth and domesticity to the otherwise cool-toned space. These walls will undergo subtle changes over the life of the store, their tufted surfaces inevitably taking on slight scratches, blemishes and other marks of the passage of time. A series of freestanding elements evokes Lyon’s numerous fountains: a small sink for intimate consultations, wood-veneered counters, and a large central basin wrapped in local tin that will develop a distinctive patina over the years.

Photographs — © Romain Laprade, courtesy of Aesop