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Tokyo-based Design Firm SIMPLICITY Creates An Interior Inspired By Jun’ichirō Tanizaki’s 'In Praise Of Shadows'

December, 2014
Aesop Kyoto, Japan | Designed by Simplicity ©︎ Aesop

Aesop Kyoto is a minimalist affair that merges the organic silhouettes of cycladic vernacular forms and details of oxidised copper piping and basins.  Tucked away on a side street off of the main Sanjo dori in the heart of Kyoto, the store is a respite from the bustle of the popular district offering an immersive visual and olfactory experience.

With an entrance that leads you to translucent hand-dyed curtains and hanging rows of vertical Aesop bottles partitioning to the centre of the store, Aesop Kyoto was designed by Japanese architecture and design firm Simplicity led by Shinichiro Ogata with a design inspired by traditional Japanese principles. Ogata notes, “The design draws inspiration from Jun’ichirō Tanizaki’s In Praise of Shadows, the aesthetics of fourteenth-century actor and playwright Zeami Motokiyo, Kyoto’s machiya townhouses and the vertical alignment of Japanese text.”

Ogata, who also designed Aesop Minamiaoyama, Aesop Nakameguro and Aesop Shinsaibashi to name a few, complete Aesop Kyoto in 2014, featuring a modest, white interior that extends to integrated shelving and counters, accompanied by a bronze sink and copper piping, with a side bronze-tinted desk in oxidised copper.

Kyoto, known for it’s many water wells found in various homes, shrines or temples across the city is furthermore regarded for its excellent properties – the water is so balanced that it is used especially in traditional tea ceremony. Ogata positioned a vintage well in the corner of the store by the front window, with constantly flowing water to signify a flow and purification of space.

The result is a retail interior akin to meditative space: Aesop Kyoto by Simplicity. 

Aesop Kyoto, Japan | Designed by Simplicity ©︎ Aesop
Aesop Kyoto, Japan | Designed by Simplicity ©︎ Aesop
Aesop Kyoto, Japan | Designed by Simplicity ©︎ Aesop
Aesop Kyoto, Japan | Designed by Simplicity ©︎ Aesop
Aesop Kyoto, Japan | Designed by Simplicity ©︎ Aesop
Aesop Kyoto, Japan | Designed by Simplicity ©︎ Aesop
Aesop Kyoto, Japan | Designed by Simplicity ©︎ Aesop
Aesop Kyoto, Japan | Designed by Simplicity ©︎ Aesop

97 Yanaginobamba-dori,
Aburayacho, Nakagyo Ward
604-8103 Kyoto, Japan

Text: Joanna Kawecki
Images: courtesy Aesop

December, 2014