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Australian skincare company Aesop plans to open two downtown boutiques in August, but first, it's introducing itself to the shoppers of New York City with a kiosk in Grand Central Terminal's Graybar Passage. Stores like Barneys have stocked Aesop for years, but this is the first time the brand has ever created a stand-alone location in New York, which means it's the first time we've gotten to see Aesop's high-concept, somewhat kooky design vision in action.
While the rest of Grand Central's beauty stands—Origins, Aveda, L'Occitaine—advertise themselves with feminine colors and lots of flowers, Aesop's kiosk is stark, modernist, and gray. Architect Jeremy Barbour of Tacklebox built the stand out of 1,200 back issues of the New York Times arranged into chunky blocks. (If you go, try riffling the raw edges—the Aesop staff says it's weirdly mesmerizing.) The idea is to pay homage to the newspaper-reading commuters of Grand Central, but it's also a bit of a tease for the Nolita store, where similar newspaper blocks will hang from oak shelves.
The kiosk carries a whittled-down range of Aesop's signature products, all packaged in medicinal tubes and bottles. (Somebody on their design staff clearly loves eyedroppers.) Both the geranium leaf body scrub and the rinse-free hand wash are brand-new, never-before-seen specials, but the stand also stocks classic items including moisturizers, anti-oxidant serum, and shaving lotion for men. None of it comes cheap, especially for a shop targeting commuters, but the sales staff does seem insanely well-educated about their wares: One employee told us she'd been using Aesop since 1999.
· Design-Obsessed Skincare Line Aesop Has Big Plans for Manhattan [Racked NY]
· Aussie Skincare Line Aesop Bares Its Heart in Nolita [Racked NY]
· Tacklebox NY [Official Site]