009- ‘IN ART, THE HAND CAN NEVER EXECUTE ANYTHING HIGHER THAN THE HEART CAN INSPIRE.’ – RALPH WALDO EMERSON
Aesop’s seasonal gift kits aptly titled ‘The Guild of Artisans’, takes inspiration from the humble materials used in their spectacularly unique stores and celebrates age old traditions of hand making techniques of craft.
We have always been partial to the traditions of hand-made, and when Aesop recently released their annual range of gift kits themed around this, it immediately attracted our attention. For the uninitiated, Aesop has been creating an exceptional range of skin care products since 1987 with a commitment to a high standard of quality and heavy attention to detail, all the while, quietly reconceiving the idea of luxury. The charm is that they don’t just stop with making fabulous products for the skin, hair and body, but also engage with the world of creativity by bringing the wealth of its creative expressions into their spaces, literally.
The company has always drawn from unique sources for inspiration, adopting themes such as Futurism, endangered and extinct birds, science, and cities in the previous years. This year, Aesop pays homage to exalted craft Guilds established from the thirteenth to the seventeenth centuries in Europe, parts of Asia and the Ottoman Empire. The theme also echoes the materials used in their distinct signature stores: ceramic, textile, leather, marble, timber, and copper.
Each of their striking stores is designed to respond to the local history or character; resonating a quiet beauty, and is significantly different from the other. One can see Aesop’s values translate to their stores through a genuine passion for well considered design and living. Through its masterfully designed and carefully considered spaces, collaborations with artists and architects, product marketing and gift kits, Aesop speaks a language that goes beyond their products – one that is far removed from the cosmetic industry, in a vocabulary that sits comfortably between the fields of science, art, design, and literature.
‘Moved daily by design, art and architecture – celebrating the passion for excellence of master craftspeople felt like a natural evolution for us this year. We also have the dual pleasure of celebrating the practitioners who spend a lifetime finessing their technique, amassing knowledge and perfecting their craft of these materials. The Guild of Artisans also allowed us to highlight the materials and designs of our spaces around the world – of which we are immensely proud’, explains the marketing team at Aesop.
Aesop has released a beautiful short film introducing The Guild of Artisans, which is a celebration of these modest materials that have been used in their stores. Collaborating with six artists to create the signature Aesop container in the material of their expertise, the film takes you through glimpses of the hand processes in mellow frames of restrained dynamism. The process of crafting anything in its material form is one that transcends mechanical reproduction and falls in line with rhythmic, poetic order; we believe the film honours this thought well.
Taking the inspiration further, through the year, Aesop will be hosting a curated programme of events in collaboration with local artists. Currently, their Collins Street signature store is showcasing a selection of works commissioned from Melbourne based ceramicist Vanessa Lucas.
Each of the six tin boxes is packed with a careful selection of irresistible formulations for the body and skin care for the face that are said to elicit ‘expressions of delight, spontaneous embraces, possible swooning, or declarations of everlasting affection’ from the user. No doubt.
For Aesop, ‘First and foremost our aim is that each considered selection of products have the utmost benefit for the health of the skin and body, while adding sensory pleasure to small daily moments.’