Aēsop Ala Moana

Our design for this Aēsop store in Honolulu deploys material consistency and rhythmic repetition to evoke the sensation of being inside a clearing of taro stalks, sunlight filtering through their leaves.

Project
Description

As part of the largest outdoor mall in North America, Aēsop Ala Moana in Honolulu was inspired by the sacred significance of the taro plant in Hawaiian creation myths and people’s everyday lives. The design abstracts the plant form down to its most basic horizontal and vertical elements, deploying them as display surfaces as well as structural components.

The modestly sized space conveys an intimate enclosure — much like a clearing in a field — characterized by material consistency, rhythmic patterns, and curved contours, mimicking the organic shapes and flow found in nature. The layered white oak wall assembly was specifically inspired by taro plantations: vertical supports of varying lengths represent the stalks while the patinated bronze horizontal shelves and products on display form the leaves and shoots. Light emanates from LEDs concealed within the oak slats, emulating the sparkling sunlight that penetrates between the stalks. 

Behind the richly textured oak slats, white walls merge seamlessly with the ceiling, representing the boundless condition of the Hawaiian sky. The softly lit, otherworldly whiteness provides a pleasing counterpoint to the “earth mother” element signified by the large matte charcoal grey porcelain floor tiles, which are intended to evoke the volcanic lava of the islands.

Images: Laure Joliet

Project
Information

Type
Commercial
Location
Honolulu, HI
Client
Aēsop
Year
2015
Size
554 sf
Team
CallisonRTKL Architects (Architect of Record), Henderson Engineers (Mechanical + Electrical + Plumbing), Capitol Light (Lighting), Nest Environments (Millwork)