The Aesop Bern signature store occupies a heritage-listed site on Kramgasse in the city centre, only doors away from the apartment in which Albert Einstein lived while writing the Annus mirabilis papers. Its design is intended to express a distinctly Swiss identity through a dialogue between crafted elements and lean industrial components.

The approach aimed to convert the interior’s 35 square metres almost invisibly, not designing in the customary sense but subtly repairing and modifying. Most new elements seem as if they have always occupied the space, and some existing fittings have merely been refinished – such as wooden cabinetry repainted using the same subdued grey that covers the walls and ceiling, accentuating the gentle palette announced on entry by Oak parquetry flooring.

 Outsized stone arches at the façade evoke a sense of nostalgia at the moment of entry, complemented by large windows that filter indirect light into the space to effect a softly radiant atmosphere. In keeping with a desire to emphasise simplicity of form, Dieter Rams’ Vitsœ 606 Universal Shelving System houses a complete product range and introduces an unobtrusive Modernist element.