Norman Kelley Uses Reclaimed Bricks for Aesop Bucktown in Chicago

Bricks arranged in pinwheel patterns line the walls of skincare brand Aesop’s first store in the American Midwest.

Designed by New York and Chicago firm Norman Kelley, the shop is located in the Windy City’s Bucktown neighbourhood.

The ground-floor unit of a two-storey building was overhauled by the studio to create a space for Aesop, which insists that each of its outposts has a different design.

Aiming to provide local context, Norman Kelley sourced approximately 10,000 of reclaimed Chicago Common bricks to cover the walls and floor.

This extra weight required extensive structural alterations to the building.

“To carry the load of the bricks, the floor was entirely restructured with new concrete and steel construction filling the crawl space below,” studio co-founder Tom Kelley told Dezeen. “In addition, we removed an existing chimney to allow for an open plan and unobstructed view of and from the street.”

On the wall, rectangular bricks are arranged in pinwheel formations around square pieces. A contrasting herringbone pattern is used across the floor.

Black alcoves display the brand’s skin and hair products. The same colour is used to form the service counter and a central wash basin unit for testing samples.

Aesop and Norman Kelley collaborated closely on the design, which marks the brand’s first location in the Midwest region of the US.

“We were encouraged to look near, rather than far, for conceptual, material, and tectonic inspiration,” said Kelley.

“We unified our knowledge of Chicago’s architectural history, from post-fire [1871] to Postmodernism, with Aesop’s dedication to creating considered architectural interiors,” he added.

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