torafu architects, in collaboration with buaisou collective, has completed the new store for australian skincare brand ‘aesop’, located in yokohama, japan. the selected L-shaped site is part of the local ‘newoman’ mall premises, and has a 7.4 m wide frontage, and a depth of 16 m. the design was intended to create an atmosphere where the human hand and the power of nature are combined.

aesop newoman yokohama 1

all images courtesy of aesop, buaisou



with coastal yokohama being the location, torafu architects has chosen indigo as the main color of the project, in order to conjure up the image of the ocean. with the help of buaisou, the coloring of the wooden boards was finished with indigo dye (ai-some). after experimenting with several tree species, it was decided that maple would also be used, due to its compatibility with indigo.

aesop newoman yokohama 2



the store interior was completed with a wall made of a succession of indigo-dyed boards, which form a gentle curve like a ship’s hull over the rough mortar floor. there is a noticeable difference between the hues of blue, due to the various conditions of the indigo on the day the color was obtained. in this way, a natural gradation can be observed along the wall.

aesop newoman yokohama 3



moreover, the natural light that enters through the two windows of the store, changes the appearance of the indigo dye moment by moment. the tube type shelf was created using indigo dyed aggregated natural wood corrugated into a wave form. the sink area and the island fixtures are finished in stainless steel, reflecting the color of the indigo. each indigo dyed board has a rusticity and boldness that can not be found easily. 

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project info:


name: aesop newoman yokohama
architecture office: torafu architects
in collaboration with: buaisou




designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: myrto katsikopoulou | designboom