In the 30 years since foundation in Melbourne, Aēsop – a now global brand – has consistently exhibited a deep understanding of the value design has in furthering their customers’ in-store experience and a genuine respect for the design process. And that’s exactly what Sydney-based industrial designer Henry Wilson emphasised at the Sydney launch of the skincare company’s first foray into product design. In collaboration with Studio Henry Wilson, Aesop will be releasing the Brass Oil Burner: its first piece of design for interiors “to infuse a space with scent and elegance”.
In speaking to Dr Kate Forbes, Aēsop General Manager, Product and R&D, Habitus found that it was a decision that came about following countless requests from their customer base for oil burner recommendations – given the three (soon to be four) oil burner blends that they have.
We also found that, as with most product design and development, it was a long process from start to finish. Four years in fact.
There were a number of reasons the process here was quite so elongated. First and foremost – as noted by both Kate and Henry – was the unwavering dedication to getting the product exactly where it needed to be. Discussions began around an olive oil candle, however they eventually turned to the idea of an oil burner as a significantly more effective diffuser of scent.
Material choice was a relatively quick and certainly unanimous decision: brass for its ability to conduct heat and patina.
The shape, however, was again a much more drawn out process. More than 30 prototypes were sampled using a 3D printer. Because Henry and Kate were equally taken with the idea of asymmetry, it was virtually impossible to render the designs and view them from every angle. Likewise, the functionality in burning and diffusing scent was meticulously tested to ensure the integrity of the brand continued into this foray into the product design space.
“The Brass Oil Burner…represents an interesting new product direction for the company as it combines our passions of design, function and scent into the one product,” said Kate.
This isn’t the first time Aēsop and Studio Henry Wilson have collaborated, and we’d be surprised if it was the last.
Studio Henry Wilson