- Article by Natalie Mortimer
Aesop has announced its first functional design piece, in collaboration with the Sydney-based designer Henry Wilson, who has previously designed two Aesop signature stores.
The brand’s first foray into object design comes in the shape of a Brass Oil Burner, crafted from solid brass in Australia. Wilson used a lost wax casting process —an ancient technique utilising wax moulds to cast metal objects—to ensure each vessel has its own character and brass patina, which will evolve over time.
The designer says he was inspired by asymmetry, the imperfect beauty of pouring molten brass, and the quiet ritual of lighting a candle.
“The design intent was to create a vessel which was part tool, part votive art object, and to reflect Aesop’s strong eastern philosophy with regards to design where importance is placed
on the irregular and asymmetrical as points of unique beauty and poetry. The amorphic design was carefully evolved to reflect the imperfect nature and process of casting molten metal, while the soft edges and quiet forms are intended to cradle the heat and invite a gentle intrigue.”
Designing the Brass Oil Burner presented a creative challenge for Wilson and Aesop, with the product evolving considerably during the design process.
“We experimented with a variety of product shapes and materials, as each design alteration and material choice impacted the object functionality. We eventually settled on brass for its superior heat transfer properties, its tactility and warmth, and its long affiliation with candlelight.”
Dr Kate Forbes, Aesop general manager, Product and R&D, adds, “The Brass Oil Burner is Aesop’s first foray into retailing a designed object and it represents an interesting new product direction for the company as it combines our passions of design, function and scent into the one product.”