AESOP THE SHAY, Washington, DC. | 2016
Architects: David Jameson Architects
General Contractor: Madden CCI
“Music is liquid architecture; Architecture is frozen music.”- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The design inspiration for Aesop’s first Washington, DC environment is rooted in the DNA of the historic U Street and Shaw neighborhoods; music. From the early 1900’s, the Dunbar, Lincoln, and Howard Theatres were the soul of musical creativity in Washington, DC, where jazz greats such as Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong and Cab Calloway performed. Today, their lineage continues in jazz clubs and music venues such as the 9:30 Club, the Black Cat, DC9, and U Street Music Hall.
Our design response is conceived to be an abstracted spatial experience distilled from this DNA.
Evoking the instruments of jazz artists past and present, a clear coated brass shelving armature envelops the interior, conceived as a tectonic instrument in its own right. Translucent drum skins inserted within the shelving are positioned in a manner to evoke the kinetic gestures of jazz artists that were not able to read or write music in the conventional sense.
Aesop’s amber glass bottles lyrically activate the shelving, becoming musical notes on a scale that resonate through the space. Linear Japanese Oak cases veil product demonstration sinks and operations equipment.