That which is handcrafted - in the sense of a master artisan - involves specialist expertise that can emerge only over the passage of years, and painstaking attention to detail. It also involves an intimate, respectful relationship between the maker and their client or purchaser, which goes well beyond the „service provider” model of many commercial contexts.
Further, a handcrafted object embodies the intentions and touch of the maker, and consequently, a level of quality not found in mass-produced articles. It often lasts for generations, timeless in aesthetic appeal and functionality; it is not to be discarded lightly in favour of the next beguiling thing. This is of course where artisanship and sustainability marry. A piece that remains in good condition because of its fundamental quality, and remains pleasing to the eye as it ages, is surely of greater value than a dozen superficially similar yet mediocre articles that will be landfill within a year, or perhaps even less.
The production of Aesop products does not involve individually crafted pieces, obviously - although many of the fittings and objects in the Aesop spaces are handmade (as celebrated in the 2015 Gift Kits, the Guild of Artisans). However, it does involve a similar assiduous attention to detail in order that the formulations and spaces are of the highest quality. Holistic in approach, Aesop aims to offer not only efficacious products but also calm and welcoming environments for those fatigued by the clamour of most contemporary retail settings - thereby to contribute to lives well-lived.
Words Suzanne Santos
Photography Stefan Dotter