In Japan, folks tend to appreciate the uniqueness of a flaw or irregularity in the new product: it gives it personality: making it an object only one person owns. They appreciate the decrepitude of an old object. This appreciation of the perfection of imperfection is called wabi-sabi.
Wabi-sabi is a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.” Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, roughness, simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy, and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.
And now, wabi sabi comes to a brand new store in the historic center of Marseille, France. There, you’ll find the Marseille Cathedral, known in French as Cathédrale Sainte-Marie-Majeure de Marseille or Cathédrale de la Major.
It’s both a Roman Catholic cathedral, and a French national monument. The cathedral was just a basilica minor from 1896 to 1948, when it was elevated to be the seat of the Archdiocese of Marseille.
And now, in the vault under this ancient structure. you’ll find a “lifestore” called Essentiel is conducting a “space experiment”.
It’s an experiment because the vault has basically been preserved as-is, without masking the many lives, transformations, works, and especially the patina of time.
Inside, the layout reflects the philosophy of the place; be in harmony with nature, adding to the pleasures of both food and fashion.
To create these ideal conditions, the architects imagined a forest that separates the vault and creates a filter between the shop space and the restaurant.
In the ceiling, the lighting evokes a starry sky. It comprises bulbs that seem to grow from the ceiling like a rain of stars.
Upstairs, like cabins in the trees, muted offices welcome wellness appointments, and a beachlike spot also offers visitors a place to let go, with feet in the sand.