To celebrate their bricks-and-mortar debut in London, Matthew Malin and Andrew Goetz discuss skincare, architecture and the enduring appeal of the capital
After years of anticipation, cult apothecary brand Malin+Goetz has opened not one, but two boutiques in London: one on Upper Street in Islington, and another in Covent Garden's Seven Dials.
It marks the New York-based brand’s first foray off American soil since launching in 2004, and it is the first time that Londoners will be able to shop the entire product range, from the bestselling grapefruit facial cleanser and cilantro hair conditioner to a smoky dark rum candle.
“We have been dreaming of London for many years,” said Matthew Malin. “It has always been a market that is terribly important to us and, after New York, a place where we feel extremely at home. While the planning of the two shops has probably spanned about six months, it really does go back much further.”
Designed by Jonathan Tuckey, each location embraces the heritage of the neighbourhood, be it Islington’s period buildings or Covent Garden’s West End theatre district, elegantly outfitted with signature clean lines and inventive quirks (no two Malin+Goetz stores are designed the same).
The Islington boutique is characterised by a wooden, grid-like shelving unit that undulates through the store; a contrasting, contemporary design within an historic building, complemented by mint green walls.
Meanwhile, the Monmouth Street shop is defined by minimalist lines, brass fittings, a reflective ceiling and Vasiliki Malakasi-designed lighting. Inspired by Tuckey’s Japanese heritage, it embodies a calm purity, offering a reprieve from the bustling West End, while paying tribute to the neighbourhood’s theatrical drama through its crushed velvet-clad shop front.
“The architects created an incredibly generous shop window that makes the store a kinetic diorama. Shopping becomes a performance art, on a minimalist-inspired stage.”
And who are the stars in Malin+Goetz’s contemporary theatre production? The products of course, including a new Mojito candle and evocative Bergamot eau de toilette.
Malin+Goetz launched in New York 2004 and quickly gained notoriety for its simple and effective, home-grown skincare products, ideal for sensitive skin.
Drawing on the history of traditional apothecaries, the brand champions natural ingredients and unisex skincare and fragrance, housed in slick, minimalist packaging with colourful graphic typeface.
Originally a favourite with the Shoreditch cool crowd thanks to initial support from Goodhood, it is now recognised across London as a cult brand synonymous with trustworthy skincare for sensitive skin and rich, evocative scents.
"I lived in London in the early 1980s, so it holds both a nostalgic appeal along with something totally a la mode,” says Andrew Goetz. “I, or rather we, love London for so many reasons. We love the diversity, the creativity, the culture, the food and the energy – just to name a few things.
"We always try to get a little art under our belt, be it at the Tate, the V&A or the National Portrait Gallery. If we are lucky, we also squeeze in a trip to the theatre. Quite honestly though, since we are equally spoiled on that front in New York, our greatest joy is wining and dining with friends in one of the many restaurants here. London is truly always a pleasure.”