The Pink Bulbs in blown glass by Benoit Lalloz are the ‘shocking’ volumes perceived against the black of the windows, already from the outside, from the concrete steps leading to the entrance and the lobby of the headquarters of Acne Studios, opened on 15 November in Stockholm. The “Ambition to Create Novel Expressions,” the stated objective leading to the acronym ACNE, has led the firm to revitalize its offices and ateliers in an existing building, of Brutalist architecture, restored, revised and refunctionalized in a situation of teamwork by Jonny Johansson, Creative Director, the Acne Studios design team and Johannes Norlander Arkitektur.
At Floragatan 13 – the former home of the Czech embassy created in 1972 by the architect Jan Bočan, in the Cold War era – the structure composed of squared and partially monumental volumes in fair-face concrete and dark metal, juxtaposed with different proportions, finds new expression today as it welcomes a company that likes to experiment, in spaces that get beyond Brutalist and pragmatic ideals to absorb different kinds of creativity in a “fashion school atmosphere.”
From the invention in the fashion design and production ateliers, subdivided in four central levels, to the making of the lighting fixtures created for the occasion by Benoit Lalloz – in 23 different types and 5 families – scattered throughout the facility to light the big, conceptual spaces and rugged surfaces in concrete or exposed brick. The material textures and neutral tones of the concrete are enlivened by the color of the fabrics, furnishings, lamps, flooring, and the abstract collages applied in large sizes to the walls, made by artist Daniel Silver with surplus fabrics.
Many of the furnishings and carpets have been made to measure or conceived as one-offs. The stone seating in the lobby is by Max Lamb, like the table in reflecting metal in the library zone, and the round table placed in the boardroom on the upper level. While the overall aesthetic of the interior design sets out to reflect the identity, history and vision of the brand, now celebrating its 20th birthday, the layout facilitates encounters and interaction between different professional roles, thanks to community spaces like the library on the ground floor, the corporate dining hall in the basement, which originally contained a cinema, and the outdoor seating area.
“Acne Studios is always evolving, and I want this space to evolve with us. We will continue to add details in the month and years ahead. I believe design is alive, whether it’s fashion or interiors,” says Jonny Johansson.
Photo © courtesy Acne Studios