Acne Studios' stores are ‘small personal time-stamps’, says Jonny Johansson, co-founder and creative director of the Swedish brand. For each location, Johansson calls upon a different architect, designer or artist to make their mark on the brand’s aesthetic – whether that’s Sophie Hicks in Seoul or Bozarthfornell Architects in Stockholm.
For the brand’s new flagship on Madison Avenue in New York, British designer Max Lamb created a furniture concept revolving around polycarbonate elements with gold accents and aluminium fittings with electrostatical gilding. ‘I always aim to work with creative people that I feel inspired by in some way’, says Johansson. ‘I prefer working long-term with different artists that are active in the world of art and architecture, not just fashion.’
Hand-tufted rugs made in Lamb's London studio bring softness to the space
Lamb regularly creates furniture that borders on art, and utensils that are made with labour-intensive techniques. He has also explored newfangled materials, such as man-made marble. For Johansson, it’s the often-unexpected results that make these collaborations worthwhile. ‘I enjoy seeing what they come up with. The surprise element for me is important.’
Sculptural bronze furniture are dotted around the store, while the structural pillars that stand in the space are scattered with semi-precious coloured stones. An organic touch that offsets the space’s signature gold accent is the custom-made rugs. Made of yarns hand-dyed in Lamb’s studio in London, and then tufted at Kasthall in Sweden, they are all different as the result of each tufter working with one yarn until finished – letting the material determine how the rug unfolds.
With women's and men's ready-to-wear, denim, bags and accessories on offer, the store is akin to a gallery in the sense that it is fully wrapped in glass to allow complete transparency; apart from a golden aluminum partition that divides the public front and private back area. ‘I like juxtaposing materials like that’, says Johannson. ‘It’s more about the combination of the materials and the feeling you get from combining them, rather than the materials themselves.’