Acne Studios' new Milan Store

Swedish steel

Swedish fashion label Acne Studios has in the last two years given its new stores a signature look in stainless steel. The store that just opened in Milan is a bit of an exception.
by Fabian Peters | 8/10/2017

It’s a true Swedish Pop culture fairytale – although with young fashion instead of young music in the main role. In 1996, a creative collective with the slightly unappetizing name of “Acne” opened shop in Stockholm. In 2017, “Acne Studios”, as the successful fashion label is now called, runs more than 40 stores of its own and is on the ground in many of the most important European, Asian and North American cities. In the last two years alone Acne Studios opened just short of a dozen new stores. Starting with two flagship stores in Stockholm and Copenhagen, both of which were inaugurated in 2015, the label realized a new design concept that has substantially defined the brand image. The key element: large unpainted stainless-steel tops that give the rooms a cool, satin gleam. The material is used extensively as wall cladding and for room dividers. The sales areas, meaning the tables, clothes hangers and shelves, are all made of stainless steel. The resulting, almost aseptic look is emphasized by the LED lighting concept that bathes the sales rooms in bright light, almost eliminating all shadows.
This cleanroom atmosphere contrasts with the coarse, almost contract-like tone of the furniture created by British designer Max Lamb, with whom Acne Studios have collaborated since 2015 and whose designs are to be found in most of the stores that boast the new signature interior.

The fashion label's store at the department store Illum in Copenhagen

The new Acne Studios store design made only very sparing use of colored elements, although the powder rose and violets typical of the label’s shops for many years reappeared in a few of the furnishing details in the stores. In the store that opened in Milan in June 2017 color then celebrated a massive comeback, with a ceiling entirely in pink. In fact, the store on Piazza del Carmine in the Brera district boasts various details that set it apart from its predecessors. Starting with the wall design: The large, floor-to-ceiling segment elbow windows are reflected by sealed wall surfaces, where they are cut out of the granite paneling (which runs from floor to ceiling, another novelty) to form negative outlines. These outlines are then filled out with stainless-steel inserts. The furnishing is also different, too. It is made not of stainless steel, but like the floor, from granite. Another new feature: the highly dominant, purpose-developed “Mega” ceiling lighting system that in addition to LED strips also includes a series of downlights – a type of luminaire that has otherwise not been used in any new Acne shop in the last five years. The Milan branch of the Swedish fashion house thus as a whole seems slightly more playful, somewhat warmer. Does this mark the start of a renewed redefinition of the Acne retail look?