Stockholm – Celebrating 20 years of business is reason for any team to reflect on the values that have gotten them there. As Acne Studios neared that milestone and prepared for the opening of its new Stockholm headquarters, creative director Jonny Johansson returned to the acronymic name the brand was born with: Ambition to Create Novel Expressions. The headquarters – a collaboration between the Swedish fashion brand and Johannes Norlander Arkitekur – appropriately embodies that starting ambition, nothing short of ten floors of novel expression.
Johansson and his team sought a space to embody their idea of a ‘design utopia,’ one to ‘actively encourage creativity within its walls’ and evoke the innovative atmosphere of fashion schools. The chosen building’s first life, Floragatan 13, was as Stockholm’s Embassy of the Czechoslovakia – then, after the sovereign state’s 1993 dissolution, it served as the Czech Republic’s until 1998. Completed by late architect Jan Bočan in 1972, the building is an archetypal example of 1970s brutalist architecture and, while completely restoring it, the architects were careful to preserve as much of its original character as possible.