FRAME MAGAZINE

ACNE’S KOREAN FLAGSHIP HOVERS WEIGHTLESSLY AMID AN ASSEMBLY OF CONCRETE AND STEEL

By Shonquis Moreno. Photographs by Annabel Elston. March 2016

Designer Sophie Hicks’ flagship for Stockholm-based fashion brand Acne Studios in Seoul’s Gangnam district sits – gossamer and luminous – in a bed of wild strawberries, crowned with ductwork and lined with concrete. This industrial-ethereal contradiction reflects the area’s identity, as well as the contrast between Acne’s vocal aesthetic (the name of the label could refer to blemishes but is actually a cheeky acronym for the collective’s primary pursuit: Ambition to Create Novel Expressions) and the more retiring aspects of Swedish culture. ‘Sweden is a culture of light and air,’ Hicks writes, one that values ‘modesty and discretion’.

Inside, two floors of concrete poured in rough timber forms float amid – without touching – exterior polycarbonate walls through which daylight difuses onto freestanding steel garment displays. There is no decoration of any sort and no mechanical equipment, the ductwork that might have threaded the interior having been coiled atop the roof. The consonance of a handful of diverse materials – woodgrain-tattooed concrete surfaces and spiral stair, metal cash counter and displays, and glowing polycarbonate walls – vaporizes into an atmosphere of cool warmth. Hicks, with good reason, calls it ‘otherworldly’. — Shonquis Moreno

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