In Stockholm, the headquarters of Acne Studios is a school

By Clément Ghys

Posted today at 10:00 a.m.

The old cinema room which has become a canteen.

The hub of Acne Studios’ headquarters in Stockholm is different from that of other fashion brands. It is neither the office of the creative director and co-founder of the house, Jonny Johansson, on the top floor, nor the design studio. Not even a meeting room or a showroom, these vast rooms where the collections are stored. The heart of the locals is the canteen in the basement. A large room, with walls covered with mirrors, furnished with large round tables. Scandinavian equality requires, Jonny Johansson and the other members of the staff of Acne Studios do not have a free pass in the queue for hot dishes or reserved places. Interns and designers come together, meetings are improvised.

“Here, it’s a workplace, like a school. In a college, the students move from one class to another, meet in the courtyard, eat next to their teachers. With this building, we really wanted to reproduce this idea. »Jonny Johansson, the director

The sight of a few dozen people who, at the start of autumn, eat enchiladas (vegetarian or meat) while discussing work, is surprising. At a glance, you feel old in front of this small crowd, a large part of which seems to have been born in the second half of the 1990s, you find yourself so little cosmopolitan to hear them talk about their countries of origin or their backgrounds. Above all, we look at ourselves, and we judge ourselves overwhelmed by their outfits, daring, colorful, astonished that one comes to work in a double-breasted suit on a bare torso, that another has superimposed two skirts around his waist.

Since the end of 2019, Acne Studios has been located here, at number 13 of Floragatan, a peaceful thoroughfare in the Östermalm district, in the north of Stockholm, where there are a number of embassies. The building, seven floors of concrete built in 1972 by the Czech architect Jan Bočan, is the former diplomatic representation of a country that no longer exists, Czechoslovakia. Previously, the brand, originally a creative agency, founded in 1996, which took the name of Ambition to Create Novel Expressions – hence the acronym for dermatology – was based in the historic center of the Swedish capital. “As a young brand, we needed classicism, to place ourselves in a historical context”, dit Johansson.

Today, Acne is a large company, with 500 points of sale, 70 own stores and 900 employees worldwide, and an annual turnover of almost 300 million euros (remained solid during the pandemic). The situation is no longer the same. “We needed a functional, creative place”, considers the creative director.

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