Acne Studios Store / Sophie Hicks Architects

Acne Studios Store / Sophie Hicks Architects - Image 2 of 15Acne Studios Store / Sophie Hicks Architects - BeamAcne Studios Store / Sophie Hicks Architects - Windows, BeamAcne Studios Store / Sophie Hicks Architects - Windows, Facade, GlassAcne Studios Store / Sophie Hicks Architects - More Images+ 10

Gangnam-gu, South Korea
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Acne Studios Store / Sophie Hicks Architects - Image 10 of 15
© Annabel Elston

Text description provided by the architects. The narrow, winding side streets of Gangnam house some of the most exclusive shops in the South Korean capital. 

It is in this setting - a haven of peace in a fast-moving city - that we have built a new store for Acne Studios: a flagship store, in which they will sell both their men’s and women’s collections. 

Acne Studios Store / Sophie Hicks Architects - Table, Windows
© Annabel Elston

Seoul has a highly distinctive character. The large number of western brands to which it is home – powerful brands, with strong identities - could very easily have undermined its individuality; but this doesn’t seem to have happened. As a visitor, my impression is that western brands and Korean urban culture have given something to one another; that they have cross-fertilised to exciting effect. 

Swedish culture prizes modesty and discretion. By contrast, Acne Studios’ designs are forceful and exude attitude. Our building reflects this contrast. Viewed from the outside, it is a restrained, rather elegant lightbox: translucent and ghostly but, in essence, plain and simple. Appearances, though, can be deceptive; and so they are, in this case. As soon as you enter, you realise that while it may only be a box, it is a box concealing a heavy, brooding, concrete monster. 

Acne Studios Store / Sophie Hicks Architects - Windows, Glass, Column, Beam
© Annabel Elston

The structure is a rectangular building on two floors, both of rough concrete, with four pairs of concrete columns holding up the roof and the upper floor. Around one of these columns winds a floating concrete staircase. 

Once upstairs, you realise that there is something else about this building that is a little bit strange. As you look down and about, you notice that the rough, lumpen, concrete structure is entirely separate from the translucent walls that enclose it; that it sits inside its elegant box as if in a display case. 

Acne Studios Store / Sophie Hicks Architects - Windows, Facade, Glass
© Annabel Elston

There is no decoration. The concrete bears the imprint of rough timber such as that used to make boardwalks to the beach in the Stockholm archipelago; and Acne Studios’ clothing is shown against softly reflective metal walls, freestanding in the open space; but there is not a single decorative finish of a traditional kind. 

Floor Plan
Concrete Staircase

Sweden is a land of light and air: vibrant light and clean, fresh, invigorating air that can induce feelings of euphoria and otherworldliness. The shop’s atmosphere is otherworldly. You are cut off from views of Seoul; you are enveloped in soft daylight, filtering through the polycarbonate walls, and light from bare fluorescents overhead, diffused by metal grids; and we have played tricks with the music to increase the sense of otherworldliness. 

Acne Studios Store / Sophie Hicks Architects - Beam
© Annabel Elston

The store is also pristine. No equipment – no ducts or pipes; no entrails or vital organs; no obtrusive mechanical realities - are allowed to disturb the atmosphere within. Instead, they are piled up on the roof. 

Acne Studios Store / Sophie Hicks Architects - Image 2 of 15
© Annabel Elston

One last detail: the building sits on vegetation typical of that found in the Swedish archipelagos: wild plants of every description, including, of course, wild strawberries. 

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Project location

Address:Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea

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Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "Acne Studios Store / Sophie Hicks Architects" 09 Apr 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

© Annabel Elston

Acne 首尔旗舰店,半透明材质打造瑞典风格店铺 / Sophie Hicks Architects

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