New Retail Direction: Stone Island Chicago by AMO.
Stone Island celebrates its 40th anniversary with a new retail identity. The Italian fashion label partnered with Dutch studio AMO to debut the concept at their new Chicago store, the first for the city. The research studio, affiliated with architecture firm OMA, was a natural choice for a brand that has forged an ethos orchestrated around experimentation and boundary-pushing design.
The altar-like 180 sqm layout is punctuated with niches for archive pieces and prototypes, a result of years of experimentation in Stone Island’s lab in Raverino, Italy. Dedicated rooms for collaboration and to showcase processes highlight the brand’s commitment to innovation of materiality.
Surfaces throughout the store replicate the look of stone, though there is no stone to be found. Instead, AMO used off-the-shelf materials and put them through rigorous and unique treatments to acquire different appearances and properties. Recycled paper and resins were compressed under high pressure to create a durable material that mimics concrete, used for sculptural displays of products and as a viable building material.
Burnt and sandblasted cork is used as the store’s central material—now dark and textured, while remaining sound-absorbent and humidity controlling. Corrugated steel panels were sand coated to acquire a unique soft-looking surface.
A chandelier-like digital display suspended from the ceiling contrasts with the orange flooring at the entrance. The feature broadcasts Stone Island’s culture, music, and storytelling to its community.
The interior revolves around the focus on technology and development, offering a hub for the brand’s wide-reaching community. All future stores will be designed to connect with and serve the community beyond opening hours, with public presentations, salons, workshops and private events.
“The space, materiality, and program of the stores underpin the brand’s ethos, and reinforce a sense of belonging of its community of like-minded people,” explains AMO creative director Samir Bantal.
The new spatial design concept will soon follow in Seoul, Munich and Stockholm.
[Images courtesy of OMA/AMO. Photography by Marco Cappelletti.]