AMO experiments with materials for Stone Island store in Chicago


Fashion brand Stone Island has debuted a retail concept by Dutch studio AMO, which includes surfaces made from compressed shredded paper, burnt cork and sand-coated steel.

The research studio, affiliated with architecture firm OMA, created the store concept to celebrate Stone Island‘s 40th anniversary.

Store entrance with orange floor and digital chandelier
Stone Island’s Chicago store features a digital chandelier at its entrance

As well as an update to the look and feel of the interiors, AMO has designed the spaces to host a program of public presentations, salons, workshops and private events beyond store opening hours.

For the store’s architecture, the studio referenced the “innovative” approach taken by the Italian brand to transforming materials for its products, particularly outwear.

Clothing displayed on metal racks
The interior was designed by AMO to reflect the brand’s experimental approach to materials

“Research and innovation are at the core of Stone Island,” said AMO director Samir Bantal, who worked with Natalie Konopelski, Giulio Margheri and Mateusz Kiercz on the project.

“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,” he continued.

Burnt cork wall and sculptural display stand
Walls are lined in cork that has been burnt, sandblasted and coated

The inaugural store to be designed based on this direction is the 180-square-metre space in Chicago, Stone Island’s first in the city.

The space features altar-like niches for displaying archival pieces and prototypes to highlight Stone Island’s focus on technology and development.

Display area for archival products and prototypes
A niche at the back of the store displays archival products and prototypes

Surfaces throughout the store are intended to look like stone, though none are actually made from it. Instead, off-the-shelf materials have been treated in a variety of ways to replicate the same visual qualities.

Shredded paper and resin were compressed under high pressure to produce durable panels that mimic concrete, and used to create sculptural displays for products.

View towards the back of the store
Sculptural display stands are formed from shredded paper and resin that’s compressed to look like concrete

Cork – which is a staple in existing Stone Island stores – was burnt, sandblasted and coated to create a dark texture. Applied to the walls, the material helps to both absorb sound and control humidity, while the ceiling is covered with a sawtooth arrangement of translucent light boxes.

Corrugated steel panels were sand-coated to create a softer finish and used to form a curved partition around the fitting rooms.

Fitting rooms surrounded by sand-coated corrugated steel
The fitting rooms are surrounded by sand-coated corrugated steel

At the store’s entrance, which has a bright orange floor, a digital chandelier is suspended from the ceiling and broadcasts messages to shoppers.

Following the opening of the Chicago store in October 2022, plans are in place to roll out the concept at locations including Seoul, Munich and Stockholm.

“Stone Island and AMO share values of innovation, functionality, and passion,” said Stone Island creative director and president Carlo Rivetti.

“I am very happy to begin this important partnership, a new visual approach for our stores, to speak to our communities.”

Product research exhibit
Stone Island’s research is explained through displays

AMO was founded as the research arm of OMA, and has developed long-standing relationships with several fashion brands.

One of its most frequent collaborators is Prada – the studio has designed a number of environments for the Italian brand’s runways shows over the years.

Stone Island Chicago store exterior
The Chicago store is the first iteration of the concept by AMO

Most recently, AMO worked with French brand Jacquemus to create a Paris boutique with a “bedroom-like” interior and a terracruda-clad shop-in-shop at London’s Selfridges.

The photography is by Marco Cappelletti, courtesy of Stone Island and OMA/AMO.


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