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AKRIS is an international fashion house founded in the Swiss textile Capital City of St. Gallen in 1922, whose name is an acronym of Alice Kriemler–Schoch, the company’s founder. The new store concept was developed in close collaboration with Albert and Peter Kriemler, and the Washington DC flagship is the prototype. The concept draws on the materiality and craftsmanship for which the brand is known, through a three-dimensional architecture and a light-weight display system, which together define a space where the products can take centre stage.

Playing around the concepts of tension and compression, all the display elements are made up of taut cables supporting shelves and hangers so that products seem to be floating.

The design references Bruno Munari’s tensile spatial structures, whose fundamental nature lies in the contrast between two opposing forces: tension and compression. Therefore, all the display elements are intentionally reduced to the minimum possible and are formed of taut cables that support shelves and hangers that give the impression that the products are floating. The walls and ceilings are clad in white-painted maple panelling, following a gentle zig-zagging profile to create a three-dimensional but neutral backdrop that is complemented by the grey limestone flooring and columns.

Suspended from the ceiling, stainless steel mesh partitions act as filters, subdividing the boutique and enhancing the sense of depth without obstructing the view. Together with the natural anodized aluminium counters, these partitions encourage fluidity of movement and a sense of transparency. In the fitting rooms, ivory-coloured horsehair fabric – AKRIS’s signature material – and cool grey mélange felt have been chosen for the walls and ceiling, while an ivory-coloured wool carpet covers the floor.