Until recently, visitors to downtown Los Angeles might not have had a reason to go inside the glorious Tiffany blue-colored Eastern Standard Building, designed in the 1930s by Claud Beelman (the architect behind many of the city’s iconic Art Deco and Beaux-Arts landmarks, including the Hollywood Post Office and the Superior Oil Building, now the Standard), but the newly opened California flagship of Swedish fashion brand Acne is a pretty good excuse to explore one of the West coast’s most noteworthy architectural offerings.
The store itself, which includes a VIP shopping suite and an ilcaffè—a favorite of creative director Jonny Johansson—is as minimal as the clothes. But whether it’s a perfectly pared-down wardrobe or sleek shop interior, the great thing about minimalism is that it provides the ideal backdrop for a single, statement-making piece. In this case, Belgian artist Carsten Höller’s “Giant Triple Mushroom” sculpture.
If you bore witness to Höller’s New Museum takeover in 2011, his most comprehensive U.S. exhibition to date, you might remember the overgrown mushroom sculptures on the ground floor. The “three-dimensional collages” are made from three different mushroom species, including Amanita Muscaria, the fairytale red and white-dotted toadstool that’s as poisonous as it is psychotropic. Höller’s infatuation with the fantastical fungus stems from his interest in its use in shamanistic rituals as well as its devalued status as a cultural symbol; Our own fascination with mushrooms is more practical—we’re tracking its place on menus as well as in architecture and construction; And we’re guessing the reasons behind Acne’s latest acquisition are mainly aesthetic. It’s not every brand that can (or, perhaps more accurately, chooses to) invest in amazing art work for its retail locations, so we’d like to say bravo, Acne. We’d come in anyway to shop the collection, but now we have an extra reason to make more frequent return visits.
Images courtesy of Acne and the New Museum.