Amsterdam-based eyewear brand Ace & Tate has opened two more permanent stores in London, expanding its portfolio to five retail spaces in the UK. As an extension of its online presence, the stores aim to offer customers a memorable brand experience, by acting not only as a space for commerce, but also as a stage dedicated to creative expression, contemporary conversations, and story sharing.
Ace & Tate has chosen Brewer Street and Hanbury Street for its new homes; two locations perfectly positioned in the heart of London’s vibrant creative neighbourhoods, surrounded by independent fashion boutiques, and some of the UK’s most iconic record labels, advertising and design agencies.
Ace & Tate wants to create an inviting, casual and open-minded environment that celebrates and encourages freedom of expression. Building on the brand’s recent projects that explore identity – including a collaboration with two UK based magazines, Intern and Crack – Ace & Tate will keep the conversation going by teaming up with London’s all-female collective gal-dem. The partnership will see the launch of AW18 frame colourways, alongside profiles of women and non-binary people of colour who are doing incredible things. Together they will explore and subvert the assumptions people make about individuals based on the colour of their skin in their respective careers.
To keep with tradition, Ace & Tate designed the stores in collaboration with local creatives. At Brewer Street, the brand worked with creative agency Anyways. As a nod to Soho’s reputation for voyeurism, the space was designed to allow passers-by to peep in and see every room. Staring straight back is a set of bright neon eyes that shut when the store closes — if you look at them long enough you might just catch a wink. Turner Prizewinning creative collective, Assemble’s Grandbury Workshop, collaborated with Ace & Tate to design handcrafted, vibrant, marble tiles that reference the paving tiles from nearby Carnaby Street in its 70s heyday.
At Hanbury Street, artist William Luz designed a mural that draws inspiration from Brick Lane’s buzzing, multi-cultural atmosphere. Luz uses colour and form to extend the street culture into the store. The dynamic piece made of finely tuned lines and organic wobbles balances the grid-like centrepiece of the store which is the optician room. The combination of mirrors and strict horizontal lines on its walls reference the bricks showing through the graffiti in the surrounding area. The positioning of the eye-test room in the centre of the space is done purposefully as it is an important aspect of Ace & Tate’s brand experience.
Ace & Tate’s first UK store opened in Seven Dials back in 2017. Following its recent arrival in Manchester and Bristol earlier this year, these new London stores are an important next step in the brand’s expansion plan throughout the UK.
Photography: Erik Undéhn