In a restored historical building in Gamla Stan, the old section of Stockholm, is the office of Acne Production. In the tasteful spaces are the other member companies of the Acne Group as well. Passing through the dignified entrance of this former bank, the first floor is occupied by a fashionrelated Acne company, while Acne Production is on the fourth floor.
The four founders of the Acne Group included an illustrator, a fashion designer and two ad people, one a director who said, “It should be interesting if we work together, so let’s see what happens!” Thus began a corporate culture that still has a lighthearted sprit.
The lighting within the building is subtle, so rather than it seeming as though there are the offices of several companies within the building, the image is more like a set of artists’ ateliers within an old building, with tiny rooms and an elegant interior with a wooden ambiance.
Collaboration with the Group is on the level of exchanging ideas, or of aiming at idea stimulation and emergence in the jointly owned space—and not so much on working together on actual business. Loose cooperation and coexistence have become basic concepts.
Acne Production’s main business is the creation of commercials. The company has been involved in productions for a number of leading companies in Sweden, including Honda, Volvo, Ikea, Saab and H&M. Most of these are 30 to 40 second television commercials, along with videos for web-based campaigns.
The creative style is to have a spirit of fun, with the addition of an analog touch. It’s not only work on client projects, as the company has recently moved into game production as well. The company has released a 3D iPhone app, part of the company’s active moves to broaden its lineup.
While the company uses the latest IT technologies, Acne Production’s in-house communication style is based on a human, analog feeling. The main approach is face to face, not using the inhouse SNS or Intranet. Formal meetings are held once a week and once a month, with one Friday a month also reserved for a beer event. The stress on direct meeting is also part of the traditional side to the company.
It’s not only because, they say, the 80 employees in the organization are on the same floor and often have the opportunity to meet each other. It’s a style that reflects the creative power that Sweden has become, where cocreativity is encouraged and which stresses both creativity and efficiency.
One of the strengths of the company is that it is producing commercials at the rapid pace of roughly two every week. The team uses digital tools for information sharing, but software is clearly seen as just a tool in the company’s work.
Some of the desk space is in several small rooms, but the assignment is not made by division; the people who are here chose them because they like the quiet—they are free to choose the space that fits with their way of working. The producers’ and directors’chairs are the same as everyone else, as management here is not hierarchical.
There is strong respect for the individual, while also stressing the raising of awareness of everyone to join together for the creation of the one thing, and of each employee speaking their opinion without hesitation.
It does happen that too many people will become involved in a discussion, and that it sometimes becomes hard to come to a decision—but it is seen as more important that many different people with experience in the worlds of fashion, advertising, the web, film, toys and others bring a wealth of ideas to the project.
There is the feeling that, if someone said, “I’d like to do a play,” the rest of the employees would say, “Well, let’s give it a try!” It’s not that the company will invest money in every project, but if the discussion builds more and more support for the project, there will be a natural trend toward greater and greater involvement in it.
From WORKSIGHT 02（Jun.2011）
The walls are adorned with a variety of photos and paintings.
The joint kitchen for all three companies. It is also a place for light discussions and the exchange of ideas.