With personalities as distinct and in depth as the clientele they serve, the salons listed here take the self-care experience to heart, knowing deep down that a little bit of mind body nourishment is a valuable commodity today.
iO Beauty Gallery
Residing in Moscow’s Khamovniki district, iO Beauty Gallery’s sophisticated and minimalist design comes courtesy of local and New York studio Asthetíque. Gradient glass, brass accents, fine ceramics, oak paneling, precious stones, and bas relief plaster shapes on walls (of leaves and female figures) offer an organic design celebrating the female form in juxtaposition to the area’s Brutalist architecture.
“We designed the [salon] to be soft and curvaceous,” says Asthetíque managing partner Julien Albertini. Sinuous moss-green banquettes flow to micro-cement walls, the natural materials and color palettes contributing to a calming ambience throughout the space. Then, in the upper spaces, light-diffusing, organically shaped blades recall clouds that float from the ceiling.
It’s that curve motif that is so striking in its subtlety, “powerful, yet serene and calming.” Once more it appears in the stair railing’s ripple effect, the rounded velvet furniture and undulating walls, again, each and every one of them paying respect to the strength and movement of women.
“Self-care sometimes takes a backseat because of work, children, stress, etc.,” Albertini says. “We believe that you should find a place in which you are drawn back in.”
Brittany Barnes had a vision for a salon dedicated to women with textured hair, and to make that a reality, she teamed up with Susan and Ben Work of the firm Homework. From there the Works took her brand and color story and transformed it into a place where women can “luxuriate in comfort, style, and community,” says Susan.
They wanted the space to “empower femininity and elevate the ritual of self-care,” according to Ben. The 1,400-square-foot salon is designed for these moments throughout, blush pink, emerald and gold intermingling with archways and curving millwork that adds a tremendous sense of grandeur to the space.
Of course, lighting also place a crucial role. Dimmable LEDs tucked behind the mirrors bounce light off the painted wood to generate a soft, even glow.
“This is a modern-day beauty salon for women with specifically textured hair—a demographic that is largely underrepresented in the beauty space, yet are the biggest spenders on beauty products,” Susan points out. “Representation matters, and we wanted this space to be comfortable and inviting, like you are someplace uplifting.”
Nestled in the Cobble Hill neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York, the latest outpost from Shen Beauty offers respite from the from the overwhelming supply of larger competitors. But beyond retail, Shen Beauty is home to four treatment rooms, a full-service makeup and brow bar, and a rear event space dedicated to exclusive programming.
“There’s a lot of tired tropes of what a beauty store looks like, what a beauty brand looks like, what things marketed toward women look like,” says Ted Galperin, partner and director of retail for Mythology, who the Shen team enlisted in the design of the new studio. “We wanted to do something that felt a little fresh.”
Baltic birch establishes a humble, uniform backdrop for extensive product displays and utilitarian flooring whose subtle angles naturally guide shoppers toward displays and away from service stations. Large storefront windows also infuse ample daylight, while full-length “glamcore” mirrors and gender-neutral abstract portraits colorfully soften surfaces as they amplify the brand’s inclusive new vision of beauty.
Ego Hair Salon
At the Ego Hair Salon in Beijing, locally based firm IS Architecture & Design drew inspiration from the Space Age to create an abstract environment with forms that reference the cosmos and earth and make an experience distinct from the conventional salon visit.
“These two ideal worlds that seem to be alternative in reality, in their figurative aspects, have formal elements that unite them,” says the firm’s founder Fabrizio Gurrado. “They both prefer rounded shapes and use colors that are reminiscent of nature, and they both use organic organizational systems.”
Originally home to a gym, the floorplan was adapted to convey an openness representative of, as Gurrado puts it, a “diffused enthusiasm and faith for the new era.” Greenery, including palms and cacti, populate the interior, complementing the avocado green hue that decks Ego Hair Salon’s walls and ceilings. “In this project, we opted to propose a world of the future in which artifice and nature coexist in a serene and clean balance,” he adds.
Another version of this article previously appeared on Hospitality Design.