Why an architect used Amazon’s Alexa to build a smart salon in LA
‘The idea was to reinvent and reimagine the [hair] salon of the future before the industry even caught on that it was behind.’ Francisco Gonzalez-Pulido of FGP Atelier is talking about his design of Los Angeles-based Starring by Ted Gibson, branded as the world’s first tech-powered hairdressing studio. The architect integrated Amazon’s voice-activated Alexa system into the service and retail design to establish a smart, intuitive and ‘unrivalled’ client experience.
To begin, the design team eliminated the first step of any hair appointment: clients check in verbally with the omnipresent Alexa, enabling the space typically reserved for a reception area to become an entertainment lounge. They then make their way to one of five individual pods – Gonzalez-Pulido’s abandonment of traditional stylist chairs in favour of privacy. The undulating layers lining each pod incorporate coloured LED lighting, which users and stylists can customize to their preferred ambience. It’s not just the look that can be personalized either: the five zones are equipped with smart home speakers and Amazon Fire HD 10 tablets so that music and entertainment can be easily toggled.
Streamlining the retail experience was equally crucial. The salon is entirely cashless: if clients wish to purchase a product, they’re not directed to product-laden shelves. Instead, they can head to interactive window displays and scan Amazon-branded QR codes using the mobile Amazon app. Orders are placed seamlessly and scheduled for home delivery. Taking convenience to the next level is the glass façade, whose design allows customers to scan codes and order products without stepping foot inside the salon.
‘Every aspect of the salon was thoughtfully addressed to cater to a futurist mindset,’ says a spokesperson for FGP Atelier, ‘yielding a radically different experience perfect for today’s necessary Instagrammable moments.’