Arch Studio turns a Chinese nail salon into a sybaritic sanctum

BEIJING – Spiral forms are deeply rooted in nature and architecture, and Beijing-based Arch Studio made inventive use of the concept in its design for the Lily Nails Salon. The goal was to rebrand a popular chain of nail and eyelash outlets with the opening of a prestigious flagship in the capital’s Yau Tang Shopping Centre. Han Wenqiang, who founded Arch Studio in 2010, has done several creative adaptations of old buildings in Beijing and other cities; here, he and his team turned a raw 66-m2 store into a sybaritic retreat. A curved wall of white perforated steel plate conceals an inner sanctum, with nothing but the logo at its base to indicate what lies beyond.

On one side is a living wall; on the other, an expanse of perforated steel is cut away to reveal display shelves and frame the reception desk. Stone pavers lead over a ‘moat’ of gravel to a shimmering white interior featuring epoxy floors and an LED-lit steel spiral overhead. Pairs of white armchairs face inwards on three sides to encourage clients to socialize while being pampered. Service areas are hidden behind a curved inner wall that incorporates an archway designed to showcase the vertical garden. The dramatic contrast of organic and sharp geometries – and of green and white – enhances the user’s experience, while vials of nail varnish pop out from a wall opposite the seating area like brightly coloured mosaics. 

Photo Jin Wei-Qi


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