Your idea of a minimalist hair salon gets a trim

Kyoto – A few weeks ago we featured a group of newly opened hair salons around the world, from Nagoya to Belluno, that boldly pushed outwards the confines of what spatial design could look like for that retail category.

And then came Flux.

To say that Sides Core pushed inwards is an understatement. For this project, the Osaka-based duo trimmed down the elements normally associated with a hairdresser’s parlour. Take, for example, the large mirrors: instead of the expected frontal view panel, they went for pieces suspended from the ceiling on all sides, providing stylists with an undisturbed line of sight and the client with a live view of the haircutting process. The most important aspect, as Sumiko and Sohei Arao stated, was ‘avoiding a vanity-like feel. We designed a mirror that emphasises how the reflected image brings the space together, rather than just being an object in the space.’

Speaking of which, the spot’s former tenant was a car showroom, so Sides Core inherited floor-to-ceiling curved windows that opened onto the main road on the south side, near the Kyoto Station. That element also directed the airy, open, stripped down angle of the proposal. ‘The space is designed to show a different perspective and different settings as you progress deeper into it,’ Sumiko Arao explained. That means there are just a few key visual dividers throughout the 150 sq-m location, such as a box-shaped shampoo area in the centre and an open book-shaped mirror that provides two client seats on the outside.

In other words, there is basically nothing there to distract from the movements that run from the stylist’s hand to the client’s hair, and that was indeed part of the brief: the owner of Flux wanted the salon to be ‘like a stage for skilled staff to give their performances, a space that flows and never stands still.’ As consumers demand increasingly complex experiences even in their most minute everyday retail interactions, having a space that strongly brings back the focus to the basic manual interaction between the service provider and the client is a provoking alternative. Who knew getting a trim could look so good?

Location Sky House 2F, 470 Zaimokucho, Kawaramachi Nishi-iru, Nanajo-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

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