Paris – Snuggled between the Voltaire and Breguet-Sabin metro stations, Rue Popincourt sits pretty in the heart of Paris’ 11th arrondissement. Close to popular restaurants and nightlife hot spots in neighbouring districts Bastille and Le Marais, the street sees its fair share of foot traffic and hubbub. Now, it’s home to a hair-salon-cum-cultural-space called Les Dada East that’s complete with a ‘forested’ architectural experience within.
Why, you may ask, would a salon concern itself with offering anything more than exceptional follicular attention? Owner Edoardo Seghi brought on Joshua Florquin Architecture to tie their eco-minded philosophy with the spirit of the space that also serves to host art exhibitions and openings. Wanting a multi-functional, inviting place that would embrace worn-out Parisians sorely in need of some détente, they decided to double down on biophilic design: aside from paying attention to the plant palette that would define the space, a wall-and-ceiling element was built to conjure up the sensation of walking through the forest.
A panoptic view from the outside gives pedestrians a reason to stop and let their eyes wander to the 238 lamellae sculpted from pine wood to emulate the form of tree trunks and branches. Lighting is integrated within, causing soft rays to pierce through as it does in nature. The matrix also gives way to a shelving system used to display salon products and forest undergrowth plants such as ivy and ferns that sprawl towards the light.
The incorporation of natural elements – both literal and referential – in Les Dada East is yet another piece of evidence of the potency that biophilic design in spaces has. In this case, it aided Joshua Florquin Architecture in helping a client convey the multi-functionality of a space often assumed to serve only one purpose. After all, many urbanites don’t require blowouts on the day to day, but most can benefit from the pros of a little ‘fresh air’ – even if it’s manufactured through design.