Visitors to a nail parlour in Mexico get swept away by a cascading parade of colour

ZAPOPAN – Last September, Nail It beauty bar opened the doors to its second location in Zapopan, Mexico. Designed by Guadalajara-based outfit Estudio Ala, the nail salon's open-plan interior is divided into two visual strata. At eye level, the 85-sq-m floor is completely white, seamed only slightly by the crisp forms of its pearly furnishings. Overhead, coloured rods rain from the ceiling in a saturated ombre of pink, purple, aquamarine and blue that appears to shift as one passes. No fewer than 7,000 recycled broomsticks – all damaged during production – were mounted on the ceiling using eyebolts at 8-mm intervals, which fasten the sticks to OSB panels. Underneath, the whiteness serves as a blank backdrop against which clients are under no external influence to select polish colours and nail art.

Estudio Ala's designs are site-specific, but also universally accessible. Here, they create a thirst for colour in clients, guiding them through a vast palette of options while leaving room to pick the perfect varnish from among them. The designers chose four ceiling colours that start with warm pink and move into cooler hues. 'We wanted to avoid colour stereotypes,' explains industrial designer Armida Fernández, who founded the multidisciplinary studio with architect Luis Enrique Flores. ‘The associations depend on the context, the use of space and the story transmitted by the concept. We wanted to speak of something extremely universal and powerful.'

This article first debuted in Frame 110. What else is there? Find out in the May-June issue on retail.

Photos César Béjar

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