ZURICH – When sculpting a salon on Zurich’s bustling Talstraße, Wülser Bechtel Architekten took note of the site-specific soundtrack – both indoors and out. ‘There was obviously a huge difference in mood from the hectic, noisy street outside to the laidback music and repetitive sound of high-quality scissors inside,’ says Stefan Wülser. ‘It seems that time passes in different tempi.’
Since the brief called for a space that helps salon-goers escape their daily obligations once they take a seat, the architects saw the clamour outside as a distraction. But unwilling to neglect the surroundings, they sought out a specific solution they describe as simultaneously ‘unhasty and intricate’ – a series of panels that produce an ever-changing pattern as you move through the space. As customers spend between one and three hours in the salon, the pattern ‘unfolds its rich variations when you change the direction of view,’ says Wülser. ‘Motorists and pedestrians see the ceiling almost “transform” as they pass by quickly because the angle of view changes more drastically.’
Inspired by stage sets ala Roman Clemens and contemporary graphic art by the likes of Emilie Ding, the architects collaborated with a local carpenter on an elaborate series of prototypes before arriving at the final design. Made predominantly from wood, the interior was partly prefabricated but also incorporates handcraft. As all eyes are on this aspect of the space, other elements are stripped back to a minimum.