6 SALON (Detroit) is the third location for this client, the first dating back to 2003. Each salon location is conceived as a distinct social experience seeking to focus and amplify the relationship between the hairdresser and their client. The primary experience is distilled into the suspended stainless steel frame that integrates the mirror, lighting, and power. This bespoke armature keeps all other non-essential elements from encroaching on the sacred social space created around the chair.
Nestled within a block of century-old commercial buildings on Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit, the overall spatial sequence is designed to foreground the styling area to passersby on Woodward. Floor-to-ceiling storefront windows, attuned to the classical rhythms of the building’s facade, create a unique urban experience. From the exterior, the salon’s circulation space appears as a lateral extension of the sidewalk. From the interior, the happenings of the streetscape are pulled directly into the interior of the salon.
Upon entering, clients receive an additional unobstructed view into the salon while within the glass-enclosed vestibule before transitioning into an extended corridor that visually screens the adjacent activity. This threshold between city and salon pulls clients deep into the space, allows them to acclimate to the sounds and energy of the salon, and balances the immediacy of the sidewalk encounter.
Punctuated by original cast-iron columns of the building (which date back to the 1880s), the corridor leads to the reception desk, positioned at the rear of the salon’s public spaces. Upon checking in, clients are now set at the opposite end of where they began, looking through the styling area, and back out onto the street. Upon leaving, the sequence works in reverse.
The stainless steel stations are custom designed by the architect and fabricated locally by talented metalsmiths. The design of the salon stations has subtly evolved in order to adapt to each of the locations, and while they are completely recyclable, the stations are exceptionally durable, stain-proof, at times invisible, and intended to last a lifetime.
Support areas flank the primary client space and are demarcated by walls clad with natural slate tile. The color and texture of the stone-clad walls and the shifted ceiling planes anchor these zones and also serve as a weighty counterpoint to the elements that are deftly suspended from the ceiling or delicately extended across the floor. The limited material palette, the interplay of light and dark, and the subtractive and additive assemblies are deliberate and intended to provide an array of experiences, from social and energetic to private and calming.
SPECS — BUILT Location: Detroit, Michigan Site characteristics: Existing retail storefront Area: 3,900 sq.ft. Construction cost: withheld at owner's request Completion date: October 2019