Lumière Salon began with a corner storefront space in downcity, Providence. The salon required several programmed areas with key functional concerns including privacy, lighting and spatial continuity. The clients wanted a distinctive image and requested that a crown be part of the image for their new salon. As one of the co-owners said, “Hair is your crowning glory.” We took the generous scale, openness and residual character as challenges and opportunities. Retaining the qualities of the existing open space, its seventeen foot high ceiling, and two full elevations of glass storefront, conflicted with the need for areas of varying degrees of privacy. A strategy was developed to transform the perimeter of the space into a semi-permeable screen and to develop a layered spatial organization similar to a forest…the further you penetrate the space, the greater degree of privacy you experience.
8,000 copper rods hang from ceiling to floor, lining the interior of the glass storefront, forming a luminous scrim. This scrim creates a distinctive image for the salon from the exterior while acting as a delicate screen between the public street-scape and private layered space within. During the day, while the salon is open for business and the light is stronger outside, one can see more easily from inside to the outside than from the outside in; affording a certain degree of privacy for the clients. At night, while the salon in not in use, the copper screen is essentially transparent, allowing one to see through the depth of the space. From a distant vantage point, the copper screen glows like a fire or a luminous corona.
This “crown” continues along the space’s interior perimeter, as lines of light glowing through a full height seventy foot long mirror wall. The effect is achieved by backlighting and removing the mirror’s silvering in an arrangement of thin vertical stripes. On the back wall, light emanates through the folds of fabric that shape the manicure and pedicure alcoves. Fabric was selected for its ability to both create a softened enclosure and to baffle sound.
The spatial organization was developed to functionally orchestrate the sequence for the stylist and client and to create a layered space of carefully placed elements that screen, transmit or reflect light and view. Glass and cherry-wood shelving display products, define the reception and waiting area, and create a translucent screen between the clients at the styling stations and visitors who are just arriving. Double-sided mirrored styling stations, (also designed by us), are arranged diagonally across the plan, and “grain” the space. A free standing cherry wood “wedge” holds the bathroom, changing room, storage, and barista while also defining the more private area for hair washing.
Collectively, all the space defining elements increase the perceptual depth between inside and outside and thereby increase the graduation between public and private. The layered space and mirrored wall and stations establish discreet views and a kind of anonymous intimacy that is very urbane. Life on the street is included in the experience of the salon and the salon ritual is part of the life of the city. In this way, Lumière Salon revitalizes by including the city as part of its architecture. The general contractor was Case Construction.