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Artisanal luxury and industrial chic at Ambika Pillai Salon, New Delhi


New Delhi-based architectural practice RLDA have completed a flagship beauty salon for Ambika Pillai. Completed in late 2012, the contemporary salon can be found in New Delhi’s south extension.

Spread over 7,000 square feet the salon is identifiable as being a combination of artisanal luxury and industrial chic.  Crafted out of wood and steel, wool and mirror, the salon is a combination of mezzanine and double height spaces purpose built for specific salon treatments.

Individually varied and collectively orchestrated, through both material and planar elements, the spatial sequence has been choreographed to create a user experience that rests at the confluence of art, architecture and an industrial aesthetic.  Conceived together, they make for a unique user experience defined as much by formal clarity as by perceptual complexity.

The salon, is instantly recognisable by its three, poster red pods at the far end and the centrally located mezzanine, organizes the space into a series of independent and self-sustaining functional bands with powerful juxtapositions that ensure that the salon runs smoothly. The separate zones for services such as hair cutting, hair washing, skin and beauty treatments, along with areas for styling and make up are unified by a coherent visual and architectural vocabulary.

Saturated red air conditioning ducts set against a receding exposed concrete roof, interspersed with the buildings sprinkler systems, and the long linear white fluorescent lights that run consistently through the salon, visually unify the various independent functional bands below them.  Alluding to an aesthetic that is more characteristic of industrial spaces and processes, the salons design in its spatial layout follows the relentlessness efficiency that dictate the design of factories and industrial buildings.

Key components of the interior design  such as the metal mezzanine and partitions were pre- fabricated offsite and made from recycled material. Assembled as modules it can be dismantled and re assembled elsewhere. Old and decrepit furniture was re modelled, and where new items were needed to be constructed they were done so using environmentally responsible products. Collectively, these strategies reflect an attitude of the designers towards environmental consciousness and responsibility along with their commitment to its resource efficient and effective execution.

Images courtesy of Asif Khan

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March 1, 2013 | Property | View comments

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