Steel light fixtures, clear PVC curtains, and pulley-hung mirrors give this Japanese barber shop by Schemata Architects the feel of an industrial warehouse.
Called LIM, the salon is located in the Shinsaibashi district of Osaka and occupies a vast retail space of 563 square meters with an open-plan layout punctuated by exposed concrete columns and beams.
“Our client explained to us that the name LIM is derived from ‘less is more’ – a famous quote from modernist architect Mies van der Rohe,” said Schematic architects, which is headed by Jo Nagasaka.
“For us architects, the maestro’s words are like a sacred mantra that we feel too embarrassed to even mention. But the client unexpectedly suggested it to us as a theme.”
Working on a tight budget, the studio modified standard steel storage units with iridescent zinc-nickel plating and used them to create all of the living room accessories.
Large rectangular mirrors on a ceiling mounted pulley system create flexible individual styling stations. Mirrors also serve as room dividers that can be easily moved to free up the large space for events.
Schemata Architects used plastic strip curtains, which are more commonly found in industrial buildings such as warehouses and factories, to divide the front and back of the house.
“We have created a space where people can experience the most refreshing and largest space in Kansai,” said the Tokyo-based company.
A second, smaller lounge called Loji sits at the back of the LIM space and offers cutting edge services at low prices.
“It’s a springboard for young stylists,” said the firm. “Those who win young clients there and hone their professional skills there will move on to LIM. “
The Loji space, which is made up of two banks of styling stations, uses the same standard storage devices as LIM but without the zinc-nickel plating, leaving their original seafoam green finish exposed.
This creates both visual consistency and distinction between the two salons while saving on costs.
Also in Osaka, but on a much smaller scale, is this 59-square-meter beauty salon by design studio Sides Core. Wedged in a narrow site between two buildings, the architects created a narrow and clever floor plan, which makes the most of its slender proportions.
The photograph is by Takumi Ota.