Located on 211 1⁄2 South La Brea in Los Angeles, STARRING by Ted Gibson is the first “smart salon”. Designed by Francisco Gonzalez Pulido, head of Chicago-based architecture firm FGP Atelier, STARRING challenges and reshapes the idea behind the traditional salon with the integration of smart-home technology into the fabric of the design.
The idea behind the salon was to reinvent the largely outdated hair and beauty industry to provide a new type of customer experience. STARRING is the culmination of a creative vision to give customers unprecedented luxury and a multidimensional smart-salon concept.
Francisco comments: “With STARRING, the mission was to create a state-of-the-art salon that merged cutting-edge technology with an unrivalled client experience. The idea was to reinvent and reimagine the salon of the future, before the industry even caught on that it was behind.”
Reimagining stylist chairs
Alexa-enabled technology has been integrated into the design of the 102m² open-plan salon. Instead of traditional stylist chairs, five individual pods were designed. The design of the pods is cloud-like and whimsical, as they were inspired by the idea of voluminous hair blowing in the wind.
Each pod is private and has carefully layered LED lights in the ululating waves of the pod. This lighting allows the stylist and customer to see their hair colour and style in different lighting options such as “indoors”, “moonlight” and “everyday sunshine”.
Each pod also incorporates smart-home speakers for personalised entertainment and music options that the user can select via an Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet.
A different type of salon reception area
A black-and-white palette was chosen for the interior’s design. Francisco chose these colours to serve as a sort of gallery-like stage for the stylists’ work. An elegant entertainment lounge welcomes guests and in lieu of a reception desk, the salon is voice-activated through Amazon Alexa.
The salon is entirely cashless. Instead of the traditional product-laden shelves, STARRING has interactive window displays where customers can scan SmileCodes using the Amazon App on their cellphones. All purchased items are then delivered to each customer’s doorstep, with the convenience of auto-renewal subscriptions. Passers-by of the salon can also purchase products from outside, as the exterior glass facade of the salon serves as a giant barcode.
Every aspect of the salon caters for a futurist mindset, yielding a different type of experience that is perfect for today’s necessary Instagrammable moments. The salon serves as an archetype for future salons by advocating intimate, personalised experiences that are driven by technology and takes pressure off the art of the sale.