Salon of the Year

First Runner Up: Akari

July 10, 2011 | 2:38 PM
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FIRST RUNNER UP: Akari Portland, Maine Owner: Allan Labos Salon established: October 2007 Opening after remodel: Introduced new areas through open houses in May and December 2009. Salon style: urban, sleek Square footage: 14,000 Number of styling stations: 24 Number of spa treatment rooms: 12 Equipment: Takara Belmont Furniture: Malletti Group/R.G. Shakour Inc. Total design investment: $119,400 Top retail lines (hair care): Oribe, Bumble and Bumble, Kerastase Top retail line (hair color): Goldwell Design by: In-house Architects: Whipple Callender Architects
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Judges’ Comments: “Love how the space has a vintage vibe while also feeling very clean.”—Nelson
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“Use of all-white decor works incredibly well with the architecture and design aesthetic of this vast space. I want to live and work here!”—Higby
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“I love the different uses of materials throughout the salon and spa, such as rustic brick, stainless steel, hardwood, and colored glass. It is inspiring and close to a work of art itself.”—Faries
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LLAN LABOS likens his transformation of a historic bank building in downtown Portland, Maine, to the sleek Akari salon and spa as an excavation project. “Over the years, renovations by previous tenants obscured the historical character and integrity of the building’s interior space,” he explains. “We didn’t really have a clear concept of the remodel until we were well into demolition, and we just kept uncovering all the period details.”

From exposing brick walls and mosaic flooring to utilizing the original bank vaults as mixing and storage rooms, Labos tried to keep the character and integrity of the building’s interior space. “We have evolved from a small hair salon into something much greater. This building is now a true destination for clients who seek superior results in wellness, beauty and style,” he says.

With this latest in three years’ worth of renovations, Labos added a medi-spa, nail area and an extended color department to Akari. Today, Akari’s roughly 22,000-square-feet of space includes large treatment rooms, training facilities, corporate offices, a licensed kitchen and a variety of waiting areas in which clients can lounge and relax.

For Akari, the changes just keep coming. Labos is currently planning the development of a 2,000-square-foot fitness center, which he hopes to complete in the next six months. “For our staff, the renovations create new energy, which boosts morale and keeps them engaged in their work. It’s also an excellent point of conversation with clients old and new,” says Labos.

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