WHEN A SALON EMBARKS on a new buildout or renovation, the owner, designer and architect strive to incorporate the latest and emerging trends into a space that should stand them in good stead for the next several years. In order to help you plan your prospective new spaces, SALON TODAY pulled together a trend panel of leading designer experts who reveal the latest thinking on anumber of categories.
Our Trend Watch panel includes: Dr. Leon Alexander, president of Eurisko; Howard Gurock, president of Eco-Lite Products, LLC; Carolyn Collins ,regional manager for Takara Belmont; Joe Serna, regional manager/design consultant for Belvedere USA; Blair Hopper, president/CEO of Freestyle Systems, and Lauren Summers, designer for Etopa.
ST: In the next three years, what do you predict will be the hottest trends in salon dÃ©cor in color combinations, flooring choices, wood and other finishes and chair design:
ALEXANDER: "The design should be formulated around creating a series of experiences for the consumer. Retail area furniture should be illuminated with neutral wall colors and a strong accent color at the back of the retail-like red or purple. Trends of materials must comply with durability. Stainless steel, granite, lacquered and high-end laminates lend themselves to be both durable and contemporary."
COLLINS: "For color, orange and turquoise have been very large but you are going to start to see more bright pops of color like lime green, hot pink and yellow. Neutrals will also continue to be strong. I think we'll start to see more salons going towards a painted concrete floor or acid washed concrete due to its durability. Dark wood will continue to be popular but you will start to see more zebrawood, which is already a popular trend in Europe. And for chairs, the lounge style or throwback retro styles will continue to gain popularity."
SERNA: "As we come out of a long recession, people will be searching for brighter lifestyles. Lighter colors are fresh, happy and optimistic. In flooring, porcelain commercial tile floor has and still is the best value in flooring. Low maintenance with longevity cannot be beat. Darker brown woods have been around fora number of years and the trend is beginning to grow into lighter, yet deep colored woods such as walnuts and teaks. The styling chair is one of the main tools of the stylist. What we see now and in the coming years is a refocus on quality and more attention to functionality and durability, rather than looks and low price. The professional stylist is looking for a chair that functions in height, width and lumbar support."
SUMMERS: "I think we will see an increase in the âvintage glam' style-where contemporary meets boutique! This consists of white or neutral walls with a strong accent color such as black,turquoise or Kelly green. Rather than using paint on every wall, pick one and create a focal point by using a wall covering with a damask pattern or large floral print in your accent color of choice.Wood floors continue to stay in style. I think a dark stain really creates a beautiful contrast with lighter walls and does a better job at hiding any spills that might occur. The trend with wood for cabinets and stations go from one extreme to the other. It is either a really dark, almost black, stainor a solid white finish. "
ST: What emerging service trendsare changing the way you design salons and spas?
GUROCK: "We've seen a dramatic increase in the number of salons building treatment rooms and this is a trend that is going to continue as it's an added source of revenue. The trend forced us to engineer LED lighting that is task specific such as special LED lights for waxing rooms and soothing dimmable LEDs for massage rooms."
SUMMERS: "For a brief moment in time, treatment rooms were not as popular, but this has recently changed-they are making a comeback!I've been asked quite a bit lately to provide private or "VIP" rooms that can be used for wig services or for men's color application in a female-dominated salon. Instead of doing an oversized room for couple's services, we are doing standard rooms that can open up with pocket doors to create a couple's room. Thisis an efficient way to utilize valuable square footage and still be able to offer a package for couples on the spa menu. Probably the biggest increase in demand is for portable stations and mirrors. Salon owners definitely want the abilityto adapt their spaces for different needs."
ALEXANDER: "The industry has gone through a period that has affected the spa business more than any other service. The $100+ service ina private room has been most affected. I see a trend that is both affordable for the consumer and will contribute to a higher average ticket for the salon. The express facial bar is performed in the open as it's a non-private collection of services priced from $25 to $95 and takes from15 minutes to an hour."
COLLINS: "I think over the next few years you will start to see businesses that have a spa focus, focus more on couples' treatments and salons that do well with hair services will continue to expand in that direction. I do think with breast cancer awareness becoming so large and hair extensions taking off you will start to see more private areas for wig service and hair replacement."
SERNA: "Flexible space is always a good idea, and as more salons realize the importance ofcontinued education for their stylist, we will be seeing more interior design with spaces that can be converted to classrooms, staff meetings,and yes, parties of all kinds which can help promote the salon with charity events, openhouses, client appreciation nights, etc."
ST: How are owners continuing to improve productivity in their salon?
SERNA: "The biggest and most significant change I have seen in the last few years is moving from the appointment book to computerized systems. The use of apps is revolutionizing this area and more stylists are booking appointments with their iPads, iPhones, and Droids."
ALEXANDER: "The trend is to design the salon by using the majority of square footage around the most profitable services. Retail, cutting and colorare the three areas that deserve the greatest space investment. The space should not be just designed for today, but with the future and growth in mind."
SUMMERS: "What I am seeing is that nail servicesseem to be the least profitable right now. Owners still want to offer these on their menu, but they are doing so in a more efficient way. Therefore, the use of portable manicure tables is becoming popular.For pedicures, I am seeing a lot more bench seating with large bowls that can be filled and brought to the guest. These are typically located in relaxation areas so they can serve as guest seating when notin use. So, instead of having designated nail rooms to bring guests to, salon owners are bringing the services to their guests!"
ST: What trends are you observing in artwork?
SERNA: "Large graphics are what's hot at the moment. Also, photography that promotes what the salon is good at. Stylists should be in business to promote their own hair art, not someone'scolor-by-number or finger-painting skills!"
SUMMERS: "A lot of functional items in the space are pulling double duty as the artwork. Elaborate light fixtures can become focal points. Changing up wall and ceiling heights can create visual interest. Rather than cluttering up a wall with framed artwork, make the wall itself the artwork."
ST: What creative things are you seeing owners do to incorporate their branding into their design?
SERNA: "We see more salons advertising and promoting their names not just in bags or menus anymore, but in color bars, retail areas and upholstery. Belvedere offers the option of embroidering the salon name or logo on someof their best-selling styling chairs."
GUROCK: "Many owners are putting their logo or salon name on a wall behind the reception desk and then focusing light similar to a spotlight on it so that it really stands out and gets noticed from both inside and outside the salon. We are seeing a trend towards having that spotlight on the logo illuminated 24/7 so no matter what time someone is traveling past the salon the name/logo is seen. This is a smart and inexpensiveway to market the salon."
SUMMERS: "I recently did a salon that put their logo in the tile flooring of the circular hallway leading into the spa. It created a very dramatic look and was a clever way to show their brand. "
ST: What is on the horizon in lighting?
GUROCK: "We've seen great advances in LED lighting technology over the past 18 months and those advances are going to continue to the point where we will be able to deliver more light power at greater distances without compromising energy efficiency or color quality. Our current 18W LED is the equivalent to 75-90Wof Halogen lighting power while delivering superior tone and color."
"The technology that has the best chance of becoming mainstream is OLEDs. These areorganic light emitting diodes. Unlike LEDs,OLED's are extremely thin organic compounds that could turn an entire wall or ceiling into alight. The more probable use of OLEDs in the near future will be in the decorative aspect as light panels using OLEDs will be able to be bent or shaped while emitting a glow of light.The trend that will definitely continue to grow is the movement towards energy efficiency. More and more salons are understanding the benefits of replacing inefficient lighting with technologically advanced LEDs and we are confident that we will not see any slowing in the advancement of that movement."
HOPPER: "The trend is to build a clean, neat professional salon, which is wonderfully lit to show off the color work. The "Full Spectrum"LED lighting is rapidly replacing the "greentinted" fluorescent lighting and the "red tinted"halogen and incandescent lighting. Our SalonDesign Department has been mixing the 3400-3500 Kelvin Spectralights SL4000 LED lights over the color bar and cutting stations so that the hair stylists can see their work in "sunlight"type light. The rest of the salon will be lit withless expensive fluorescent or HID lights. We are recommending light-colored walls that help reflect light, thereby reducing shadows and increasing the overall light in the salon. Eliminating the incandescent and halogen lights are going to save salons on their electricbills. Just 5 percent of the electricity used to operate a standard light bulb produces visiblelight, while the remaining 95 percent generates wasted energy in the form of heat."
ST: How will trends such as hanging dryer systems continue to evolve?
HOPPER: "Cleaning up the workstation is going to have a huge impact on the salon'sappearance. Salons are used to having a rat'snest of unsightly cords on the floor that collect dirt, dust and hair. Untangling and trippingover cords are a thing of the past in many newsalons that have adopted Freestyle System'ssuspended blow dryer systems. The stationsare pristine and professional looking."