salons of the year 2010

Third Runner Up: Voce

LOCATED ON A QUIET, quaint street in an upscale residential section of Lexington, Kentucky, Voce salon allows for the transcendental feeling of a being in a different place. Frosted glass windows close out the world, and one of the most common comments heard from clients is how they feel they’re, “Not in Lexington anymore.”As a result, owner Michael G. Binion says Voce has become a destination spot. “People want to see what all is going on as the word spreads about the space-age features incorporated into the salon’s equipment and furniture and the boutique’s over-the-top chandelier.”The boutique addition to the salon was an intentional effort to increase profitability. “Clients love to shop before and/or after their hair appointment or while waiting for their color to process,” says Binion.Voce also prides itself in its state-ofthe art salon equipment. The salon’s color processors are near the chairs so clients do not have to move their things to a different part of the salon and staff are not waiting to use a processor. “Staff love the equipment and are motivated to do better work, to serve better and therefore customers want to return,” says Binion.Another highlight is the salon’s Lutron System, a lighting system that gives the ambience of glittering stars cascading down. All lights in the salon automatically change levels at dusk and dawn to save energy.To celebrate its design, Voce held a huge opening gala in which they invited every client on their mailing list, the local media, and all the “movers and shakers” of Lexington. The catered event was a success as hundreds of guests surveyed the new salon and shopped in the boutique. “There is nothing like our design in this city,” says Binion.

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Second Runner Up: Vasken Demirjian Salon

A SIMPLE SHEET OF clean, white paper inspired the overall look of the Vasken Demirjian Salon, located in the Trump Condominium in White Plains, New York. For designer Katerina Soukhopalova and architect Maren Sostmann, the challenge was to not “over-design” the space.Owner Vasken Demirjian’s vision was to make the design of the salon an extension and compilation of all the design elements that transcend beauty: fashion, art, architecture and design, hair artistry, and individuality in style. “I love architecture, so the salon is very sleek and clean, with the feeling of a fresh palette. It’s the perfect backdrop to showcase our work,” he says.Upon entering the salon, a noticeable feature to clients is the suspended ceiling grid, which is composed of an elaborate three-dimensional installation of thousands of tubular lampshades. The uneven surface of these lampshades disburses sound through the openings and acts as a sound buffer, which minimizes the usual salon noise. In contrast to the overall white palette, oversized “Valentino” red cylinders made from imported linen are suspended above each styling station. The red accent throughout the salon serves as a unifying element that extends through the salon’s stationary and promotional materials as part of the Vasken Demirjian brand.Most of the salon’s surfaces, including all of its custom-built stations, the reception desk and the stylists’ cubes were crafted from white Corian with red Corian accents. The flooring is made from imported, commercial-grade porcelain tiles from Spain, which creates an appearance of a metallic grid. “The salon’s location, design and ambiance are exclusively fine-tuned in order to amplify the salon experience while creating an ultimate workshop for the artistry of hair,” says Demirjian.

First Runner Up: Akari

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.

Grand Prize Winner: Bangz Salon

AS THE SAYING GOES, “Good things come to those who wait,” and for our 2010 SALONS OF THE YEAR grandprize winner, that waiting period was more than 30 months. With tremendous vision and more than $3 million, Dominick Sansevero and Richard Cronk transformed a 19th century Masonic temple in Montclair, New Jersey, into Bangz Salon and Wellness Spa— preserving the historical authenticity of the space while creating a contemporary sanctuary for clientele.Since the owners were restricted from altering the footprint of the building, or changing its stained glass, intricate masonry or slate roof, the only option for gaining more space was to build down, literally excavating 22 tons of dirt from the basement and underpinning the entire foundation. Through this yearlong process, the owners increased the head clearance from 3 feet to 10 feet, making way for their grotto-inspired wellness spa.“Building it right was more important than saving money and cutting corners,” says Cronk. “Even though we took the tougher road by opting to tell our contractors to ‘build it to last,’ our decisions will echo to every client that we spared no cost in making their Bangz experience something special.” As a result, the salon already has been recognized by the Victorian Society of America and the Montclair Historical Society.The building’s 40-foot high, stainedglass windows were meticulously restored to their original brilliance. Today, these three pieces tower over the main floor, drawing visitors’ eyes up to the impressive wooden vaulted ceiling. “Midday, the salon becomes a spiritual experience with the sunlight beaming through the stained glass into our bustling salon,” says Sansevero.While the owners spared no expense in preserving the historic space, they also paid homage to the future by incorporating eco-friendly materials and technology. The salon’s main cutting floor boasts a floating bamboo floor, a renewable resource that is glued to ¾" of recycled rubber to provide comfort to styli

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