Ambika Pillai' s Salon
RLDA recently completed a flagship beauty salon for AmbikaPillai in New Delhi’s South Extension. Spread over 7000 square feet, the salon is identifiable as being a combination of artisanal luxury and industrial chic. Crafted out of wood and steel, wool and mirror, the salon is a combination of mezzanine and double height spaces purpose built for specific salon treatments.
The spatial sequence has been choreographed to create a user experience that rests at the confluence of art, architecture and an industrial aesthetic. Conceived together, they make for a unique user experience defined as much by formal clarity as by perceptual complexity.
The salon, is instantly recognizable by its three, poster red pods at the far end and the centrally located mezzanine, organizes the space into a series of independent and self -sustaining functional bands with powerful juxtapositions that ensure that the salon runs smoothly.
Saturated red air conditioning ducts set against a receding exposed concrete roof, interspersed with the buildings sprinkler systems, and the long linear white fluorescent lights that run consistently through the salon, visually unify the various independent functional bands below them. Alluding to an aesthetic that is more characteristic of industrial spaces and processes, the salons design in its spatial layout follows the un relentless efficiency that dictate the design of factories and industrial buildings.
The detailing here too was minimal but purposeful. The deliberate act of articulating key constructional moments in the design infuses the space with a deep sense of artisanal luxury. Crisp and exacting the architectural detail that can be found throughout the salon, speaks of the quiet self confidence that the design evokes, comfortable in its position at the junction of an architectural intervention in an otherwise non-descript space and the illustrative exuberance of the graphic work on the glass partitions and thread installation that flanks the perimeter of the salon.
The vibrant and geometrically complex woollen thread work, an installation done by the scenographer SumantJayakrishnan, the immediately comprehensible illustrations and graphic design along with the engaging spatial layout and the visual articulation of the mechanical and electrical systems created an industrial aesthetic deeply infused with an artisanal quality. Collectively, these elements rendered the space dynamic, the judicious mix of perceptual complexity and immediate comprehensibility, make for a salon that constantly stimulates the imagination.
Date of completion: 2013