We have recently completed the design of Elfin Kids Cuts, a hair salon located in San Diego, California. This project allowed us to revisit our love for color and the enchanting fantasies of our childhood. Working on a children’s hair salon presented a unique challenge, as playfulness and visual engagement took precedence over elegance and sophistication.
Our goal was to create a design that would make children excited about visiting the salon, keep them engaged, and fulfill their desire to play and imitate the grown-ups.
We envisioned a well-lit interior with ample open space for easy traffic. We incorporated furniture and accents in bold primary colors, complemented by shades of pink, purple and various pastels. Despite this ambitious chromatic treatment, the final result is an airy and luminous interior, thanks to the generous use of white and light colors in the floor, wall and ceiling finishes, as well as the inclusion of reflective materials that enhance the light.
The front desk area offers a first glimpse of the salon’s playful character. A large window floods the room with natural light, and pendants and chandeliers provide additional layers of illumination. The water-ripple metal finish of the front desk captures and reflects this light, offering a pleasant visual respite in an interior filled with colors and details.
While this area maintains control over the color palette, it compensates by incorporating a variety of textures, from the tiled wall to the upholstered bench in the corner and the flowing textile drapery.
A large mural depicting an idyllic scene with blue skies, lush vegetation and colorful air balloons welcomes visitors as soon as they enter the salon. A green grass carpet introduces a 3D element into the mix, creating the impression that the landscape is extending into the room, and adding extra depth to it.
The shapes in this room are simple and unsophisticated, from the round stools and scalloped ceiling panels to the curved tubular construction of the chandeliers. This simplicity of form, combined with the absence of patterns, creates an interior reminiscent of kids’ playrooms and is well-suited to children’s tastes.
The placement of the pendants between the ceiling panels contributes to the layered look and brings the “cloud” configuration to life through a simple interplay of lights and shadows. This is the first visual sign that what the salon offers is an incursion into a fantasy world that wants to be explored.
The rest of the salon is divided into functional areas dedicated to boys’ and girls’ tastes and interests. The first area is populated with Spiderman and car-shaped chairs placed in front of TVs to entertain the children while they have their hair cut. Large enclosed display shelves take the shape of multicolored building blocks, creating the impression that a playful hand has just finished assembling them into toy castles. Large mirrors positioned above the TVs open up the space and amplify the colors while softening the appearance of the counters.
We maximized the space by placing two chairs on each side of each free-standing counter while keeping the space as open and uncrowded as possible.
Behind a pair of heavy pink curtains, dressing up an elegant curved entry frame, the girls’ area provides a distinct change in tone. This is the place where little girls are pampered just like their grown-up mothers. The elegant counters and vanity lights maintain a simple shape, which keeps the area airy and light. The dominant color is pale pink, with rainbow pastel stripes on the front wall.
Soffits, rectangular panels, and a combination of canister lighting, chandeliers and pendant lights create a rich ceiling landscape that compensates for the simplicity of the interior. The large floor-to-ceiling window lets in a generous amount of light, contributing to the happy vibes of the space. Positioned against a large butterfly mural, completed with an oversized logo, two pedicure chairs continue the pink theme.
A third area is furnished with sinks placed upon water-ripple metal wall panels that extend from floor to ceiling. White wall and ceiling tiles, combined with this reflective surface, create a luminous space. In the corner, an arcade machine keeps children engaged and serves as a motivating factor for client returns.
The Elfin Kids hair salon is a charming example of the power of color to create an interior that can be both energizing and relaxing. Even when it steps away from intricate patterns and flamboyant details, the salon offers a highly dynamic visual experience in which there is always something new to discover.
Of course, the selection of finishes and accent pieces has something to do with it. While the backround is mainly neutral, its details manage to be both subtle and rich, creating visual interest without overcrowding the space. Elfin Kids is a place where kids want to be and parents are ready to accompany them.
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