An International Architectural Firm and a German Couture Hair Stylist Join Forces

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By Paige Alexus
When it comes to turning a simple hairstyle idea into a bold work of art, Ahmet Bilir is the expert. With work ranging from ultra-sleek looks to theatrical creations, the German hairdresser practices just as much art direction in his work as there is hair manipulation.

He regularly participates in international haute couture fashion shows and his work can be found in a number of beauty and fashion magazine features. Though his art is captivating enough on its own, what really has pulled us in his new salon in Stuttgart, Germany that was designed by Bruzkus Batek Architects.

For the space dubbed Bilir Salon Privé, Bilir gave the Berlin-based design team the freedom to create something extremely special, with the vision of it becoming an intimate space where his customers can feel at home. Ester Bruzkus and Patrick Batek took the challenge and ran with it.

The Layout

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Since Bruzkus and Batek have had years of experience with designing international commercial projects, they knew exactly what to do when it came to incorporating the right details that would make the space feel somewhat residential, without sacrificing the practical needs of the business. For this particular project, they wanted the personality of the space to shine, which is most prevalent with the addition of boudoir-like details. Combined with clean, minimal lines throughout, it’s the perfect fusion of modernity and playfulness.

Bruzkus and Batek were handed over a space that was laid out like a two-bedroom home. In order to open up the small quarters, they broke through the middle of each wall to create peeking spaces, where customers and employees can look through to check out someone’s new "do," to carry on conversation, or to just feel more connected with one another. The holes were turned into open shelving units so that they also serve a useful purpose. 

The Welcoming Zone

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When designing a place of business, many people forget how important the welcoming or reception area is to the success of the location. It gives the customer that positive first impression that can be life or death for the business. At this salon, it’s done right, with comfortable midcentury lounge chairs, a textural rug, and wire side tables that are easy to move around. Before you even walk in, customers are welcomed by a door and expansive window unit that is incredibly detailed and has a cheerful, cottage-like personality. 

Time to Check In

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For the reception area—the simpler, the better. A midcentury desk warmly welcomes customers while the chevron oak wood floors set a clean and graphic foundation that automatically lightens the space. The lighting concept throughout was designed by PSLAB, a creative studio with multiple offices worldwide that focuses on dreaming up custom lighting setups for various types of clients. The unique hanging piece here—along with the track lighting and wall sconces in the other rooms—does the job it’s meant to do while providing a minimal, industrial touch.

The Styling Stations

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At each of the four styling stations, you’ll find furnishings specially designed for this project by Bruzkus Batek Architects. Unlike the usual clunky, pile-stricken cabinets that exist in the salons of our nightmares, these stations include unobtrusive console tables that are comprised of textured red marble tops perched on top of minimal brass bases. The custom swivel chairs in two complimentary shades of blue mimic classic boudoir powder room chairs, without neglecting the importance of functionality—being able to adjust the height is a crucial factor, after all.

The Shampoo and Color Room

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This is where the magic happens, they say. To complete the hair washing stations, custom integrated chaise lounges were designed to slip smoothly under the classic washing bowls. The terrazzo floors were chosen for it being a utilitarian, easy-to-clean material. 

 The Color Lab

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In the corner of the shampoo and color room, they installed a large, box-like piece of furniture that they termed the "colour laboratory." Since they didn’t have a separate room to set up their color mixing stations, they created this special storage piece that opens up to the materials of the trade, while also acting as an architectural element on its own. The floor-to-ceiling reflective surface provides another sleek yet functional element. This way, you can continue chatting with your stylist while they mix up the perfect color concoction—and feel truly at home throughout the entire experience. 

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