Putting up a good front

Dan Nguyen knows all about pushing boundaries. As one of the premier hair and makeup stylists in Canada, he has worked with local and international celebrities, such as Sarah McLachlan and Avril Lavigne, and also maintains an impressive list of regular clients. So it should come as no surprise that when Nguyen and business partner/colour specialist Linda Refosco decided to open a boutique salon in the heart of downtown Vancouver, they wanted a space that would deliver style with impact.

Box Interior Design took on the challenge by creating the ultimate image for a salon that bills itself as the provider of the “ultimate image creation.” The result is Lure Salon, a fresh take on the concept of the hair salon.

To say that Lure has street presence is something of an understatement. Fullheight windows run the length of the salon, enabling the maximum amount of daylight to enter the space – a real bonus when Refosco and her team are trying to create an exact colour formula. Since the action within the aptly named salon can be easily viewed from the street, it attracts the attention of those outside, tempting them to come in.

The interior is equally inviting. No clinical aesthetic here, but rather a light freshness. Yes, there is an abundance of white in the decor, but it’s anchored by hits of chocolate brown and a signature shade of gender-neutral green.

The 1,775-square-foot space is broken into two distinct areas. The reception, retail and waiting room are positioned near the main entrance. This area is separated from the slightly raised salon by means of a funky screen of large white circles.

In addition to forming a neutral backdrop for the colourful product packaging that dominates the retail space, the screen creates visual division, while allowing those waiting for their turn with the stylist to peek at the action in the salon. This voyeuristic note underscores the reason people fuss so much over their appearance -they not only want to look good, they want others to notice how good they look.

Of course, not everyone is keen to be in full public view at all times. To that end, drapery not only softens the intensity of the green wall in the shampoo area, but serves to add a bit of privacy when it is needed -a considerate feature given that several celebrities are among the salon’s clientele.

For those who do want to socialize while being styled, seating around the colour station and in the waiting area is thoughtfully arranged in a circle to enable ease of conversation.

While much of Lure Salon’s decor can be described as fresh and “of the moment,” it is anchored by details that speak of glamour from earlier eras. The reception desk is clad in white “ostrich” vinyl (the same material as found on the chairs in the waiting area) and trimmed with rows of brass upholstery studs. That detail, coupled with the marble front panel, lends a touch of Regency elegance. Similarly, the chocolate-brown wallpaper sports a simple line pattern that is timeless yet modern -and the silver line adds another classic element of elegance.

With apologies to Clare Cooper Marcus, Lure Salon is very much a mirror of Nguyen and Refosco’s work. It’s as modern and tasteful as any of their hair styles -hip, but not so trendy that it won’t keep up with changes in taste with only a few minor refinements (change in accent wall colour, seating, etc.).

On the whole, Lure is glamorous with a strong point of view. It is an entertainment space -for those who want to see, and those who want to be seen -that elevates the service performed within into a different realm than the typical salon experience. cI