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Shining salon of distinction by Moriyuki Ochiai Architects

A hair salon in the Japanese capital blends a language of metal and water in a distinctive, original design.

Shining salon of distinction by Moriyuki Ochiai Architects

Full view (night time)

ARKHE beauty salon stands out from the crowd with an interior design that is both dramatic and innovative. Conceived and designed by Moriyuki Ochiai Architects, the interior pays homage to the movement of water through a ceiling installation made of recycled aluminium that gives the salon its singular design.

With a footprint of 120 square metres (1292 square feet), the interior includes an entry and reception, waiting area, haircutting and washing spaces, and a utility room. A centre aisle informally divides the cutting area from the reception and waiting space, providing flow and access to all areas.

The interior is dramatic with the walls in the general area painted a shade of silver and a cool purple in the washing room. Stone tiled floors then feature throughout and the ceiling height is graduated – higher in the cutting space and lower, for a more intimate experience, in the waiting area.

However, the outstanding feature of the design is the black painted ceiling overlaid with undulating shards of shiny recycled aluminium sheet that has been randomly looped and curved and affixed overhead.

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These wide ribbons of aluminium reflect and refract the light and resemble a moving stream, reminiscent of water, that constantly changes over the time of day and season. This design feature encapsulates the meaning of the name of the hair salon, as ARKHE is a reference to the ancient belief that water is the source of all creation.

There are six chairs for clients, each with a full-length mirror and a more traditional carved timber surround. The mirrors have been placed in front of floor-to-ceiling windows and the placement of mirror on glass creates a visual idea of floating with connection to the streetscape that also frames the outside vista.

To the side of the chairs and glazed periphery is the washing area with space for three clients. The room is small but made so interesting with a painted purple interior that complements the adjoining silver surfaces.

The aesthetic of ARKHE is spare and concise. The ceiling introduces the all-important WOW factor and creates a space that is both inspirational and theatrical. Thinking ahead to the future, should the owners decide to relocate, the ceiling installation can be easily removed and re-installed at a new premise – a great sustainable option in an industry that does not always recycle and reuse.

Moriyuki Ochiai established his eponymous practice in Tokyo, Japan and the studio designs projects that span the genres of architecture, interiors, furniture, landscape and industrial design. The source of inspiration for the practice comes from the beauty of nature and life – in particular, the delicate sensitivity of the Japanese natural environment. Moriyuki Ochiai Architects strive to create work that fulfils people’s dreams, design that becomes the energy for their lives and then moves to a deeper dimension.

ARKHE beauty salon is a unique example of thinking creatively and sustainably and the bold interior is a testament to the architect’s vision.

Moriyuki Ochiai Architects

Courtesy of Moriyuki Ochiai Architects

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