In the heart of New York’s meat-packing district, the cutting-edge hair product company and salon, Bumble and bumble wanted to make a new home for their company that addressed all facets of their business. With a tri-fold program spread out over seven floors, the project presented a unique challenge to accommodate disparate programmatic elements (salon, corporate headquarters, and training facility), while creating a unified environment for the company.
The gateway to the space is the 8th floor, where an open plan and double-height windows offer expansive views of the city and the Hudson River beneath a large scale custom chandelier, welcoming clients to the salon while serving as a neighborhood destination in itself. Salon clients check in at the long anodized aluminum reception desk. Visitors can browse the retail area, designed with interchangeable components to accommodate the ever-changing product line, or have lunch at the café.
Salon clients are escorted through the glowing fiberglass and steel surround, down to the main salon facilities on the 7th floor via the open wood and white-painted steel stair. Clients are cut and styled in free-standing, rotating chairs which do not face mirrors but large windows, encouraging serenity and trust in stylists. Hair coloring occurs in a separate ‘box’, where clients sit communally around a large library table with dryers mounted overhead. The material palette of the salon is neutral to create a calm, luxurious environment where the client ‘is’ the color as well as to support the work of the colorists; and New York is the wallpaper. The salon is a modern minimalist space with maximalist views and light.
Salon training facilities, including classrooms and an auditorium, are provided on the 3rd and 6th floors. The school is designed to parallel the salon experience as much as possible. Student styling stations run along a long, lab top counter with storage below, where individual mirrors with gaps between allow colleagues to share work and views out of the floor-to-ceiling windows. All materials were selected and detailed to withstand the strong chemicals and extensive use of equipment and hair dyes. The 3rd floor also contains public spaces, including a library and an art gallery illustrating the company history that weaves between the enclosed training rooms. The changing and evolving gallery is largely housed within niches excavated from the thickened outer layer of the auditorium wall. Lined with a/c plywood, these walls have a feel of the experimental, mirroring and showcasing the company’s position at the leading edge of hair design.
The corporate offices inhabit the 4th and 5th floors. Free-standing offices are located around a common meeting area or office ‘green’ while branches of workstations in alternating color palettes reach toward the windows. Clean lines of strip lighting fly over the rows of workstations, while corkscrew clad lights hover within the private offices. The palette of materials is adapted to form more specialized spaces such as the product development lab and the editing lab.
Throughout the space, elements reappear to unite the floors. The existing concrete slab was maintained throughout, sealed to uphold the finish against traffic and stains from hair dyes. Services for each floor are located behind floor-to-ceiling cement board walls, which bracket the space; the material was chosen for both its aesthetic appeal as well as its ability to age well in a variety of applications.
Photography : Michael Moran