Beauty Salon Numero Uno in Almaty, Kazakhstan

Architect Team: MEL 
Design Team: Pavel Chaunin & Aleksandra Sorokina
Photographer: Pavel Chaunin
Location: Almaty, Kazakhstan
Project Year: 2015

In 2015, MEL Architects from Moscow, Russia worked in Almaty, Kazakhstan to recreate the beauty salon Numero Uno. It is now a sleek, modern site for young, bustling city goers and inhabitants. The architects and design team worked with the lot's existing space's facilities and functional areas to reproduce a salon like no other. In the salon's 84 square meters, there are no doors -- each area flows naturally into the next, with just the right amount of spatial partitioning to create a sense of privacy in each area, including the main hall, manicure and pedicure areas, hairdressing space, beauty therapy salon, lab, washing area, lavatory, waiting area and closet. 

Round mirrors and round windows open up the space and break the stereotypical rectangularity of the salon's pre-existing structure. The neutral and restrained color palette of grey and black make the environment cool and calm, infusing the atmosphere with peace and an escape from the trivialities of life. The minimalist design of the interior is exemplified in the materials used -- concrete plaster, wooden boards and ceramic tiles. "There is nothing unnecessary. It’s minimalism on the verge of austerity, and yet the space is harmonious and not boring in any way. Architects had carefully studied the procedures of a beauty salon and then designed and produced all the furniture specifically for this project. Geometry of objects is simple and unpretentious. In the case of the reception desk, we made of a sheet of black steel; its brutal appearance masks all the functionally required for the administrator," the architects and designers noted. 

They continued in their report release to describe how the armchairs are both simple and complex: "elegant metal base and soft surfaces of black leather." They create manicure tables with hidden drawers to store tools. "Next to each workstation in the main hall there is a wheeled cabinet for master’s equipment and client’s personal belongings: thin metal legs, top  drawer-shelf of painted MDF and glass shelves. The whole structure is easy to move and doesn’t take up much space. The wardrobe is a steel structure characterized by the simplest form of a cuboid, permanently fixed to a wall.  It’s just an outline and some air - metal pipes and glass. All the storage is unnoticeable for a customer  but placed in the most relevant areas."