Japanese interior designer Tetsuya Ito started his salon design career for Takara Belmont by designing a local Barbershop in Tokyo in 2004. His designs were such an inspiration and success; winning awards and praise from both clients and the industry, that Takara Belmont extended his working base to the company’s prestigious New York and London offices.
Now based permanently at Takara Belmont’s London HQ, Tetsuya – known to his UK colleagues as Tim – works eclectic and artistic influences into beautiful interior designs for both salons and barbershops.
“Designing interiors can be challenging,” says Tetsuya. “You’re always working between your interpretation of a client’s concept and the actuality of the space they have to work with, and of course their budget.” This is where the expertise Tetsuya and Takara Belmont have collectively built up is invaluable. “We always work to maximise the footprint and plan the space so it looks and functions perfectly, and ensures salons maximise service opportunities and revenue streams. Of course design, atmosphere and style are key to the aesthetic impression and eventual result.”
Inspired to design
A lover of cross-genre spaces, Tetsuya points to The Bike Shed Barbershop in London as a prime example of this approach. Not only from a design aspect, but in terms of the site’s location. Tetsuya says: “These shops have a unique style and are always attractive to me. They are a true representation of the owner’s ethos, philosophy and origins. They give the salon context. When you go in, you know what they stand for and where they are coming from. Perhaps another reason I like them is because these kinds of spaces are very rare in Japan. This is due to health regulations being so strict; hairdressers and barbers in Japan even have to work from different spaces.”
To create a stunning design result, Tetsuya first takes a stock of the site, measuring and analysing the space to find a solution that turns any negative points into positive outcomes. He adds: “Whilst most customers have an idea, style, or key concept these sometimes pose unrealistic challenges or conflicting ideas. I mix and sharpen their vision to create a simple and strong concept for the design proposal. I always follow a customer’s layout requests. Then I add some styles and design ideas from the customer’s character or concept.”
The Regalo Salon
Tetsuya draws inspiration from a wide range of places; from contemporary art installations to retail fashion stores. The most notable example of this eclectic inspiration is a beauty salon in Omiya, Tokyo. Designed by Tetsuya in 2012, the Regalo salon was initially two separate buildings, one constructed of concrete and the other wood, one a former gallery, and the other an old shoe shop.
The space Tetsuya conceived is divided by draped fabric screens, imbuing the salon with a ghostly aura. The design makes use of Trompe-L’oeil — an art technique which utilises realistic imagery to create an optical illusion that the depicted objects exist in three-dimensions. A style most notably popularised by luxury French fashion house Maison Margiela.
Money no object
Whilst salons are always limited by budget, Tetsuya points to what a ‘money no object’ salon would be like if he had free reign. “I want to create a treatment room that features a wall to ceiling video wall to create the treatment experience of the future, of course with Takara Belmont equipment front and centre. Not only with visuals, but also with sounds and authentic aromas programmed in for the ultimate virtual reality experience.”
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