Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hair-styling goes catwalk

Hair-styling goes catwalk

Hair-styling goes catwalk

THE spectacular front-elevation of the De Gran hair salon is designed in rectangles, framing the blue sky above Phnom Penh and inviting a look inside. This minimalist building’s modern Japanese architecture and interior design make an interesting addition to the Cambodian urban landscape.

Reduced to a strict geometry, the building speaks its own language while referencing contemporary Japanese architects such as Fumihiko Maki or Tadao Ando. Combining the symbolic significance of architectural forms with a careful choice of materials, its colour accentuation contrasts with the dominant white.

The striking fact is that the building was designed by De Gran chief executive Jun Kikuchi, a hairstylist by profession. With the support of his friend, Japanese interior designer Suzuki Kuniaki, he realised in Phnom Penh his vision of a self-designed salon. Kikuchi runs four hair salons in Tokyo, but it was only in Cambodia that he could fulfil his dream of designing and building a hair salon of such a scale, opening his salon in February 2009.

The white rendered masonry walls pronounce rectangles as the main geometric figure, except for the guard hut on the sidewalk, which is organically convoluted. The concept for the spacious ground floor of the two-storey building seems to be transparency, while the VIP area on the first floor is screened.

The building's U-shape plan embraces an outside entrance area and a walkway flanked by a brace of water basins. This reception area is reminiscent of the stage-like layout of Khmer temple architecture, but Kuniaki’s intention of using water was for its cooling effect and refreshing character, supporting the transition from outside to in. Two lines of cream leather chairs facing each other in both arms of the building behind full glazed walls emphasise the catwalk-like character of the entrance.

The interior has a remarkable composition: fine black ironworks at the entrance door, black ceramic floor tiles and a reception desk in black marble contrast with the plain white walls. Kikuchi and Kuniaki form accents not only by playing with materials but using a reduced colour scheme: red chairs in a contemporary design at the reception area and light blue curtains along the glazing.

Both floors – the airy working area on the ground floor and the private VIP rooms upstairs – contain simple furnishings. The working equipment is, for a hair salon, greatly reduced, with associations of high technology and aesthetic design: the chairs for shampoo and haircuts are height-adjustable; tools appear when needed from backstage; the mirrors, documenting the haircut, are almost self-supported. Such lighting features or decoration as the chronometer on the first floor and the staircase gives character to the place with clear and sober expression.

Apart from its modern appearance and high-quality finishes, the project could integrate some elements of green architecture. Unfortunately, being unable to source some equipment in Cambodia, Kikuchi chose not to include sustainable architectural features in his design.

MOST VIEWED

  • PM to vet NY holiday dates

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance submitted a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen asking him to formally set a five-day national holiday from August 17-21 to make up for the Khmer New Year holiday in April that was postponed. Finance minister Aun Pornmoniroth sent

  • Cambodia rejects UN rights claim

    Cambodia's Permanent Mission to the UN Office in Geneva on Friday hit back at David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression after he raised concerns over the repression of free speech and

  • Snaring may spawn diseases

    The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has warned that snaring of animals has become a crisis that poses a serious risk to wildlife in Southeast Asia and could spawn the transmission of zoonotic diseases to humans. Its July 9 report entitled Silence of the Snares: Southeast Asia’

  • Ex-party leader, gov’t critic named as secretary of state

    A former political party leader known for being critical of the government has been appointed secretary of state at the Ministry of Rural Development, a royal decree dated July 9 said. Sourn Serey Ratha, the former president of the Khmer Power Party (KPP), told The Post

  • Residence cards set for over 80,000 immigrants

    The Ministry of Interior plans to grant residence cards to more than 80,000 immigrants to better keep track of them. The ministry announced the plan on July 10, following the results of an immigration census. “An inter-ministerial committee and many operational working groups have been set up

  • Kingdom produces PPE gear

    Medical supplies from Cambodia have been donated to member countries of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to assist in the fight against Covid-19, said an ADB report published on July 9. The report stated that the supplies were donated as a response to global efforts to

  • Kingdom, US vow stronger ties

    At an academic forum on Saturday to celebrate 70 years of Cambodia-US diplomatic ties, Cambodian researchers and officials expressed hope of encouraging US investments and for that country to deepen and improve its bilateral relations. Held at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, it reviewed the past 70

  • ‘Single Portal’ integrated registration system welcomes nearly 50 firms

    Forty-seven companies have successfully registered via a newly-launched information technology e-business registration platform as of the end of the second week of this month, Ministry of Economy and Finance secretary of state Phan Phalla said. Six ministries and state-run institutions have been integrated into a

  • Battambang artist brings giant animals to life

    The giant reptile’s gaping mouth appears ready to consume its latest victim. It stands taller than a person and is incredibly life-like with authentic colours, a long spiky tail and detailed scales adorning its entire body. If it wasn’t 13m long, you may

  • Fifteen Cambodians from Saudi get Covid-19

    The Ministry of Health on Sunday confirmed 15 more imported cases of Covid. The 15 men ‒ all Cambodian aged 21 to 33 ‒ arrived from Saudi Arabia on Friday via a connecting flight in Malaysia. They were travelling with 79 other passengers, three of them women. The ministry said 80 of the