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Soho set

Hudson Featherstone is injecting a little sex into the world of hairdressing.

The practice has just completed a new, £168,000 flagship hair salon for Fordham White, a young stylists in London's Soho.

And it borrows 'unashamedly' from the world of the local sex shops, with which the area has long been associated.

First, a rose-tinted glass shop front entices clients inside through to a smoked mirrored interior, where the architect has created a translucent 'hairy' ceiling made from the ubiquitous plastic tassels found across 'dodgy' shop doorways.

These allusions, says Hudson Featherstone, are engulfed within a 'sumptuous, sensual environment', featuring a 5m long 'Rococoesque' couch adorned in a Marie Antoinette fabric, which the practice specially designed itself.

'We wanted a piece which didn't turn its back on anything and draws you in, ' said the practice's Sarah Featherstone.

The site for this first shop in Greek Street (Hudson Featherstone hopes it will be retained for another planned for Brighton, and maybe a further one in London) was difficult, measuring only 3m wide across the front half, with a low, unassuming frontage to the street. So the architect figured that the simple, pink, all-glass shop front, punctuated by a 'floating' mirrored wall projecting out across the pavement would be the way to give it an on street presence without resorting to hanging signs. The wall is, it says, a calling card and device in which to glimpse the hairdo before and after the scissors.

Front of house has been deliberately designed as an 'ambiguous' space, dedicated to show and relaxation, and framing the activity beyond, where the salon widens out and hair is washed, cut and styled. Walls are punctured by small openings, backlit with mirrors, showing hairstyling paraphernalia, views of coats and bags, and a flatscreen TV showing movies. Ten white stylist chairs are lined up before walls of rose- and bronzetinted mirrors.

The next phase will be when the health and beauty spa opens later this year, where Fordham White promises treatments such as pedicures and manicures will be carried out in 'forest clearings' among floor-to-ceiling tassels. Sexy!

CREDITS

PROJECT Fordham White Hair & Beauty Salon,47 Greek Street, Soho, London

START DATE Phase 1: January 2002 (nine week contract period)

COMPLETION DATE Phase 1: March 2002

AREA Floor area:190m 2

CONTRACT JCT1998 Intermediate Form of Contract

PROJECT VALUE Phase 1 (hair salon): £170,000 Phase 2 (beauty spa) : £100,000 (not yet commenced)

CLIENT Fordham White

ARCHITECT Hudson Featherstone:Sarah Featherstone, Nicole Weiner, Jeremy King

STRUCTURAL ENGINEER Alan Conisbee + Associates

CONTRACTOR Rudgard City

MATERIALS AND SUPPLIERS Resin pebble floor Perstorp (manufacturer), Lasar Contracts (supply and installation); couch Intermura (manufacture and upholstery); vinyl upholstery Spectrum Contract Vinyls (supplier); tinted glass shopfront Vanceva (manufacturer), Watson's Glass & Mirrors (supplier and installer); ceiling tassels Condale Plastics (manufacturer and supplier)

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