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6 beauty salons around the world with incredible design

From Milan to Vancouver, there’s a new wave of game-changing salons upping the ante on today’s grooming experience with industry-leading design.

“Post-pandemic, people are understanding more than ever the impact spaces can have on them,” Jenalee Nordstrom, CEO of interior design studio Schédio tells Effect. Schédio is behind the aesthetically impressive interiors of Vancouver’s new beauty salon Mink Lash Boutique, which employs organic, forward-looking design to create a fully immersive experience. It’s one of a growing number of new salons around the world addressing the needs of clients who care as much about décor as they do about grooming, with interiors that evoke emotion, create lasting memories, and instil a specific ambience that see customers travelling halfway across the world for an appointment.

With social media continuing to be a driving force behind how consumers discover brands, it’s more important than ever that a store or salon represents a brand’s overall vision. “When a space is designed effectively, people will share it organically online, which essentially turns into free and often highly successful marketing,” says Nordstrom.

With customers today expecting more than just a great service, here are six ground-breaking salons that exemplify what can be achieved when design is harnessed to create a fully immersive and elevated experience.

Mink Lash Boutique

Vancouver’s Mink Lash Boutique is at the forefront of this new generation of salons, and Nordstrom’s design studio Schédio conducted a deep dive into the demographics, preferences and psychographic traits of its clients who occupy the upper echelons of the luxury market, with its eyelash services predominantly sought after by women. “I knew I wanted an elevated femininity to be an undertone throughout the entire project,” explains Nordstrom. “I designed the space to feel cool and trigger the clients’ own sense of creativity, and I achieved this by carefully selecting materials that invite touch and exploration, making the entire space into a visceral experience.”

This project aims to blur the lines between reality and imagination.

Jenalee Nordstrom, CEO of interior design studio Schédio

How does this manifest itself? Curved retail walls made of delicate perforated steel and a reception desk dripping in gold are examples of irresistibly touchable pieces, while Brazilian onyx – found throughout the space – offers a sense of whimsy. Most notable is the custom mesh ceiling, inspired by a mash-up between the fluid movement of rippling water with layers of blooming flowers, which draws customers’ eyes upwards as soon as they enter. “We embraced plenty of organic shapes too to create the immersive experience, one reminiscent of an elevated Alice in Wonderland acid trip,” she adds. “This project aims to blur the lines between reality and imagination. A space where walls seamlessly morph into floors, sinks emerge from the ground and faucets cascade from above.”

We Are Emma

Late last year saw the opening of Masquespacio’s new project We Are Emma in Milan, a visionary beauty salon specialising in hair treatments and styling located in the heart of the city. Designed to redefine modern lifestyle, the salon combines functionality with contemporary aesthetics through the strategic use of colour and organic shapes. “One of the main briefs was to create a community feeling while having a fun factor that mixes a fresh vibe with a touch of sophistication,” co-founder and manager Christophe Penasse tells Effect.

As customers enter, they are greeted by a statement arch enticing them into the hairstyling area while inside, the fusion of marble and gold materials that make up the hairstyling pods work to accentuate the feeling of elegance. “The contrast between organic lines, a strong colour palette and some harder materials like marble and steel recreate an unexpected vibe and showcase that fun can also be sophisticated,” adds Penasse.


Ego hair and beauty salon in Beijing in Effect Magazine
Ego hair and beauty salon in Beijing was designed by China-based Italian design studio IS Architecture and Design (Photo courtesy of IS Architecture and Design)

In Beijing, Fabrizio Gurrado of IS Architecture and Design is a pioneer of this new wave of salons, having transformed hair and beauty salon Ego into a space-age temple of beauty back in 2021. Originally a circular gym with a 270-degree glass facade that looked out onto a foliage of trees, the building’s peculiar shape and location was an influence in the final design, which is defined by its avocado green interiors. “We got the idea to propose a vision of the world of the future in which artifice and nature coexist in a serene and clean balance,” says Gurrado. “To do this we let ourselves be inspired by the imaginary Space Age in the ‘60s, when the dream of new frontiers beyond the earth, boosted by the economic boom, created an incredible diffused enthusiasm and faith for the new era of electronics and technology.”

With this in mind, the team created a central ‘space shuttle hub’ with the reception desk, with large portals leading to each of the other spaces including the main hall, the VIP room, the treatment areas and the locker rooms. “The likes of stainless steel mirrors, spherical lamps reminiscent of stars and a big artificial sun in the reception area come together with a diffused natural feeling through the green rough plaster, which we applied to all surfaces, to transform the whole salon into an abstract space,” he adds. To complete the natural ambience, the team added palm trees, tropical plants and cacti throughout as a nod to a more environmentally friendly future.

Maria Nila

Sculptural and surreal interiors are the name of the game at Stockholm’s Maria Nila salon, where Swedish architecture studio ASKA created an undulating ceiling installation designed to look like dripping shampoo. Awash with a pretty colour palette of soft pinks, peach and turquoise hues that pay tribute to the brand’s products, much of the furniture was specially designed for the project including product shelves, sofas and a beauty bar made from wood and MDF. Organic shapes take pride of place throughout the salon, informed by elements found in nature such as the forest, ocean, coral reefs and caves.


As one of Sydney’s leading salons with a founding establishment in beachside Bondi, owner and creative director Di Gorgievski was keen to expand her offering in an iconic CBD location, resulting in the opening of her new Arent&Pyke-designed salon just last year. Designed to express KODA ’s innovation with colouring, cutting and styling, the studio created a space combining myriad shades and glossy tints. In contrast to Bondi’s minimalistic setting, oversized Philippe Starck Caadre mirrors lean upon white walls, while the neighbourhood’s signature bold yellow tone defines the wash bay’s expansive privacy curtains, as do inclusions of designer furnishings.


Defined by pastel walls, block partitions and custom fringe wall hangings meant to let us look like hair, Vancouver’s Qali salon and hair extension studio is a love letter to the ‘80s. Kate Snyder, a principal at Studio Roslyn, led the makeover of the 1,400 sq ft space, which comprises a reception area, lounge and communal work table, as well as styling stations, a consultation area, a colour room and a set of washbasins, with a design brief including language such as ‘fun’, ‘playful’ and ‘nostalgic’. As such, Miami was a particularly prominent influence, seen across chairs in a faded lilac pattern, salmon-coloured shelves stocking the salon’s various products, and the use of darker pinks for the textured bathroom walls, which are decorated with curved, wave-like neon lights.

Read more: Design | Interior Design